Cobham Aviation Services

Cobham’s engineering business partnered with our team to implement a Lean Principles pilot program into a workshop environment to improve the overall capability of the workshop to exceed its customer’s expectations.

Cobham Aviation Services Australia (Cobham) is based in Adelaide, South Australia. Part of the worldwide Cobham plc, Cobham employs more than 1100 people at 18 locations around Australia and the Pacific Region and operates a fleet of more than 45 aircraft.

As the largest provider of contracted air transport services, they provide passenger and freight for blue chip clients such as Qantas, Australian Air Express, Rio Tinto, BHP Billiton and Santos. Cobham is also Australia’s largest provider of contracted special mission aviation services, operating the worlds largest aerial civil maritime surveillance program under contract to the Australian Customs Service Coastwatch program.

73%

reduction in process TAT from over 30 days (average 44 days) to 12 days

20%

improvement in Productivity (from 68% to more than the target of 85%)

30%

improvement in Labour Cost Margin (profit)

Cobham Aviation Services

Results

The Lean Principles pilot project was a major success delivering significant Return On Investment (ROI) and results above and beyond those defined in the project objectives. Results included:

- The development of internal skill and capability to ensure sustainability of the results achieved and to lead and execute similar scale projects using the knowledge gained and transferred through the consultant team.

Cobham Aviation Services

Observations

The workshop has been in operation for many years maintaining critical aircraft components. Its workforce is experienced at component MRO and work under tightly controlled, safety critical processes. However, issued observed included:

- Significant Turn around Times due to large batches driven through a push process in excess of the customer requirements of 30 days
- Lack of process standardisation and flexibility amongst the workforce
- No visibility of production status including production related problems and progress towards resolution
- Poor process layout, flow and cleanliness of the workshop causing safety hazards and confusion of work sequence
- No visibility and team awareness of the performance of the workshop

Cobham Aviation Services

Objectives

To use Lean Principles to develop the team, coach the methods of effective planning and to create and deploy plans to improve operational performance , customer satisfaction and business profitability.

- Achieve a consistent Turn Around Time (TAT) of 30 days or less
- Improve manpower utilisation and flexibility in the team
- Develop problem solving skills and management processes within the team
- Improve the flow of parts for the entire end to end process
- Create a process to make production status visible at all times
- Create a culture of Continuous Improvement through the use of practical demonstration and transfer of knowledge

Cobham Aviation Services

Actions

During a 4 month project with an average of one consultant on site for 2 days per week, actions included:

- 1 to 1 coaching of the internal project facilitator to develop into the future internal continuous improvement facilitator
- Development of a Master Schedule in a team environment to project manage improvement
- Engagement of all stakeholders and team members by using the “Blue Sky” process
- Implementation of “Problem & Countermeasure” process to raise, review and solve business problems as a routine behaviour
- Creation of weekly project and team meetings to improve internal communications
- Current State and Future State Mapping activities to understand the entire value stream and define an optimal team consensus and way forward
- Identification and elimination of waste through guided training