Aerospace Lean Manufacturing

Bombardier Flow System

The 2008-09 project implemented a Manufacturing Flow System based on Lean and Theory of Constraints in a heavy industry metal bonding unit that manufactures panels and nacelles for the assembly of Bombardier jet aircraft.

Collaborators involved:
Bombardier Aerospace, Pauline Found, John Darlington


The project involved designing a new production system to replace the existing batch manufacturing process. Included within this was a capacity planning system to identify constrained, or bottleneck, resources and then scheduling the production to ensure that the constraints were utilised effectively and efficiently to meet upstream demand.

The result of the successful implementation was a reduction of in process inventory by 40% and a significant improvement in on-time deliveries to the upstream customers. In addition the lead-time of manufacturing was cut from 37 to 25 days with the ability to respond to urgent orders within 10 days.
The project won the Bombardier Gold Award for Achieving Excellence in 2009.

This was a novel project as it combined Lean Manufacturing concepts defined by Toyota Production System for automotive manufacturing with a Theory of Constraints approach in a heavy industry that relied on large equipment resources that had to be shared by other processes. It involved a complete change of a long-standing production environment and performance measurement systems; with a consequential change in culture

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