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Airbus Lean Learning Academy opens doors to Aerospace Alliance

Learning to be lean will be the theme of a series of special intensive workshops provided by the North West Aerospace Alliance under a unique partnership with key aerospace manufacturer Airbus.

In a European 'first' Airbus is providing further valuable support for the Alliance's Aerospace Supply Chain Excellence (ASCE) Programme by opening the doors of its Lean Learning Academy to participants in the programme.

The first of a rolling programme of 12-day lean learning courses held over three weeks has just been completed, with more to follow.

Dr David Bailey, NWAA Executive Director Operations, completed the first course along with senior representatives from North West-based companies Gardner Aerospace, of Burnley, John Huddleston Engineering, of Blackpool, Brookhouse Composites, of Darwen, Lancs, and APPH Ltd, of Bolton. Regular 'feedback' sessions to review progress are now planned.

This latest demonstration of the Alliance's ASCE programme in action has been hailed a "great success" by the companies taking part and the next group of member companies will join a Lean Learning Academy at BAE SYSTEMS Samlesbury in December.

The Airbus Lean Learning Academy is being rolled out within the company across Europe, but this is the first time that the programme has been opened up to a third-party organisation such as the NWAA.

The Lean Learning Academy, based in the UK at the Airbus Wing Centre of Excellence, Broughton, looks at effective leadership, behaviours and the discipline required to implement lean production systems.

The Airbus approach to lean learning is mentally and physically demanding and promotes the use and analysis of data in team-based working and decision-making. More than 50 per cent of the time is comprised of practical exercises on the shopfloor.

Although only introduced into Europe this year, Airbus facilities are reporting tangible changes following implementation of the programme, including improved productivity, leaner and more efficient operation and elimination of waste.

Explains Dr David Bailey, "The outcome we are aiming for is to move the supply chain to a position where it has a common language, common toolsets and processes so that everyone is pointing in the same direction and understands each other's needs."

NWAA Chief Executive Officer, Martin Wright, believes the partnership with Airbus further endorses the company's commitment to the Alliance's efforts to improve and elevate companies within the region's aerospace supply chain.

"The fact that we are the only organisation in Europe with access to this major initiative on lean learning is further proof that the ASCE programme is hitting the mark from the viewpoint of the prime manufacturers."

Press release issued by North West Aerospace Alliance on October 22, 2007


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