A&D manufacturing is one of the most highly regulated industries, and for good reason: The FAA handles over 43,000 flights a day. Add in private jets and defense aircrafts, and we’re talking about the safety of millions of people daily. When manufacturers don’t comply with regulations, fines can be massive.
But how can manufacturers meet regulations and remain efficient? A great place to start is by implementing lean tactics on the shop floor that help achieve mobility. Each step an employee makes on the floor, each piece of paper or part they touch is costing the company time and money. The key to achieving mobility is through reducing wasted motion.
Mobility is achieved through applying processes and devices that add value to the process and eliminate all non-value activity. Implementation tactics include software programs that track inventory, allow real time access to business-critical systems and mobile-powered workstations that allow labor to work on-the-go and value-stream mapping to track areas that are not performing. Measurement is also important in ensuring the process is constantly improving.
Aerospace manufacturing is unique because of the size of the final product. There isn’t a production line churning hundreds of finished products an hour. Mobility is essential as the distance traveled from part to part during manufacturing is lengthy. If labor can’t bring their work orders and data with them when traveling from wing to wing, there are countless wasted steps being taken, and errors are more likely to occur when fishing for all the paperwork then need.