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Within its Lean training program Lufthansa Technik together with Porsche Consulting has trained employees during management games with production site models made of Lego bricks to visualize process optimization.

Lufthansa Technik

For an investment primarily of time, Lufthansa Technik (LHT) Group has achieved faster turnaround times (TATs), improved quality and dispatch reliability, and in the process saves “in the high two-digit millions of euros per year,” says Christian Langer, head of Lean activities for LHT Group. Man-hours are the single biggest cost driver, he says. LHT’s most notable success statistically has been with its component overhaul division. Composed of 40 workshops, the unit in 2007 had an average TAT of about 17 days to repair items such as flight control, hydraulic and avionics units. Determined to improve, the division planned a two-year Lieferung in Fünf Tagen (LIFT—Delivery in Five Days) project. The end result: five-day TAT and no layoffs, Langer says. The division now works on a strict first-in, first-out (FIFO) basis—with no priorities to interrupt the flow. Customers with urgent needs are supplied via pools. Lufthansa Technik concentrates not only on the infrastructure side—moving materials and tooling—but also on the people side, a Lean fundamental. There

are “daily performance dialogs” in every part of the company that does Lean. Shift leaders meet with their shifts at least five to 10 minutes daily to talk about “key figures” relating to what the group wanted to achieve during its shift vs. what it actually achieved. It isn’t always easy to get people into the Lean mindset. Langer tells how one shift leader asked him whether he had to do all the Lean exercises in addition to his regular work. Langer explained to him that “Lean is an essential part of your job.”

The idea of the dialogs, besides communicating about problems, is to change the way people talk about performance and to generate ideas from the ground up. It’s also intended to foster teamwork and confidence. Shift leaders are initially very shy around top management, but at the end of a 12-week project they blossom at these meetings because they are proud of what they do, Langer says.

Another challenge is “keeping spirits up” to drive Lean’s continuous improvement (CI) cycle. Shift leaders have weekly performance meetings with their section managers or department managers. These are viewed, not as tests, but as a way to get help. An issue with an outside supplier, for example, may need to be addressed at a higher management level.

Christian Langer, head of Lean activities for LHT Group 20 Aviation Maintenance | | June / July 2011

LHT heavy maintenance faces constant change because of its wide range of business. It may have an economy-class in-flight entertainment project followed by a first-class seat modification. It takes a couple of weeks to prepare a new Lean campaign, but this is scheduled in the period before the project starts. Last year

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