Why companies should buy the power an engine produces – not the engine

Lean Manufacturing Principles for High Levels of Reliability and Safety

Lean Manufacturing Principles for High Levels of Reliability and Safety

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Why Don’t Large Airlines Manufacture Individual Aircraft Engines?

Large airlines do not manufacture individual aircraft engines, instead they buy the engine from suppliers like Rolls-Royce at a guaranteed level of performance (typically 98%). This demonstrates the fact that they are interested in the standard of performance of the engine itself rather than the components necessary to deliver the function. As a result, such suppliers are responsible for the performance of the engine and for all maintenance and interventions required. It is therefore in the suppliers interest to minimise the failure rate of such engines, and the maintenance required.

Apply Lean Manufacturing principles

In order to achieve this, the application of lean manufacturing principles ensures prediction and elimination of failures through a predominantly condition-based maintenance regime. This approach typically eliminates between 50% – 80% of the planned maintenance activities that exist when a more traditional approach to reliability is used. It also produces the high levels of reliability and safety associated with modern aircraft. The original equipment manufacturer (OEM) therefore builds, installs and maintains the equipment to provide the operator with the functions they require, at the required standard of performance and at an agreed price.

 How to Reduce Operational Costs & Customer Bills

There is an enormous opportunity for companies to reduce operational costs, and hence customer bills, by adopting a radically different approach to their asset management strategies. This new approach, Lean RCM has been developed by EMS Cognito. Incorporating standard practice from the automotive and aircraft industries, Lean RCM combines Lean Manufacturing, and Reliability Centred Maintenance. When Lean RCM principals are applied in the design, build and operation of equipment, unprecedented levels of reliability are achieved from the offset, at the lowest possible operational costs.

 When To Apply Lean RCM

The optimum time to apply Lean RCM is in the design and build stage of the equipment in partnership with the capital equipment provider. However in most cases, it is fair to say that this approach is a retrospective approach to equipment performance and the real breakthrough comes when companies realise the opportunity of applying Lean RCM principles in their Asset Management Strategies. EMS Cognito has been working over the past 3 years with several of the large water utility companies to introduce the practice of Lean RCM; Welsh Water South West Water, Veolia Water, and Thames Water. Lean RCM has been applied to existing capital equipment and has produced significant results; notably: improved reliability and a significant reduction in preventative maintenance costs. This new method is widely accepted within operations and maintenance teams as a better way of working and a more robust approach to asset reliability.

Minimise the Cost of Maintenance

When considering an asset management strategy, the most common approach to purchasing is based on build quality and capital cost. Whilst this achieves the lowest capital spend, it is unlikely to achieve the lowest Life Cycle Costs (LCC). LCC refers to the total cost of ownership over the life of an asset, and links directly to Lean RCM principles. By considering LCC, and Lean RCM, there is greater capability to achieve required standards of performance, and subsequently minimise the cost of maintenance. Focusing on the design of the equipment with the OEM, it not only makes it easier to define the process of a function, but also outline the requirements of the performance of the particular function.

Ideally, Lean RCM practices should be implemented in the workplace before equipment is installed to avoid underperformance. However, even when applied retrospectively, the net effect of Asset Management strategies based on Lean RCM, with the consideration of LCC, is a reduction in operating expenditure. This in turn allows companies to offer greater value to their customers, for lower costs.


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