More efficiency with Lean Supply Chain development

By its nature, improvements and developments in Supply Chain take time to get in place and to benefit from. The methodology needs to be developed, implemented, and established in the way we think, act and plan. Those are some of the features needed to improve the efficiency. In the supply chain of the Saab Aerostructures business, we have implemented several means and tools and it is a great joy to see the results in the operations. The focus of the ways of working has always been to establish a flawless production cycle. 

Saab has worked with lean methods for several years and together with our lean management team we adopted a key strategy, where the physical flow of material supported by supplier development and logistics needed be predictable and really supporting the pulsed production lines with material on time, with reduced inventory and lead time this is a balancing act that is complex – a challenging development work within the logistic department.

The supply chain of the Saab aerostructures business visualizing material in flowracks.

Image: The supply chain of the Saab aerostructures business visualizing material in flowracks.

The results of this implementation have been very positive, as Saab internally has gone from a traditional storage principle to visualized physical material flow, including kitting of material on production demand. This has improved efficiency both in material handling as well as in the interface to production lines. It also leads up to improved efficiency for the operators in production, based on more efficient presentation and handling of material in assembly.

- Reduction of picking parts out of storage is reduced dramatically and with visual flow rack systems it is easier to overview material and plan the direct work with different material. Quality in performed work has improved and we are actually doing the job with less resource than earlier, even though we have increased the volumes in the production ramp-up, says Stefan Rönnmark, head of Sourcing & Production at Aerostructures.

Integrated teams support great efficiency

An integrated team organization on the shop floor as well as in the sourcing organization   supports the material flow from suppliers all the logistic way in to the production lines.

- This has made the different disciplines involved more efficient and we have seen a great efficiency gain in what we perform in support towards our production lines, says Stefan Rönnmark.

Continuously activities will even more improve the Lean supply chain

The process from a traditional material flow to a more efficient and Lean supply chain is still in the beginning on the development curve and there are a number of coming activities that will improve the performance, among others to implement the same thinking in the complete supply-chain and involving our sub-tiers. 

- Despite this we have seen huge improvements and with the learning in Lean thinking we know that we can do much better and we also know that this journey will never stop. The mindset is to reflect over what we done and get ready to take on next improvement – every day, says Stefan Rönnmark.

Kitting of parts