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Airbus Defence and Space

Lean Learning Academy at Airbus Defence and Space

Long-term customer benefits are an even stronger focus

Ingenics Academy was established to develop standardized training measures that can be evaluated and certified, perfectly tailored to needs of companies and their employees. Now under the leadership of Andreas Grundnig and Jakob Hefele, it positions itself as an initiator and robust provider of training and professional development for all things “lean.” A week-long Lean Learning Academy on the subject of lean development that took place for development engineers at Airbus Defence and Space is a good example of how practical knowledge and sharing of technical expertise can come together.

The most important project results and Ingenics services:
Airbus Defence and Space
  • Lean development
  • Design to cost
  • Visual management (Obeya)
  • Process and value stream analysis and design
  • CCPM

In its early years, Ingenics Academy focused mainly on communicating the basic principles of streamlined processes in production and administration. Under the auspices of a new Academy director – Andreas Grundnig, Ingenics partner and center of competence director – the concept has now changed.

There are two new core offers professional advancement of operational managers, and lean development. The first new offer concerns five modules of training in leadership awareness, moderation and communication training, leadership, problem solving, and conflict management. The second offer – Lean Learning Academy Lean Development3, driven by fellow Ingenics partner and key account manager Jakob Hefele – focuses on an area of increasing professional interest: development. While target costing and design-to-cost continue to play an important role, several avenues are being pursued with equal intensity following the strategic realignment. Generally speaking, the offer has been more fully tailored to needs of design engineers.

A prime example of the new Academy concept can be seen in a project carried out in two divisions of Airbus Defence and Space: Space Systems and Propulsion and Equipment.

Based on positive experience in several efficiency improvement projects in production, Ingenics was entrusted with the task of carrying out two Lean Learning Academy training events in lean development, specifically tailored to the requirements of development engineers. These were led by a pair of experienced consultants and coaches, who shared responsibility for the areas of visual value stream management and lean development and design.

The fact that expectations and needs of Airbus Defence and Space had been precisely established at the outset proved to be an important factor in being able to deliver an on target result. The team had been very successfully involved in lean production for many years, so it became an obvious approach to drive lean engineering in the areas of design-to-cost and experiment design in order to save development and testing costs.” The specific expectation that development times and costs could be reduced by 20 to 30 percent had been clearly expressed – this was a result that the client believed possible in collaboration with Ingenics.

„We anticipate being able to reduce our development times and costs by 20 to 30 percent. We ruled out ‘minor improvements’ of a few percent, which is why we chose to work with Ingenics.“
Dr. Gerald Hagemann, Airbus Defence and Space
former Vice President Space Systems/Operations and Quality/Propulsion, Adv. Product/Subsystem Evolution and Technology, TSOPA

In terms of selecting participants within the company, a central question was to ask who the main multipliers were. At the beginning and end of the Lean Learning Academy, various senior management representatives attended as they were very interested in the process. After five days, more than 90 percent of participants said they had taken away many positive lessons and were pleasantly surprised – even in light of their high expectations.

It is difficult to say whether and to what extent the benefits of the Lean Learning Academy will be reflected in numbers at Airbus Defence and Space because the impact in development is not as easy to quantify as in production, where it is has long been common practice to compile comparative figures. While everyone involved acknowledged without surprise that it is especially difficult to arrive at concrete figures in engineering, the management team is convinced of the overall positive effect. In the view of the It has been noted by company executives, all those involved in the training are now putting the new ideas into practice, for instance by working actively with kaizen paper or A3 reports.

With respect to communication flow and atmosphere, changes have been so positive that there is clearly a very real benefit, even if it cannot be quantified in absolute numbers.