Technology & Digital Innovation

Simplification through unity

The figures relating to the work of Simplification, which are regularly updated and can be consulted on the official portal that came online a few months ago, are significant and demonstrate Avio Aero's growing desire to simplify everyday work, cut red tape and enhance the fluidity of the myriad processes that govern duties, projects, external relations and workflows. Since February 2014 until June, 180 projects and initiatives have been completed throughout the company, and a further 139 are in progress: 95 were completed in 2014. The most active site is Rivalta (with 84 Simplification Goals), followed by Brindisi and then Bielsko Biala.
Borgaretto, the Special Castings site under the guidance of Local Simplification Representative Danilo Spaccasassi, has been particularly involved in Simplification since the beginning of this year, and is showing a keen interest in and aptitude for simplifying processes on a daily basis. Seven simplification projects related to various areas of the foundry, including plants, equipment and auxiliary products, have been launched in just one month. Increasing numbers of people at the Borgaretto site have been involved, starting with the supervisors, and they have all welcomed the initiatives and taken active part in them. So involvement is growing.
Avio Aero's Simplification Council meets every two weeks to discuss new initiatives, raise awareness of completed and ongoing initiatives and, most importantly, produce a report on transverse simplification involving every function, as represented by the Simplification Council.
And like everything else relating to simplification at Avio Aero, the work of the council is shared and appreciated by Aviation. We hold regular round tables with our colleagues at GE Aviation for the purpose of exchanging views between different businesses and identifying the most important inter-functional and inter-business projects to work on. These include the famous Big 3, which we described and undertook last year for Avio Aero: digitalisation of authorisation procedures (with a reduction in redundant steps), the creation of the new Avio Aero intranet and the Quality System.
On the Aviation team, which received the proposals and discussed them with a view to selecting the next Big Simplification Projects, Avio Aero was represented by Paolo Comai, who acted as an intermediary between our internal Simplification Council and the Aviation team. Paolo gave us an interesting account of his experience.

What did the Aviation Work-Out (AWO) consist of?
The aim was to identify a certain number of simplification projects for 2015, whose impact and importance is such that they'll be pursued at Aviation level, so will receive specially strong emphasis and high visibility. The AWO was made up of Senior Professional Bands from every division of Aviation. The ASLT (Aviation Simplification Leadership Team), in other words the group of executives that coordinates all simplification work at strategic level, kicked off the work-out.

What type of work were you involved in, and how were our proposals presented to the Aviation team?
The process of selecting the most important projects was divided into several steps. First we selected the top Simplification projects at divisional level. For Avio Aero this took the form of a review of currently identified projects by the Simplification Council, followed by a brainstorming session to come up with new ideas. The criteria for evaluating projects are based on: inter-functionality, impact in terms of the population involved, inclusion in the four priority categories (Customer, Gross Margin, Hygiene, Organization), and feasibility of completion by the end of 2015 (first phase at least). <br>
Next, each division submitted lists of ideas, which were briefly described and discussed during the work-out (Avio Aero drew up a summary of each project it presented at the meeting). These ideas were then classified according to the above evaluation criteria. The result was an initial list of specific projects or broader themes. Once endorsed by the ASLT, these were refined in a series of meetings downstream of the work-out, and developed into definitive projects.

Which of the proposals did you find the most challenging or valid as potential cross-company and cross-function projects?</span><br>
All the proposals seemed very appropriate to me, and very important in terms of achieving our targets for growth and competitiveness. Customer care, cost reductions and increased gross margins have always posed a challenge, but they depend a lot on the specific context of each unit and division, so in these areas it was more difficult to single out any truly inter-functional projects from the large number proposed and assessed. Conversely, improvements in the way we work and effective use of the myriad of IT tools we have at our disposal (see chosen projects) represented more fertile ground for finding common factors between the various divisions.

Which ones were selected and what are your next steps?
The ASLT is going to sponsor three simplification ideas:  Searchable PDF (standardisation and proceduralisation of the generation of contracts in .pdf format, to facilitate their consultation), Agnostic Tools for Modern Browsers (making the various tools used by GE compatible with latest-generation web browsers), Invoice to Cash (standardisation of the invoicing and credit management process across GE sites and divisions, which does not have much impact on Avio Aero).
Four other projects were also identified, whose implementation will be monitored by the AWO team, so that support can be provided in the event of difficulties. These include one of the projects proposed by Avio Aero and developed by the Compliance team. Although it was recognised as being thoroughly valid, it was not added to the group of main projects for the simple reason that it already has the full support of the senior leadership team at Aviation and does not therefore need to be sponsored by the AWO Team, for the moment at least. The four projects under monitoring are: Reduction of CID cycle time (simplification of the CID approval process so as to reduce the lead time of cost reduction initiatives), Cross Countries Collaboration (standardisation and guidance on the tools available for inter-company and extra-company data exchange), Compliance Portal with Dashboard (completion of the Avio Aero pilot project for a portal for the management of investigations and extension of its use to Aviation), Joint TG0/PCB (streamlining of the PCB process for multi-programme parts).

Each of these projects has a leader tasked with coordinating the work group. The work groups are already fully active. Every two weeks, the work group leader reports progress and any critical issues to the AWO team, so as to obtain support if necessary. Lastly, it's worth noting that the Compliance Team from our own site at Rivalta di Torino is playing a leading role in the Compliance Portal project.