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Aircraft Propeller Mfg.


Aerospace & Manufacturing


625 employees


Operational Improvement & Continuous Process Improvement


The Company was a leading manufacturer of aircraft components with over 100 years in business. Their first customer was the Wright Brothers. The Company enjoyed a market share of 85% and realized that future growth would need to come through acquisitions. Their plan was to acquire synergistic companies that were performing poorly and improve their performance through continuous process improvement (CPI) initiatives. Senior management felt that prior to implementing CPI in newly acquired organization’s, they needed to determine what type of results they should expect by implementing CPI to their current facility.


The task was to teach them the methodology of CPI by implementing several pilot projects that engaged the entire company in the effort. The process began by conducting a cultural assessment of the Company to determine their readiness for accepting change. Through this process MainStream determined that the manufacturing operations were most ready for this change but several other areas required additional support and encouragement. A plan was developed to address the issues identified by the assessment.

On a parallel track a technical assessment was underway to determine where the process should begin. Once completed, an interdisciplinary team, composed of manufacturing, engineering, finance, IT and sales was formed. The team was taught the fundamentals of CPI and provided with the tools for successful implementation. MainStream guided the team in collecting baseline data, making operational improvements, reducing set-up times on the shop floor and eliminating redundant processes in the office. Throughout the initial process the team was also able to determine capacities, develop standard work, and implement monitoring programs and measuring metrics. Working in concert with the implementation team, MainStream identified where extremely high percentage of labor costs were focused and where organizational bottlenecks existed with a lack of human capacity to function effectively.


The company now has a CPI implementation team that works with newly acquired organizations. In their own in-house program they have restructured departments and policies that improve work flow, reduce defects and provide more focus on final quality inspections for their highly critical products. After only seven months since the initial meeting with MainStream, the Company was able to reduce direct labor by $300,000, work-in-process dropped by $400,000 and lead times were reduced from 21 to 7 days.

Aircraft Propeller Mfg.: Projects
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