The business supplied aerospace and industrial gas turbine components to major engine manufacturers specialising in the machining and fabrication of complex components.
It had suffered from the cyclical demand of the aerospace industry and its position as a supplier of parts on aged engines types where volumes were low with little future visibility of demand.
Production and was driven by a process orientated model with the inherent problems of poor quality and cost performance given that repeatability and reliability improvements were difficult in such volume.
Profitability was a challenge and despite a cost reduction programme a loss of was budgeted for the year.
The problem was addressed by: –
- A new production strategy was adopted using customer focussed manufacturing cells. Equipment and people were dedicated in self-contained production areas facilitating much closer customer liaison and accelerating the learning curve.
- Cell management teams were established led by a Cell Controller with support from Shop Supervision, Logistics and Engineering. The customer interface was owned by the Cell Controller.
- Empowerment of the cell teams created an environment where achievement of cost, quality and delivery goals was paramount. The workforce was re-motivated to “do more” rather than be passive spectators and be critics of management. Significant improvements in productivity and quality were achieved with resulting improvements in adherence to delivery schedules.
Customer Service / Satisfaction
- An order backlog of more than £1m with the main customer was reduced to £250k in year 1 and resulted in award of new business on current and future engine programmes.
Working Capital Management
- Working capital requirements reduced as lead times crashed. For example, a high value component lead time reduced to 8 weeks from a typical.
- A significant budgeted loss turned into a profit within 2 years.