Mapping the value
Lean culture in Avio Aero is enriched with insights and tools, thanks to the guidance of a world-class Lean Transformation expert who spent a week at our Brindisi site.
In the typical "Lean" transformation journey of a virtuously modern company (i.e. devoted to eliminating waste and to facilitating and simplifying daily work), a very important element is the iterative process of Value Stream Mapping that serves to highlight opportunities for improvement from a holistic perspective.
This practice is part of a broader approach to problem solving in which cross-functional leadership is engaged, with each person applying Lean principles and pursuing whole-process transformation. Value Stream, in fact, refers to the mapping of the activities involved in making a product through all its stages, from supply to delivery to the customer. The goal is to focus not on a single process but on the operational flow and to give all people the tools to interpret and understand the current state and related waste, and to define concrete actions to achieve goals.
Based on the experience gained during the Kaizen events hosted at the different Avio Aero sites, Value Stream has become a valuable tool of change management for Avio Aero, and more and more projects are being selected to be analyzed according to this methodology.
This is the case for two specific projects, identified in this instance to increase output and margin growth for a turbine component of a modern commercial jet engine and for service on a powerful military engine at the Brindisi plant.
In this journey, the teams involved have benefited from the advice of the highly experienced sensei, Robert Thikoll - CEO of Essential Lean Group - who, after a successful career in achieving significant results using "Lean Thinking" within major companies around the world, is committed to helping companies overcome challenges related to the transformation of processes and of the corporate culture.
At the Avio Aero plant in Brindisi, Thikoll led local teams through the Value Stream Mapping process, then moved on to assess opportunities for improvement, setting a roadmap of future Kaizen events and projects. Furthermore, yet in Brindisi, during the week of October 24th, local teams also experienced a full Shinji week.
Robert, what was the level of team involvement and how would you rate the overall experience at Avio Aero?
"The involvement was first-rate from the entire team. First, everyone complied with the rule of no laptops or mobile phones, a prerequisite for focusing on analysis, and everyone participated and remained involved throughout the event. I would rate the whole experience with a 9 out of 10”.
Can you describe one specific positive and one challenging moment that really stood out to you during the week in Brindisi?
"The discussion was very difficult when we focused on production, the operational side, and the mismatch between the needs of the business’ commercial teams and the related measurement. It seemed like a discussion without added value but, in the end, coming to a common point on how to define the gap and then set up a so-called 'JDI'(Just-Do-It) to bring the team together and solve the situation was an important victory”.
What do you feel like suggesting to the Avio Aero team to keep their focus on the Value Stream exercise in preparation for the Kaizen events planned for the fall?
"It is always important to use a Lean template to maintain the focus on the overall strategy and potential threats and opportunities for the company. The model is designed to examine the internal potential of your business and any external threats and factors that could affect profitability. I find it very useful with regards to, for example, washing, NDT (nondestructive testing) and testing”.
How would you position Avio Aero from a Lean perspective compared to other industries?
"I think we are still at the beginning of the journey. The use and commitment to the implementation of policies and pull/flow principles are quite good. I think the company now expects to see concrete and solid results”.
What changes would you recommend to become the best company in the industry, in terms of Lean?
"I believe the Kaizen plan will take us to a high level of improvement. We are in what I would call a digestion phase of the approach and method, so we have to be a little patient. The way we have mapped it, I think we will see significant progress in productivity by the middle or end of next year in Brindisi. More importantly, conditions have been created to have an environment in which more and more people can participate and achieve results”.
What are Avio Aero's strengths and opportunities to work on in the near future?
"Definitely a capable and motivated team with a desire to always improve and a strong sense of humility. There is no better combination of elements for a successful transformation”.