In order to have an effective approach, avoid wastage and unnecessary downtime, it is important to maintain the correct pace and have an even flow throughout production. We adapt our approach depending on when the customer needs results.
"This is a well-established working approach which we have used for many years and also developed together with our customers" says Mats Karlström, Lean Manager, Aerostructures, Saab.
"Working in a focused way in workshop form to solve a specific issue has been the model for improving efficiency in the last years," continues Mats. "We have concentrated on doubling production rates for some time. We will reach a 120 pace in the Boeing programme. The way to do this requires careful analysis."
Caption Lean Manager Mats Karlström and Stefan Wahlqvist during observation phase
Optimising the production flow
"As everybody knows, it isn't simply a case of working twice as fast.
It is not possible to just copy existing methods and work processes. They can contain inefficient elements. It is also important to keep an eye on the hidden sources of interference that may exist," Mats Karlström continues.
"We can do this through observations of how the work proceeds during each step and how long it takes. We look at the entire flow – from the time we receive the material at the station until it leaves and moves on to the next one. It is the pure logistic flow through the station that is studied, not the individual's 'work'. In other words – it is the flow that we want to check and make sure that we try to remove any unnecessary parts. In the subsequent analysis phase, a picture emerges of any interruptions, downtime, and other disruptions that together make up the production time.
To 'nail down the process' based on the observations made; a creative operation is carried out in a brainstorming activity in order to achieve ideas for improvements. Here it is important to have broad representation from all categories of employees in the flow, in order to implement the improvements that are possible. The main characters are the people who can and are working in the business; they are the ones who know best what needs to be done."
"We have used this methodology to streamline many of our flows. These include a number of occasions as the A320's production has been ramped up and in earlier phases of the B787 programmes," states Magnus Falk, Vice President Business Development, Aerostructures.