Since 2011, GMN Aerospace has pursued lean manufacturing through collaboration with The Boeing Company. One of the key elements to implementing a successful lean manufacturing program is a deep understanding of the concepts and leadership practices necessary to sustain and accelerate the initiative. To that end, I set off to Auburn, Alabama a few weeks ago to attend a Lean Leadership Boot Camp sponsored by the Association for Manufacturing Excellence and the Auburn Technical Assistance Center, Auburn University.
It was a great week filled with instruction, exercises, plant tours, and team building activities. There were 18 people in the class from industries as varied as pipe making, railroad car reconditioning, carbon fiber turbine blade manufacturer, medical device maker, paper mill, food processing, and textiles. Proof that it doesn’t matter what business or industry you are in, it can always be improved.
One of the most important things I learned and one of the main reasons for attending was benchmarking. I wanted to know how well GMN Aerospace compares to other lean businesses out there. I was quite reassured that we are on the right track, but we need to continue to grow it.
I’m excited to be able to use what I learned at the Lean Leadership Boot Camp to improve outcomes for our aerospace value stream team initiative. Aligning ourselves to a more Lean production style and culture provides ever increasing benefits to our employees, stakeholders, and of course our customers.