Incorporation of Lean Principles through the use of Flexible Fuel Tubing in a Large Military Transport Aircraft 2002-01-3010
This paper describes the lean manufacturing process and associated principles as demonstrated by the C-17 Globemaster III program. The utilization of the lean manufacturing principles resulted in an improved production assembly process for the C-17 fuel system. The “MARI” methodology phases of Mobilization, Assessment, Redesign and Implementation are described with the practical project example that eliminated a repetitive non-conforming fuel tube installation. A team working within an Integrated Product Team (IPT) environment using Integrated Product Development (IPD) tools was able to modify the system to reduce cost, span time and eliminate wasted steps. The paper describes the five elements in the culture of the C-17 program needed to achieve the results: communication & collaboration, team work, empowerment, leadership and feedback & recognition. By utilizing the principles of lean manufacturing, the project team developed an innovative design approach that may have applicability to other large commercial and military transport aircraft.