The integration of lean thinking and manufacturing business improvement methods within the aerospace supply chain

Doctoral thesis English OPEN
Berkhauer-Smith, Samantha (2009)
  • Subject: HD | TS

Business environments need to react efficiently and quickly to demand today's global markets. The manufacturing industry is an environment that has become more competitive due to greater demands from the customer. Technology is evolving faster, and this impacts on the accelerating changing market. Customers no longer require mass customised goods but want individual high quality products, at reduced costs. Businesses then feel that in order to remain competitive, they have to cut costs wherever possible to meet these demands.\ud \ud This research was initiated by carrying out an extensive literature survey on the current inter-relationships between Manufacturing Business Improvement Methods (MBIMs). The chosen subjects have many areas and theories that can be used to assist in the development of improvement programs. The review highlighted that one particular improvement concept is lean manufacture. This review carried out an investigation into the lean environment and assessed many applications of the concept. The literature survey also highlighted some restrictions to lean thinking. It is been proposed how some of these limitations can be alleviated by introducing other MBIMs into an integrated methodology.\ud \ud The research assesses currently practised MBIMs and reveals that these methodologies have differentiating relationships, thus producing many types of implementation strategies. The research resulted in studying the inter-relationships between these MBDVIs including cultural issues surrounding process improvement initiatives, so they can be unified into an integrated methodology creating a unique strategy that can be correctly tailored to a chosen environment.\ud \ud This research outlines a proposed design methodology that involves ten stages of change including the planning, creating, data collection, analysis and strategic implementation to apply. The approach flows through the change process systematically highlighting how to achieve the best outcome. Feedback into the system is also visible. The proposed design methodology incorporates significant findings from the research, as it highlights the originality of the amalgamation of both the technical and cultural transformations, which are two very different aspects, but highly important factors of change. This research highlights the issues surrounding technical and cultural factors of change that are the main cause of process improvement failure.\ud \ud By considering the two factors, a more harmonious approach in implementing the MBIMs within a company is achieved, therefore resulting in a higher success rate of change. A number of case studies illustrating the implementation of the proposed design methodology is also presented to highlight the significance to the manufacturing industry. Each application has different requirements and gives examples of how the proposed design methodology is tailored specifically to the application.\ud \ud The initial case study (interrelationship between the supplier and customer) highlighted that in order to achieve the ultimate goal lower level projects within the individual companies would be beneficial in order to succeed across the supply chain.\ud \ud The second case study (the supplier) concluded that the improvement would be within the organisation of the work within the cell, the capacity of the production line was adequate although the demand through the cell was variable and thus impeded the production rate. To reduce this variation, it was suggested that improvements could be made by having a multi skilled and flexible team operational within the cell.\ud \ud The final case study (the customer) had the aim to improve information flow to alleviate a silo mentality and to improve the whole internal supply chain. This again demonstrated differing results due to differing requirements but through tailoring of the proposed design methodology.\ud \ud The extensive literature review has shown that currently there is no integrated improvement concept that assesses the current unique business situation and uses a number of differing subject areas. This proposed design methodology creates a path of transformation which alleviates cultural issues and resistance to change, it gives the project team assurance that the right changes are being made in the most efficient manner, therefore allowing a smoother acceptance to a change initiative program. The saved time can be better spent on training and culture programs to ensure greater implementation success. All of these factors aid to reducing the lead-time of a traditional change improvement program making the manufacturing environment a more competitive industry.\ud \ud This unified approach has ensured that a number of strategies that are not currently synchronised can be implemented successfully. The proposed design methodology will automatically reduce factors associated to cost and time; as it also portrays as a confident view for success. The literature review also highlights that the failure rate of improvement initiative programs is quite high, due to the lack of planning of the cultural aspects and because technical issues are easier to implement. This proposed design methodology satisfies two main objectives;\ud \ud 1) An integrated business improvement system that analyses many improvement concepts\ud 2) Implementing this theoretical design through analysing and evolving cultural aspects
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