AeroCision Achieves Significant Sales Growth and Cost Savings with Lean Training

“Attending CONNSTEP’s CICC program inspired me to think outside the box in terms of different methods for time saving. I came to understand some changes take time to see results. And once you see the opportunity for growth and savings it makes you want to apply what you learned to everything you touch. It gave me the confidence to make more meaningful ROI suggestions for AeroCision’s capital investments. The Lean training I received from CONNSTEP really opened AeroCision’s eyes to a new, cost effective, high quality step up the chain.”

– Sean Morrissey, Production Manager, AeroCision

Background

AeroCision is a quality machining company with 70 employees in Chester, CT that has been serving top aerospace OEMs for over 50 years. They are ISO 9001:2008, AS 9100C and NADCAP accredited. AeroCision machines and assembles complex, highest tolerance parts involving exotic metals manufactured by highly trained people using robust processes and machinery in a sophisticated systems-rich environment.

Reflecting their value proposition of 100% OTD, Zero PPM and 100% NPI at the lowest possible cost, the company was presented with the Rolls-Royce Aerospace Division’s 2017 Supplier of the Year award. Rolls-Royce cited AeroCision’s highest worldwide quality and delivery supplier rating within Rolls-Royce’s global supply chain and their ability to develop “Fast Make” complex products.

Situation

AeroCision is committed to Lean continuous improvement processes, delivering superior engineering and machining skills, and providing the best customer service in the business. They are also dedicated to maintaining a rewarding work environment where their people learn from each other to help create a high-performing culture.

AeroCision has been experiencing steady growth and is always looking for ways to ensure this ongoing success. AeroCision’s Production Manager Sean Morrissey was interested in helping to facilitate the continuous improvement education for the balance of the company’s team members.

Having worked with Connecticut’s MEP center CONNSTEP in the past, AeroCision turned to them again for recommendations to sustain their growth strategy while providing training that allows their team to work together systematically towards their lean enterprise goals.

Solution

To help AeroCision with Lean training and to continue with their growth trajectory, CONNSTEP recommended its proprietary Continuous Improvement Champion Certification (CICC) program for their Production Manager Sean Morrissey. This 12-week class prepared Sean to apply lean methods and techniques to product-production and business processes that delivers better value to their customers.

The course provided intensive exposure to the principles and practices needed to develop and sustain the Lean enterprise. Classroom learning was also applied to a real-life project at AeroCision with on-site mentoring and knowledge assessments by CONNSTEP Lean consultants.

The value stream mapping tool was an instrumental part of helping with their growth strategy. In mapping out its value stream, AeroCision brainstormed with teams from every department on ways to improve inspection time and load leveling its production process. By laying out in detail the flow of every step in the current state of their organization, AeroCision was able to pinpoint and cut all the waste in their processes and determine which areas required improvement.

Results

Training from CONNSTEP’s CICC program allowed AeroCision to improve productivity by maximizing value-added activities while eliminating waste. The Lean training tools were shared with AeroCision colleagues to help improve everything from overall production and quality checks to shipping product out the door.

Additionally, and as a result of CONNSTEP’s Lean training, a key decision was made to move from a 3-axis machine environment to a closer tolerance, more comprehensive 5-axis machine environment that could produce parts faster and with higher quality. This Lean move cut 6-8 weeks out of what used to take 16 weeks to make finished parts. They achieved this by eliminating certain operations which cut 1700 machining hours, reduced inspection time cutting 500 inspection hours, and cutting 350 set-up hours. This resulted in more room and capacity for available parts, needing fewer machines which required less people who could be redirected to other projects, and improved cash flow for the organization.

Metrics, since the CONNSTEP Lean training:

  • Increased sales by $5,000,000
  • Retained all Legacy Parts re-bid
  • 6 jobs created and 2 jobs retained
  • Cost savings of $700,000
  • Increased Capital investments by $2,200,000

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