Industry Forum

A National Supply Chain Group case study in the Aerospace Sector.

This supply chain development activity focussed on delivery improvement and lead time reduction. This was achieved using techniques including data analysis, workplace organisation, visual management, standard operations and set up improvement (SMED).

The Customer

The Host

GKN Aerospace specialises in the design, testing, manufacture and assembly of a diverse range of aerospace composite and metallic structures, transparencies and components at their factories in Cowes, Luton, Portsmouth and Kings Norton.

The Supplier

Gardner Aerospace-Basildon, Ltd produces a high variety of aerospace components in its 800 m 2 production facility, 500 m2 Treatments and NDT and 400 m2 repair station. 125 employees generated £10.8m turnover for year ended August 200.

The Customer’s need

The Host

As a key supplier Gardner was invited to join GKN’s National Supply Chain Group. GKN’s need was for Gardner to improve its on time delivery to achieve >95% Delivery Schedule Achievement to lift their Bronze performance to Gold.

The Supplier

Gardner identified its treatments area as the best place to start the activity with a target to improve process lead time. This was to be followed by set up improvement in the machine shop. No measures were in place.

The IF Solution

framework approach bringing together customers and suppliers from different tiers in the Supply Chain. Developed by Industry Forum, the 3 pronged approach enables individual businesses to see real gains in Quality, Cost, Delivery (QCD), and to improve the level of partnership between companies, alongside the development of improvement skills capability within each company.

Overview of PAC Structure

Description of Skills to Profitability Link

Treatment Area Measure selected : Process lead time. Data was captured and Visual Management used to progress work through the area








Workplace organisation used to eliminate wasted time looking for material, tools and consumables. Standardised work identified waste due to walking and anodiser idle time. New layouts reduce both. The combined effect reduced the process lead time by 35%








A further benefit was that the work in progress in the treatment area was reduced by 11513 parts over a 3 month period.

Return on Stakeholders’ Investment

Industry Forum’s Seven Measures of QCD Competitiveness







Reduction in build time of a high volume product

Before After
Not Right First Time 25,300 ppm Less than 1,000ppm
(0 ppm for Aug 2007)
Overall Equipment Effectiveness 73% 83%
Financial Benefits
Value of additional units and improved NRFT performance £50.4k
Value of reduced downtime due to tool breakages £80.2k

Upskilling for Sustained Continuous Improvement

Achievement of NVQ Level 2 in Business Improvement Techniques for some members of the team


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