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Home > About Us > News and Articles >Administrative Lean


Administrative Lean is the
Stimulus Plan at LMI Aerospace

by Trina A. Green

LMI Aerospace – has been at the forefront of Lean implementation for well over a decade.  There is no question about Management’s commitment to Lean as evidenced by the money, resources and time allotted to drive Continuous Improvement.  LMI production teams have learned Lean by being trained in the methodology, applying tools to their area’s constraints and seeing the results.  You cannot tour an LMI facility where you would not see the results and/or find a CI Event in process. 

LMI was also aware that while there had been great success from applying Lean principles on the shop floor, the benefits would not be fully realized if the total organization (administration) was not engaged.

The FTL Assembly Plant’s Administrative and HR teams wanted to contribute to the improvement goals and objectives outlined in their T-Map (Transformation Map) which had been created earlier in the year.  The Transformation Map gives the whole organization visibility of all the projects in process and ensures tie in to the Mission and Objectives of the Company. Excessive paperwork and non-value added administrative tasks had become a constraint and they accepted the challenge.  Elton Reid, Senior Consultant for Technical Change Associates, along with Dave Gabriel, led the charge.  Together they gathered a cross-functional team and created an Event Scope that included:

      • Current Situation, Problems and Opportunities
      • Scope and Boundaries
      • Deliverables

Current Situation, Problems and Opportunities
The Administrative Team determined that many of the manufacturing process-related paperwork and administrative procedures had become unnecessary; they needed to be streamlined and/or eliminated.  Some administrative and HR tasks appeared to be redundant. Many of the Administrative group had not been trained in Administrative Lean. 

Scope and Boundaries
As with any Kaizen Event it is critical to scope the project properly and develop boundaries that are not too narrow or broad to ensure its success. The excitement and opportunities had to be contained and it became apparent, after a meeting with the plant’s Lean Steering Team, that there were 3 major objectives to this Event:

  1. Provide in-depth Administrative Lean training to all front-end personnel. 
  2. Identify opportunities and implement corrective action to remove or streamline paperwork, activities and/or procedures that directly relate to administration or HR.
  3. Identify opportunities and implement corrective action to remove or streamline paperwork, activities and/or procedures that directly relate to the support of manufacturing processes. 


The consensus for the desired outcome for this Event was narrowed to these 5 deliverables:

  1. Train all Administrative personnel in Lean tools and technologies and create a culture of continuous learning and improvement. 
  2. Select and focus on 4 projects based on the Steering Team’s ranking of priority.
  3. Identify performance and improvement metrics for each project.
  4. Document and deliver outcome to Management Team
  5. Leverage learning and results throughout the entire LMI organization.

On May 15, 2009, all administrative and in-direct staff was provided in-depth training on Lean. Elton receives outstanding scores as facilitator.  His expertise is engaging the group--some would call it a life-changing Event.  Participants realize that the principles and methods learned can be applied anywhere and that they can contribute to the success of their company. 

After training, the team dove into the four projects selected by the Plant’s Steering Team.

  1. Change Board/Change Control Project   
  2. Visual Aide Books Project
  3. PO Process Project
  4. Time Card Project

Change Board/Change Control Project

 The team did an analysis of the 1400 line item PO Change Report that requires one person 2-8 hours on a daily basis to examine. The team discovered that nearly 90% of the report is with customers that do not flow configuration changes via POs. By removing these customers from the report the team estimated that the time requirements would be less than 1 hour per day!  Modifying the reports data base was then assigned and completed by the end of the event. This equates to a savings of 1-7 hours of one of the team members daily tasks that can now be moved to Value added activities.

The team agreed the next step would be for them to outline a Current State Process Map of the entire operation to get a good understanding of the all the steps, issues and non-value activities.  A cross-functional team would then be organized to develop a more streamlined Future State.  Completion dates were assigned.

The Current State of the Change Board process is for all practical purposes “after the fact” and does not employ “Best Practices.”  2 critical assignments with completion dates were given:

  1. Establish a change evaluation template
  2. Develop and implement a team-based internal change board

These mini-projects are the perfect examples of what Continuous Improvement means.  They would eliminate waste in one area and they wouldn’t stop there. The team was always pushing for better/leaner ways to accomplish their work. 

Visual Aide Books Project

The Visual Aide Books were the result of a previous Kaizen Event; however, the time it took to complete the Work Instruction books was excessive and had not been completed by its target due date. Production people liked the results; however the process needed to be streamlined.  The current state revealed:

  1. Good templates had been developed, however, not everyone knew the software
  2. Some of the information was redundant
  3. Additional resources could be employed to build the basic books thus allowing their limited engineering resources to focus on developing and documenting the standard work

A SME (Subject Matter Expert) was identified to develop materials and teach the group how to use the template and software to utilize the program to the fullest. Information that was redundant or unnecessary was removed from the Visual Aide Books design template.

Purchase Order Process Improvement Project

Review of the current state of the PO process identified non-compliance of standard work procedures.  Incomplete notes and other inconsistencies were noted.  Unauthorized modifications were also creating non-value added work.  The cross-functional team devised a future state to include:

• Develop and implement standard work for the PO process
which would include configuration check lists.
• Update the current work instructions to the standard work
• Add a software function to pull in configuration notes directly
    into the Purchase Order

• Lock software controls to make unauthorized modifications
• Reduce total cost

A person and due date was assigned to each task to implement the Future State Purchase Order Process.

Time Card and Work Order Documentation Project

Careful analysis of these operations by the team concluded that it takes up to 45 minutes a day from production to complete the current timecard and Work Order documentation process. Much of the detailed information was determined to be non value-added or redundant information and therefore waste.  During the event a meeting was setup with the team, and plant and corporate management, to review critical data used for cost accounting and lot traceability. Below is a list of approved eliminated steps:

  1. Eliminate employees filling out time and information on a job for each detailed operation/work center/quantity within the jobs manufacturing value stream
    1. Labor will still be reported to each job by type of process and operator
  2. Eliminate redundant operational buyoffs that employees have to complete and stamp on the back page of the work order
  3. Eliminate lunch reporting unless employee did NOT take a lunch

The team calculated the times savings into dollars.  The total annual projected savings for this project alone was $52,000.  The team also noted that if the annual hours saved by direct labor employees (additional capacity) are turned into manufacturing hours it could generate $175,800 in additional revenue. 

Bonus Project

The Event did not stop there.  An additional bonus project was implemented.  The Value Stream Mapping of a critical process affecting both manufacturing and administrative functions occurred.

A final Action Item list for the Kaizen Event was created and is being monitored by the Team Leader.  This Administrative Event was a good example of how cross-functional teams can come together and tackle processes thereby eliminating waste and non-value-added activities. 

LMI Aerospace Vice President, Bob Grah, attended the Kaizen teams report out and was very pleased with the results.  He stated, “The other thing that impressed me was the team viewed themselves as the supplier to the plant and the operators as their customer.”  Anyone involved in a Lean transformation knows--That, in itself, is a success. 



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