Quality improvement strategy in a dynamic aerospace manufacturing environment ; EMC Quality Strategy for 2013

by Orion T. English

Institution: MIT
Year: 2014
Keywords: Sloan School of Management.; Mechanical Engineering.; Leaders for Global Operations Program.
Record ID: 2024719
Full text PDF: http://hdl.handle.net/1721.1/90760


In the manufacturing of any complex product it is a generally accepted phenomenon that defects will occur at various stages in the process. In aircraft modification and repair facilities, the low levels of automation and high degree of manual labor results in a significant increase in the rate of errors and defects caused throughout the production cycle. This results in a significant amount of unplanned rework that is scheduled and executed along with the previously planned work. This thesis presents a project carried out during an internship at Boeing focused on developing and implementing a quality management strategy targeting improvement projects to reduce rework and the occurrence of defects. This includes both the development of analysis and communication tools for identifying the most common causes of rework and working with teams to develop improvement projects to reduce their occurrence. The modification facility where the project took place was still in its early stage of operation, having only been in operation for a short period of time prior to the start of the internship. This created a very dynamic work environment that was constantly evolving and improving at every level of the organization. Previous quality initiatives had been started in the past but a lack of support and commitment from senior management inhibited their adoption. The quality initiative is focused on several key quality metrics that have been identified by the leadership team at the company. The quality management strategy is developed through a cross-functional team effort, bringing a data driven approach and aspects of several common continuous improvement methodologies. Following the framework established during the internship, some project examples are provided along with the methodology behind the root cause and corrective action steps taken.