Tuesday 23 June 2015

Quantifed success story #89 Lesson learning ensures early delivery at Airbus

One of the stand-out presentations for me at KMUK this year was by Rafi Oghoubian of CIMPA, Airbus. Rafi talked about the introduction of Lesson-learning in aircraft production, and the impact it had on delivery of the Airbus 350XWB.

One of the problems besetting the aircraft industry is delays in delivery, or (in the jargon) "entry into service".

As Daniel James, the MRO guest blogger, says - "rarely, if ever, do new aircraft types get delivered in time to the airlines that have been waiting in line for their shiny new combination of advanced composites and electrical wizardry."

This delay can cause tension between the airline and the aircraft supplier.

The entry into service issue was one of the targets for Airbus in their revamped Lesson Learning program. As Rafi described to us, Airbus had had a history of lesson learning, but there were many parallel initiatives, they were not coordinated, the learning loop was too often not being closed, and many people were becoming disinterested in Lessons Learning.

The KM team conducted a major Lesson learning overhaul, introducing

  • a template for Lessons 
  • processes for lessons capture, reuse and maintenance, with lessons capture through team workshops such as retrospects
  • quality control of lessons content
  • a Lessons Management technology
  • distribution of lessons to those who needed to know them, and
  • support from a central team.

Over 5000 lessons were captured from the Airbus 380, for example, of which over 1000 were  transferred and embedded in the design of the next series of aircraft.

The lesson learning helped support the entry into service of the Airbus 350XWB, described in this press report as being "certified ahead of schedule and in a record time of 15 months".

This was a big deal for the client, Qatar Airlines, who's CEO told CNN that "It's important to note that the aircraft has been delivered to us one week ahead of schedule, not late."

Lesson learning had a key role to play in that 1-week early delivery.

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