Lycoming Engines is the leader in the piston aviation market, producing more piston engines for general aviation manufacturers than any other company in the world.
Headquartered in Williamsport, Pennsylvania, Lycoming is a global operating division of Textron’s Avco Corporation subsidiary, and an operating unit of Textron Systems, specializing in the engineering, manufacturing, assembly, test and support of piston aircraft engines. The company employs 470 people.
Lycoming Engines realized that remaining competitive in a downturned economy requires ongoing innovation, enhanced efficiencies and involvement from all members of an organization to be alert and focused on continuous improvement and opportunity. Lycoming Engines began what would be the underpinnings of an aggressive initiative to have all levels of the organization undergo training in Lean manufacturing.
According to Gary Naculich, Manager, Transition to Production, Lean training was an integral part of the organization’s growth strategy.
“Identifying ways to remove waste from our processes is a significant component of keeping Lycoming Engines a thriving business. Our approach is always to have an eye on the future and to be prepared. Our hope was that LEAN would help us to cut back on waste, be more efficient and remain optimally productive,” said Naculich.
Naculich reached out to IMC-PA, a NIST MEP network affiliate, to assist in building a strategy to accommodate an aggressive schedule, variety of skill sets and potentially diverse feelings about the initiative.
As a result of IMC’s assistance, Lycoming Engines was recognized as the global premier award process for operational excellence, has twice gone 1 million hours without a lost time injury, and was recognized as one of Cessna’s ‘Top Suppliers’ by earning their STARS supplier award three consecutive times.
IMC business advisors and Lycoming management developed a master plan to engage the entire organization in Lean. The first step was to send several employees to IMC Lean 101 training in order to better familiarize them with the principles and help them determine the merits of a full-scale training initiative for the company.
To achieve buy-in from Lycoming’s union workforce, management sent several union members to Lean 101 training to evaluate its worth for the company. Union members returned from the training enthusiastic about Lean and fully engaged.
IMC planned a variety of training scenarios, including employee participation in scheduled workshops as well as IMC training sessions conducted directly in Lycoming Engines facilities.
Lycoming Engines Manager of Proposals and Contracts, Mary Fourney, said, “A key factor in the success of the program was IMC’s ability to work with employees at all levels and build trust. Some of our folks had the perception that Lean meant losing their jobs. Their fears were alleviated, though, due in large part to how IMC engaged them in the process and the obvious positive benefits that Lean could potentially have for Lycoming Engines.”
- Realized $50M in cost savings
- Improved safety by 30%
- Improved on-time delivery from 40% to 98%
- Awarded Shingo Silver Medallion in Shingo Prize program