“Our success was the involvement of all people at all levels to detect and implement improvements based on waste elimination. This way of working helped motivate people to achieve real change.” Paloma Peinado Aguayo, Head of Quality Change Platform & Improvement at Airbus Headquarters in Toulouse, was responsible for lean methodologies at the Airbus Puerto Real plant, in Spain, until July 2010. Together with the employees of the Puerto Real site, she won the Best Lean Manufacturing Team award in the EADS Hall of Fame 2009. This prize is given to teams that have worked intelligently together to apply the principles of lean manufacturing in order to reduce such critical parameters as lead times, inventory, scrap, and recurrent and non-recurrent costs and improve customer satisfaction.
Puerto Real is a centre of excellence for producing tailplane boxes and rudders for long-range aircraft, as well as the rudder and belly fairing for the A380. The Airbus employees optimised the production processes, line sided delivery and management system and achieved a very high standard of quality in all the plant’s products. In addition, there was also improved teamwork between the support and production departments.
Making the work more enjoyable
“We changed the way of working and challenged our people to reduce waste,” says Antonio Canto Moreno, Change Agent of Performance Improvement & ALPS (Airbus Lean Production System) Departament. In fact, the Puerto Real plant achieved cash savings of €2.1 million, sales cost savings up to €1.7 million and non-quality cost savings of €2.6 million by increasing integration of support functions and the shop floor with workshops. This led to more teamwork and a more efficient assembly flow.
“Whatever they throwed at us, we took up the challenge and made it work," explains Paloma Peinado Aguayo. "Maybe we felt that we had something to prove! People saw that the improvements helped structure our work and made it more enjoyable.”
Did you know…?
Lean manufacturing is a management philosophy derived mostly from the Toyota Production System, which is renowned for its focus on reduction of the original Toyota seven wastes to improve overall customer value with less work.