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Frontiers June 2013 Issue

the things that were the biggest drivers and that took the longest time in our process, and we attacked those first. And then we looked at all of the other areas and we used a lot of Lean+ workshops and pro-cess improvements to help us reduce our cycle time and improve our efficiencies.” McLaughlin, the Lean+ initiative director, said it’s important to remember that Lean+ is about simplifying processes to improve them, but that’s different from taking shortcuts. “It’s not about ignoring the complexity of a problem, but distilling it, understanding it,” she said. Archiable acknowledged she was a skeptic about Lean+ when her team began using it, but achieving its goal has changed that. “The biggest thing I would tell people is to keep an open mind, to look at their biases, their assumptions and the myths that they hold.” Once employees and teams try using Lean+, they often have a similar experience to Archiable’s, according to Schnettgoecke. The emphasis continues to be on moving Lean+ from Boeing’s production areas—where there have been countless successes—further into the company’s offices, he said. “We look at all the successes we’ve had at the factory level by applying Lean+ tools. Most of our people don’t work in factories—just think of all the value we still could realize,” Schnettgoecke said. “The opportunity there is huge.” In a time of reduced military budgets, new international competition and cus-tomers facing their own cost pressures, taking advantage of that opportunity can help win contracts, DeWeese noted. “Anything we can do to make the cost of our products more competitive and help to increase customer satisfaction pays divi-dends in multiple dimensions,” she said. n eric.c.fetters-walp@boeing.com PHOTOS: (Above, left) To support a higher production rate, the 777 program used Lean+ to ensure steps in the assembly pro-cess— including lowering the “saddle” used by mechanics to connect body sections in the final join position—could be done faster and more effectively. (Insets, from top) A close-up of the saddle; Cara Nielsen, body join mechanic, attaches a systems bracket in the wheel well of the 777; Tony Collins, left, and Simon Atkins, 777 lower body join mechanics, consult during the overnight third shift in Everett, Wash. PAUL GORDON/BOEING BOEING FRONTIERS / JUNE 2013 41


Frontiers June 2013 Issue
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