HAL plans lean heirarchy after cutting flab in manufacturing

August 6th, 2008 - 7:42 pm ICT by IANS  


Chennai, Aug 6 (IANS) The Bangalore-based Indian public sector aerospace major Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd (HAL) is planning to go lean in its management hierarchy, according to a top company official. “We currently have around 10-11 officer levels and we intend to reduce this to 5,” Ananth Agasthya, HAL’s executive director (training), said here Wednesday.

He was addressing a lean management seminar organised by Lean Management Institute of India.

The proposal will have to get the green signal from the board of the Rs.80 billion turnover company, he said.

The company, meanwhile has already gone lean in its manufacturing processes, Agasthya said.

“Its Takt time at HAL where a lean manufacturing process has already been implemented under a project called Sampoorna Parivarthan,” he said.

Takt is a German word used in association with music to denote a beat or rhythm. At the HAL’s plants, the term is used as a synonym for cycle time, he added.

Speaking about the progress of lean production management at HAL’s 19 plants, Agasthya said: “Lean leadership is about doing a few things differently. Unlike many other organisations, our lean manufacturing project is not headed by an engineer but by our director (personnel).”

Seeing global aerospace majors embracing the lean process, HAL decided to adopt the process December 2003.

Starting the project at its foundry unit, HAL has gone about implementing it in its other units in a systematic and phased manner, he said.

The first step was to unveil the policy deployment matrix and policy deployment programme review to show the targets and the performance.

“The next step was to map the value stream so that silos are broken and waste process identified,” Agasthya remarked.

The company also formed lean resource teams (LRT) whose members - now around 100 - conducted lean awareness training.

This was followed by “5S drive and Kaizen events called Parivarthan Chamatkar in 2006,” he added.

In management terminology, the 5S refers to a list of five Japanese words namely Seiri (Sort), Seiton (Set in order), Seiso (Sweeping), Seiketsu (Standardizing) and Shitsuke (Sustaining) that denotes a philosophy of organising the workplace.

“For Kaizen events we formed teams drawn from different departments and gave them a process to identify the value added and non value added processes in it within a week’s time,” he said.

“With the implementation of the lean manufacturing process, HAL has been able to cut its aircraft engine dismantling time from 72 days to 39 days, engine overhaul to 99 days from 149 days and servicing a full aircraft to 3.78 months from 5.48 months,” he said.

Concluding Agasthya said: “The processes which were like custard apple - lots of seed/waste - has now been transformed into an apple - lots of flesh and few seeds. The goal is to further transform the processes into seedless grapes.”

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