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2015 TOCICO International Conference

Executive Track Keynote Presentation


Kathy Austin
KATHY AUSTIN
Director of Operations
Continuous Improvement
Delta Air Lines, Inc.

Step 1 of the Journey: Transforming Delta Airlines Operations Using the Theory of Constraints (TOC), Lean and Six Sigma (LSS)
September 6, 2015

What started as a humble, little aerial crop dusting operation called Huff Daland Dusters in 1924 has now grown into one of the world’s largest global airlines, helping more than 160 million travelers get to the places they want to go each year. In 2014, Fortune magazine named Delta Air Lines to the top 50 2014 World's Most Admired Companies list; Most Admired Airline Worldwide in the 2014, and World's Most Admired Companies Airline Industry list.

Not willing to rest on its achievements, in 2014, Delta established the Operations Continuous Improvement department with a charter to use Theory of Constraints (TOC) as the over-arching multi-division improvement architecture with Lean and Six Sigma (LSS) as significant improvement tools. Gil West, Delta’s COO has had great results using TOC-LSS in pockets at Delta in the past and knew significant improvement gains could be achieved using it across all of operations now and in the future.

This presentation describes the first year of using TOC-LSS across and within Delta operations, the development of a standard implementation model used on strategic and tactical projects, as well as the process for creating "pull” from senior leadership to keep Delta’s performance ever flourishing.


KATHY AUSTIN is Director of Operations Continuous Improvement for Delta Air Lines, Inc

She and Gerry Kendall co-authored Advanced Multi-Project Management in 2012. In 1997, Kathy and Ted Hutchin co-authored Why It’s Not Luck. Kathy became a Jonah in 1989 and a Jonah’s Jonah in 1991.

For the past 24 years, since leaving the US Air Force, she has worked large and small implementations, both commercial and military, in the US and internationally in Production, Project Management, Supply Chain, and Management Skills.

Kathy is certified in all areas of the Theory of Constraints (TOC) Body of Knowledge (BOK) and has been a member of TOC-ICO since the first meeting in Atlanta. Additionally, she has developed and taught multiple basic, expert, and licensee courses across the entire TOC BOK. Kathy is past vice-chair of the APICS CM-SIG and co-authored/edited (with Jim Cox) the APICS TOC series. She is also an ISCEA Certified Critical Chain Project Manager. In the past, Kathy has held various positions with the Avraham Y. Goldratt Institute (AGI) and has been Principal, APT Concepts.

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