The Value of Lean by Ben Macre

Author: gatelesis

To ensure our customers’ success, GA Telesis strives to offer the best value in engine and airframe component repair across our ecosystem.   One of the strategies we use in the MRO Services division is the implementation of Lean practices.

The American Society for Quality (ASQ) defines Lean as a set of management practices to improve efficiency and effectiveness by eliminating waste. The core principle of Lean is to reduce and eliminate non-value-added activities and waste. These benefits ultimately lead to efficiencies that we can pass on to the customer in the form of reduces turn-time and cost.

So, what does that really mean?  In simple terms, Lean methodology is the tool we use to harness the power of our team to eliminate waste in our daily activities.  Instead of managing from the top down, we work from the bottom up.  MRO Services recognizes that the “Expert” in engine and airframe component repair is the one doing the job every day.  We routinely seek feedback from our team members to improve our products and reduce our costs. These are then passed on to our customers.

The five principles of lean thinking at GA Telesis MRO Services are:

  1. Define Value from our Customer’s Perspective
  2. Understand Value Stream
  3. Identify Waste
  4. Pull vs. Push
  5. Continually Pursue Perfection

The first principle is to “Define Value from the Customer’s Perspective.”  What is essential to our customers in their engine and airframe component repair?  In the MRO business, value considers not only the cost but quality, turn time, and reliability.  For this article let’s say that we’ve talked with our customers and these are the things that they have told us that they value:

    1. Safety
    2. Reliability
    3. On-Time
    4. Reasonable Cost

The second principle is to “Understand the Value Stream.”  GA Telesis wants to understand what our customer expects from us as we work on their engine and airframe components. We can look internally at our processes and eliminate actions within the organization that do not provide a value that we can pass on to our customers.  This is accomplished through a process called value stream mapping.  Value stream mapping identifies the individual tasks that make up a process, and then each of these tasks is reviewed to determine if it fulfills the customer’s perceived value.

Type of work from our customer’s view:

  1. Value-added: Fills a customer’s need
  2. Non-value added: Everything else
  3. Non-value added but necessary: Tasks that must be done due to law, regulations, etc.

If the task is determined to be non-value added, it is classified as waste.  Our third principle is to “Identify Waste.”  Any movement within GA Telesis that does not directly add value to the four items that our customer expects of us is considered waste.  Some examples of these non-value-added activities are:

  1. Defects
  2. Waiting
  3. Motion
  4. Transportation
  5. Inventory
  6. Overproduction
  7. Over-processing

GA Telesis MRO Services works hard to identify and eliminate this waste to provide the best value to our customers.

The fourth principle is “Pull vs. Push.”  Most shops work in a “PUSH” system.  This means that when the unit arrives at the repair shop, it is immediately put into work without regard to the work already in progress or the shop’s constraints. The result of this philosophy is that the flood of parts motivated technicians to multi-task and shift priorities more often.  In short, it may result in increased turn time.

In our “PULL” system, parts are released based upon a schedule for when they are needed for assembly.  This minimizes the number of parts in the system at any one time.  Fewer parts reduce piece part repair times and an overall decrease in engine and airframe component turn times.

Finally, our fifth and perhaps most important principle is to “Continuously Pursue Perfection.”  This simply means that everyone involved in a process continues to look for ways to improve it.  We will not accept the “This is the way it’s always been done” mentality.  We provide our team members and leaders a way to make suggestions on how to improve and celebrate their successes.   After all, they’re the experts.

At GA Telesis MRO Services, we don’t sell maintenance services, we provide access to the most talented team of experts in the industry and the Lean practices that we implement, allows them to deliver more and more value to our customers.