Dreaming Lean – as in Dreamliner

Here is an article from Assembly Magazine by Adam Cort about Boeing’s Dreamliner called Living the Dream.

Boeing has been working on lean for a long, long time. For quite a while, there was little to show for it. But traction is being made. Here’s a brief take from the article.

At the heart of Boeing’s manufacturing problems were the twin issues of efficiency and productivity, which the company has attacked through what it calls the Boeing Production System. Central to this effort has been an almost fanatical dedication to lean manufacturing. Between 1993 and 1998, some 1,500 Boeing employees from all levels of the organization traveled to Japan to see how Toyota gets things done firsthand. The Boeing system also includes a heavy helping of Six Sigma methodologies to root out quality problems before they become major assembly issues.

The result has been an empowered workforce that takes an active role in influencing how Boeing puts its airplanes together. For example, small groups called “moonshine” units are continually finding smart, often low-tech solutions to ongoing assembly problems. Six Sigma teams throughout the organization work to root out quality problems wherever they occur, be it in a Boeing facility or somewhere along the supply chain.

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Jamie Flinchbaugh is a lean advisor, speaker, and author. In addition to co-founding the Lean Learning Center, he has helped build nearly 20 companies as either a co-founder, board member, advisor, or angel investor. These companies range from high-performance motorcycles to SaaS tools for continuous improvement. He has advised over 300 companies around the world in lean transformation, including Intel, Harley-Davidson, Crayola, BMW, and Amazon. Jamie co-authored the popular book The Hitchhiker’s Guide to Lean, and continues to share his experiences as a Contributing Editor forIndustryWeek and as a blogger at JamieFlinchbaugh.com. He holds degrees from Lehigh University, University of Michigan, and MIT, and continues to teach and mentor on campus. Jamie is best known for helping to transform how we think about lean from a tools-centric model to one based on principles and behaviors. His passion for lean transformation comes from seeking to unlock the great potential that people possess to build inspiring organizations.

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