Lean Manufacturing

If you’ve worked in the supply chain for any manufacturing related industry in the last 50 years, you have probably heard someone at some point put the words “lean” and “manufacturing” together to sound like an expert in the field. Some heads will nod and say “yes” to those special words, but what does “lean manufacturing” really mean? Where did it come from? And how does it apply to the Aerospace Industry? Through the study of this article you will discover that Lean Manufacturing was fathered by the Auto Industry, but will come to find that the Aerospace Industry mastered these practices and that Fighter Jet Metals is here to help in the pursuit of efficient manufacturing.

Lean Manufacturing is a production method derived from processes of companies like Ford Motors and Toyota in the 20th century. It is what allowed those automobile companies the ability to grow into the household namesakes they are today, but was not directly studied by experts until the 1990’s in depth. Defined in 1996 by Dr. James Womack and Dr. Daniel T. Jones, the key principles of Lean Manufacturing are simple:

  1. Identifying what creates value from your customers’ perspective
  2. Specifying every step in your processes
  3. Ensuring that those processes flow
  4. Producing only what customers request
  5. Striving for perfection by continually removing wastes

Source: EASE; Core Lean Manufacturing Principles for Aerospace Manufacturers

Globally, the aerospace industry has adopted most of these practices to become more efficient, but in the case of sourcing materials some aerospace companies have neglected their pursuit in creating value, ensuring process flow, and removing wastes. What can Fighter Jet Metals do to fix these issues? Our processes are set up to increase efficiency by eliminating the 8 wastes of Lean Manufacturing.

The 8 wastes of Lean Manufacturing are:

  • Transport

    The Problem: The transport waste is defined as any material movement that doesn’t directly support immediate production. An improper facility layout, poor production planning, poor scheduling can generate transport waste. Another example is poor workplace organization, which results, in unnecessary additional material transport.

    Fighter Jet Metals Solution: We strive to have the best lead times on all of our products regardless of order size. We understand the importance of a team knowing when their material will arrive which is why we calculate cutting time and shipping time into our quotes that will be FOB Delivered unless otherwise specified.
Lean Manufacturing in Aerospace Industry, Lean Manufacturing, FIGHTER JET METALS
Third Party Logistics (3PL) in the Supply Chain to ensure proper Transport of Titanium Stainless Steel and Nickel to all Aerospace Manufacturers
  • Inventory;

    The Problem: Inventory waste refers to any supply in excess of process requirements necessary to produce goods or services in a Just-in-Time manner. Causes of inventory waste include inaccurate forecasting systems, inefficient processes or suppliers, long changeover times, unbalanced production processes, or poor inventory planning and tracking.

    Fighter Jet Metals Solution: By sharing raw material need forecasts with Fighter Jet Metals, Aerospace Companies can gain an advantage through what is known as a Customized Stocking Program. Customized Stocking Programs allow manufacturers with limited space for inventory to essentially store material with Fighter Jet Metals and gradually release material on an as needed basis. If you are a buyer, subcontract manager, program manager, or project engineer and know your Titanium, Stainless Steel, Nickel, or other Hard Alloy needs in advance, please share your forecast with sales@fighterjetmetals.com or go ahead and Request a Quote to learn more.
  • Motion

    The Problem: The motion waste is defined as any movement that doesn’t contribute added value to the product. Examples include moving equipment more than necessary, as well as unnecessarily complicated procedures. The Motion waste is often caused by ineffective plans, lack of visual controls, or poor process documentation.

    Fighter Jet Metals Solution: Because we deliver in a Just-In-Time manner, Aerospace Manufacturers don’t have to worry about wasting time rearranging material that may be in the way of getting the job done. Behind the scenes, documentation is supported by Fighter Jet Metals consistently providing Certificates of Compliance, Mill Test Reports, and other certifications that are required under Aerospace Quality Management Systems (QMS).

  • Waiting

    The Problem: The waiting waste refers to as any idle time that occurs when codependent events aren’t fully synchronized. Examples of this waste include idle operators waiting for equipment, production bottlenecks, production waiting for operators, and unplanned equipment downtime. Waiting can be caused by inconsistent work methods, lack of proper equipment or materials, or long setup times.

    Fighter Jet Metals Solution: If you’re still waiting for your Titanium, Stainless Steel, or Nickel to come in for that job, you are committing one of the largest wastes of Lean Manufacturing. As a supplier in the Aerospace Industry, Fighter Jet Metals wants you to be on time so you can meet Supplier your requirements and win those supplier awards.
    Lean Manufacturing in Aerospace Industry, Lean Manufacturing, FIGHTER JET METALS
    …Don’t let your current metal supplier hold you back from winning that Performance Excellence Award…

  • Overproduction

    The Problem: Overproduction is defined as producing more than is needed, faster than needed, or before it’s needed. Automation in the wrong places, lack of communication, local optimization, low uptimes, poor planning, and a just in case reward system can cause overproduction waste.

    Fighter Jet Metals Solution: The COVID-19 epidemic has taught a lot of lessons to the Aerospace industry. Aerospace Manufacturers should only buy material in bulk when the contracts they are performing are guaranteed in the event there may be cancellations. Fighter Jet Metals is here to ease the process of planning your production by communicating, optimizing deliveries, and planning with buyers, program managers, and subcontract managers.

  • Overprocessing

    The Problem: Overprocessing refers to any redundant effort in production or communication that does not add value to a product or service. Overprocessing waste includes endless product or process refinement, excessive information, process bottlenecks, redundant reviews and approvals, and unclear customer specifications. It is caused by decision making at inappropriate levels, inefficient policies and procedures, lack of customer input concerning requirements, poor configuration control, and spurious quality standards.

    Fighter Jet Metals Solution: It is often seen that material comes from the mill in the annealed state and then sent out for heat treating, and then tensile testing, and then sometimes Ultra Sonic Inspection. These processes can take WEEKS to complete and are for sure an OVERPROCESSING WASTE. If your product requires these processes let Fighter Jet Metals handle them for you to reduce the overall lead time while maintaining high quality standards.

  • Defects

    The Problem: The defect waste is defined as the loss of value do to the scrap, repair, or rework of a product that deviates from specifications. Excessive variation in production processes, high inventory levels, inadequate tools or equipment, incompatible processes, or transport damage due to poor layouts and unnecessary handling can all lead to defect waste.

    Fighter Jet Metals Solution: Having excess inventory that constantly needs to be shifted can lead to Defects. Transporting material with the wrong company can lead to defects. Inadequate cutting techniques can lead to defects. Fighter Jet Metals recognizes all of these problems and has the solution to prevent these issues.

  • Unutilized talent

    The Problem: The waste of unutilized talent refers to underutilizing or engaging employees in a process. This could take the form of employees performing unnecessary work when their talent could be utilized in activities that add greater value, or not utilizing employees’ critical thinking abilities and feedback in processes. Unutilized talent also includes allowing employees to work in silos, which prevents them from sharing their knowledge.

    Fighter Jet Metals Solution: Metal should be simple. By utilizing the incorrect talent to procure material, inefficiencies in the supply chain may arise. Because our business is centered around Aerospace Grade Alloys, our efficiency in procurement allows your buyers, program managers, and subcontract managers to focus on higher ranking tasks.

Still have Questions? Learn how Fighter Jet Metals provides Aerospace Manufacturers the ability to tighten up their lean manufacturing techniques:

sales@fighterjetmetals.com or call (954) 682-9227.