Quest Aircraft Company LLC
Production Leans Out & Lifts Off at Quest Aircraft
Quest Aircraft Company was producing a new 10-seat single-engine turboprop utility airplane known as the KODIAK. Quest’s original goal was to build 25-30 aircraft per year using a conventional Material Requirements Planning (MRP) system. Increased orders forced Quest to ramp up production to 100 aircraft per year in the same facility. Quest began to explore Lean Manufacturing as a way to meet production goals.
Quest chose TechHelp, a member of the MEP National Network™, to educate managers and staff in Lean. Key managers completed several Lean training classes, including TechHelp’s Lean Enterprise Certification Program (LECP), which included kaizens on the plant floor and produced hands-on learning and immediate results. Quest implemented a Kanban (signaling system to trigger action) system to manage inventory better. An initial value stream mapping exercise led Quest to improve production by reorganizing the entire production line and each work cell in the line. Quest quickly applied Lean principles to the plant floor to better utilize space, materials, information, and workforce. Quest also developed visual controls and storyboards to monitor production problems and progress while improving communication.
- Retained $13 Million in sales.
- Retained 100 employees and added 50 new jobs.
- Realized $60,000 in cost savings.
- Invested over $1 Million in plant, equipment, workforce, and information systems.
- Improved cycle and takt times by over 60%, and made progress towards producing one aircraft every 2.5 days.
- Reduced production line deviations by several hundred percent to a few per cell per aircraft.
- Improved employee morale by giving employees a better sense of control over their work processes.
The Lean training class was more like a boot camp. Old habits were stripped away and replaced with new and improved habits learned through practical hands-on training methods.”
– Mark Cahill, Co-founder, The Lancair Company (now a division of Cessna Aircraft Corporation)