OPTIMIZING IMPROVEMENT EFFORTS BY REDUCING VARIABILITY
The Tauber team was tasked to work with Boeing to analyze the current performance of their inaugural composite wing horizontal build line (HBL) and recommend improvements. Simultaneously, the team will create a methodology for the evaluation and prioritization of all current and future improvement project recommendations. Finally, the team will utilize this methodology to select one project for implementation.
Bringing the production of composite wings in-house for the first time, as well as the first build of any product, is challenging. To ensure the program schedule was not impacted, the program launched several hundred separate improvement projects (referred to as “enablers”). The Tauber team identified the disorganization of the enabler efforts as an excellent opportunity to improve and standardize the process for HBL and other startup programs within the company. The team developed a new process for handling enablers which will alleviate project arrival and handoff rate variability, with the potential to reduce time from initiation to completion by nearly 85% based on results seen in controlled, fully dedicated pilot efforts. The Tauber team’s more conservative estimate predicts a reduction in 777X enabler project lead time and process time by 59% and 35%, respectively. Furthermore, new airplane programs adopting these efficient processes will substantially reduce costs associated with resource assistance and delivery delays.
Andrew M. Davis – Master of Business Administration
Colin J. McNally – Master of Business Administration
Cameron R. Stitt – EGL (BSE & MSE Chemical Engineering)
Lam Ma – Manager, 777X Wing Industrial Engineering
Lincoln Spencer – Manager, 737 Tooling Engineering
Richard Hughes – College of Engineering
Stewart Thornhill – Ross School of Business
About Tauber Team Projects:
The 2018 Tauber Team Projects resulted in $564.4 million in savings according to sponsoring company calculations, an average of $28 million per project over 3 years.
Each two to three person Tauber Team consists of graduate engineering and/or graduate business students. Along with receiving high-level corporate support from the sponsoring company, each team is advised by a College of Engineering and a Ross School of Business faculty member and overseen by a Tauber Institute Co-Director. The projects begin on-site in May and continue for 14 weeks. Students present the results of their projects and compete for over $40,000 in scholarships at the U-M Tauber Institute's annual Spotlight! event, held each September in Ann Arbor, Michigan. Spotlight! provides outstanding opportunities for students and corporate partners to establish relationships while exploring innovations in operations and manufacturing.
Access Spotlight! Book for project details.
Read about Spotlight! 2018 Competition Results.
View Spotlight! 2018 Competition Photos.
Learn how to Sponsor a Tauber Team Project.