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xxx 2011-10-31

Lean Transformation in the Aerospace Supply Chain Explored in new Bosch Rexroth Podcast

Lean Transformation in the Aerospace Supply Chain Explored in new Bosch Rexroth Podcast

Lean Manufacturing Podcast Episode 17: "Lean Transformation in the Aerospace Supply Chain"

Bosch Rexroth offers advice on how even low-volume industries like aerospace can use lean techniques to increase productivity and reduce lead times.

(Hoffman Estates, IL – Developed with lean manufacturing expert Richard Rahn, Rexroth’s lean manufacturing podcast episode 17, "Lean Transformation in the Aerospace Supply Chain" explores how to apply lean manufacturing concepts to the aerospace industry to improve productivity and operational excellence. The episode is the latest in a series of Rexroth podcasts dedicated to lean manufacturing education.

Rahn, who is Principal of the Leonardo Group Americas, explained one of the challenges in implementing lean for aerospace suppliers is the industry’s high-mix, low-production environment. "Lean techniques were originally developed for a much higher volume, repetitive manufacturing environment, and it’s difficult to apply the traditional tools for implementing lean to the aerospace environment, which produces maybe 10 or 20 of any given product. It’s harder to make the investment in standardizing the product flow."

Most suppliers consider themselves "job shops," in which every part is custom-made for every client. However, Rahn suggested that small aerospace suppliers take a fresh look for commonalities during the production process. For example, making different kinds of electrical connectors could include the same steps that can be transformed into a flow process: machining step, a plating step, a curing step, an assembly step and a test step. Instead of a "job shop," suppliers become a "mixed model production environment." Eventually, Rahn explained, suppliers will dramatically reduce work-in-process inventory, boosting productivity.

"Flow is really the magical word," said Rahn. "If we are not thinking flow, then batches of work go through our factories with higher quality risks and longer lead times. But if we can transform the work into a flow, we can achieve the benefits of lean, including improved quality and quicker cycle time."

"Investing in lean is investing in your survival and your competitive edge," said Rahn. "It’s not an expense; it has a significant payback, just like any other investment. In the future, there’s not going to be a lot of room for companies that are not lean."

"Lean Transformation in the Aerospace Supply Chain" is available for listening or free to download from the company’s recently redesigned website at

Each podcast now has its own page with options to listen, download the podcast or read the transcript. Visitors can also read the biography of the lean manufacturing expert featured in the podcast and have the option of sending the expert a question about lean manufacturing. Convenient links to other lean manufacturing resources that Bosch Rexroth provides to customers and lean practitioners, including training resources, whitepapers and guidebooks, accompany each podcast.

The podcast series is also available from the iTunes podcast library and other podcast directories on the web.

Developed by Bosch Rexroth’s Assembly and Handling group, each eight- to ten-minute lean manufacturing podcast episode presents guest experts and information to help manufacturers and OEMs understand and apply lean principles and practices in their businesses.

For more information on lean manufacturing visit

Bosch Rexroth AG is one of the world’s leading specialists in the field of drive and control technologies. Under the Rexroth brand name, the company supplies more than 500,000 customers with tailored solutions for driving, controlling, and moving. Bosch Rexroth is a partner for Mobile Applications, Machinery Applications and Engineering, Factory Automation and Renewable Energies. The company provides customized solutions tailored to the needs and specifications of each individual market. As The Drive & Control Company, Bosch Rexroth develops, produces, and sells components and systems in over 80 countries. As part of the Bosch Group, Bosch Rexroth and its 34,900 associates generated approximately 5.1 billion euros in revenue ($6.8 billion) in 2010.

To learn more, please visit

The Bosch Group is a leading global supplier of technology and services. In the areas of automotive and industrial technology, consumer goods, and building technology, some 285,000 associates generated sales of 47.3 billion euros ($62.7 billion) in fiscal 2010. The Bosch Group comprises Robert Bosch GmbH and its more than 350 subsidiaries and regional companies in over 60 countries. If its sales and service partners are included, then Bosch is represented in roughly 150 countries. This worldwide development, manufacturing, and sales network is the foundation for further growth. Bosch spent 3.8 billion euros (approximately $5 billion) for research and development in 2010, and applied for over 3,800 patents worldwide. With all its products and services, Bosch enhances the quality of life by providing solutions which are both innovative and beneficial. Additional information can be accessed at and


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