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Esterline Technologies: Lean Manufacturing

Essay by   •  April 13, 2018  •  Case Study  •  552 Words (3 Pages)  •  1,829 Views

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Case Study - Esterline Technologies: Lean Manufacturing

Prepared by

Karthik Kottapalli

Nishal Dapki

Ummi Shaikh

Xi Mei

Question 1. What do you believe to be the most significant challenges for implementing Lean? How do companies overcome these obstacles?

Answer 1. 

The most significant challenges for implementing lean are:

  • Employee Development: Implementing lean methodology leads to a shift in work methodology of how work is done in a company. It requires employees to be trained in various functions and methodologies. There is a possibility of reluctance on the part of employees in adopting new methods.
  • Technological Challenges: Lean implementation can also mean investing in new technologies such as new production system, ERP software etc. New technology may not always be as efficient. Sometimes, new technology may cause employees more anxiety and stress (Ex: Schedule display screens give rise to measurement anxiety)  
  • Inventory Management: Lean includes the minimization or near elimination of inventory. Inventory minimization can cause production delays if there is a delay in product delivery and reduction in time for value addition to the products.

Companies have been able to overcome these challenges:

  • Companies like Toyota have implemented changes in company policies and culture such higher compensation, more opportunities for promotion, permanent employment etc. which give the employees a sense of belonging in the company’s success making them to strive harder to improve the company.
  • Alternative methods such VMI (Vendor managed inventory) instead of ERP systems and using White boards instead of display screens to plan production schedules manually give the employees a sense of ownership and make it easy for them to switch products.
  • Just-in-time delivery system can ensure that materials are delivered at the perfect time to meet operational demand.

Question 2. What about Office Lean? Is it a good idea? Why or why not?


The manager of Korry’s customer service department, Annette O’Neal, thought of implementing a new form of lean method like the 5-S method for organising the workplace. Some of the other major improvements were: desk maps were assigned for various work materials and same also helped them to find things when a person is absent, they started creating value stream mapping for high value processes which helped them eliminating bottlenecks, rework and duplication.  After rearranging the work for 30% they process time was one day instead of three. Hence, upon studying the Esterline case we can say that lean principles eliminates the lack of alignment of an organization and helps to stabilize, standardize the processes.



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