The aviation industry comprises almost all aspects of air travel and the activities that help to facilitate it. Thus, it includes the entire airline industry, aircraft manufacturing, research companies, military aviation, and much more.* Lean and Six Sigma methodologies are used to improve operations and reduce waste in many aspects of the industry. We’ll look at four applications from the United Kingdom, Turkey, Ecuador, and India and finish with a video of Boeing’s aircraft assembly process.

*Source: Refvine

Lean Six Sigma used to Overcome Production Challenges: United Kingdom


In an article titled “Implementing Lean Six Sigma to Overcome the Production Challenges in an Aerospace Company,” authors A. J. Thomas and others discuss the application and implementation of a Strategic Lean Six Sigma Framework (SLSSF) in a medium-sized UK aerospace manufacturing company.

Two research questions were addressed:

  • To what extent does the implementation of the SLSSF assist in the improvement of a company’s manufacturing performance?
  • What specific Lean Six Sigma tools and techniques are best applied to each stage of the LSS cycle?

The article includes:

  • Outputs from Kano Study
  • Current State VA/NVA Time
  • Current State Analysis of VA and NVA Activities
  • Future State VA/NVA Analysis
  • Build Times of Consecutive Parts
  • Build Time Variation of Consecutive Parts
  • Improvements in Production Performance Following Strategic Lean Six Sigma Implementation

Click on the following link to download a copy of the paper.


Using Six Sigma to Achieve Process Improvement in an Aerospace Manufacturer: Turkey


In a case study titled “Use of Six Sigma method as a process improvement technique: a case study in aerospace industry,” authors Atakan Gerger and Ali Rõza Firuza discuss the application of Six Sigma to a problem in a German aerospace manufacturer.

The problem is defined as a backlog occurrences and employee musculoskeletal disorders in the alkaline department. The project’s scope is cleaning and rinsing of inner surface of all tubes by using alkaline solution.

The case study includes:

  • Tube Production Flow Chart and Bottleneck
  • Cause and Effect Diagram for Improving Alkaline Cleaning Efficiency
  • Analysis of Human Factors Concerning Adapter Weight Moved by Personnel
  • Comparison of Old and New Adapter Weights
  • Comparison of Before and After Project Results

You can read the case study here.


Applying Lean Manufacturing in a Drone Assembly Company: Ecuador


In an article titled “UAVs’ efficient assembly: Lean Manufacturing implementation in an UAVs’ Assembly Company,” authors S. A. Villacís and P. S. Burneo discuss  the use of DMAIC, line balancing and simulation to solve the increasing quality problems of a small drone (UAV: Unmanned Aerial Vehicle) assembly company.

The article includes:

  • UAV Flight Failure Causes
  • Critical to Quality (CTQ) Tree
  • CTQ Measured Metrics
  • Customer Complaints
  • Flight Failure Ishikawa Diagram
  • Quick Wins Implemented based on Ishikawa Diagram
  • CTQ Metrics After Quick Wins Implementation

You can read the article here.


Lean Methodology Applied to Achieve Cycle Time Reduction: India


In a paper titled “Process improvement by cycle time reduction through Lean Methodology,” authors R. Siva and others discuss the use of Lean methodology in an aviation concern in order to improve customer maintenance service.

The paper includes:

  • Recommended Spare Parts List (RSPL) Process Flowchart
  • Current State Value Stream Map for RSPL
  • Cause and Effect Diagram for High Cycle Time
  • Future State Value Stream Map
  • Results of Lean Implementation

You can read the paper here.


Modern Boeing Aircraft Assembly Process


See Boeing’s aircraft assembly process in a video from Star Tech TV.


You can watch the video here.


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