The Embraer facility at Paris Le Bourget airport is in charge of maintenance support for Embraer Executive fleet for the Europe Middle-East Africa – EMEA – zone.
The customers may be as various as rich owners enjoying their own private jet, companies proposing air-taxi services or “flying ambulances” called Medivacs, mainly used to repatriate sick people to their home country.
Periodic aircraft MRO is strongly regulated and imposes check-ups at regular intervals, but the MRO teams must also be able to repair or modify aircrafts at customers’ request, with short notice and in shortest possible time.
Maintenance teams are mainly skilled and officially certified mechanics working in 2 shifts, 5 days/week. Furthermore, each mechanics has to be certified separately for each type of aircraft he can work on. As certification is a lengthy and costly process, not all mechanics are qualified to work and sign off their work on all aircraft. This constraint is one of the limiting factors with regards to capacity.
A specific maintenance team is dedicated to Line (repairs required at the airport) and AOG (Aircraft On Ground) to ensure a 24h/7 service. Those teams must be ready to jump in a flight to any airport in their zone of responsibility to repair any Embraer aircraft grounded.
The Hangar is fully booked for the whole year, without any spare capacity.
The Embraer management team was put in front of a tough challenge when suddenly facing a Check-C, which is a major maintenance intervention after 8 years of aircraft use, requiring a shorter than usual Turn-around-time (time the aircraft is grounded).
Until then, planning before and during the check was not efficient, notably for the Check-C maintenance and only 40 % of necessary replacement parts were delivered on time.
On top of this, when stripping an aircraft for inspection, unnoticed problems may surface, some of them requiring to be fixed in order to clear the aircraft for airworthiness again. Those “findings” and their fixes require customers’ validation, usually coming in late to validate the additional work. It also amplifies the problem of missing spare parts.
Technicians didn’t know their daily priorities and multitasked a lot. The visibility given to the teams of the check progress was erroneous and the management of the hangar’s maintenance « slots » was therefore not robust nor reliable.
The Theory of Constraints was particularly relevant in this MRO case because it accepts to integrate variability. And MRO operations are basically “projects”, sequences of tasks that have to be done in a specific order. Critical Chain Project Management was therefore a natural way to manage those “projects”. Critical Chain Project Management enabled Embraer to:
· Use dynamic scheduling,
· Find the right sequence of tasks to reduce total duration while optimizing the man-hours spent, hence better cost management,
· Focus the actions on what actually determines the Turn-Around Time of the aircraft i.e. it’s Critical Chain,
· Encourages the implementation of “Full Kitting”, a key element to avoid loss of productivity and time
· Include project safety buffers and feeding buffers
· Monitoring project execution with a Fever Chart: a simple and efficient visual management.
· Ensuring the proper and smooth execution of Critical Chain tasks (relay race) to execute projects faster
· How focussing Lean improvement actions on the Critical Chain can yield extraordinary results
· Projects are sequenced to limit the work in progress and devastating multitasking
· Solve resource conflicts between “projects” easily, objectively and dynamically thanks to the Fever Chart.
The conference will describe the journey leading to the reduction of lead times by over 30% and man-hours per job by more than 40% thanks to Critical Chain Project Management and how the "Fever Chart" became the main management tool.
3 learning objectives
· The power of CCPM to quickly generate very impressive operational improvments
· How the Fever Chart can turn a chaotic fire-fighting culture into a quietly efficient and focussed team effort
· How buy in to CCPM can be ensured by creating a win-win solution from the mechanics to the top management
3 questions from audience
· What enabled a 40% increase in labour productivity?
· Can you explain how and why you simplified to Work Breakdown Structure by 90%?
· What was the mechanics reaction to this CCPM implementation?