I spent 18 months as a full-time certified Six Sigma Black Belt at Delta Air Lines Technical Operations. As a Black Belt I had many projects in work. Our focus was on Systems, how things work together and how to eliminate waste in our process. We also focused on our schedule and budget as well as measurements for our business. My biggest project as a Black Belt was Withdrawal Kan Ban, or material replenishment. The project involved working through 21 unique aircraft component engine repair shops and assembly/disassembly lines.
By implementing Withdrawal Kan Ban in Engine Maintenance the business unit had a better understanding of the materials processes that support the engine repair and assembly processes. This project created more efficient processes to reduce point of use stock outs that cause engine assembly delays that ultimately affect our bottom line and customers. This efficiency also reduced our overall materials costs by eliminating as many mid point stocking locations as possible. This project was aligned with the Tech Ops Lean Enterprise initiative. Engine Maintenance was faced with the issue of Job Stops in the assembly and repair shops. Job Stops were being driven by stock outs of parts that fit the withdrawal Kan Ban definition (parts that come from stores or a vendor warehouse).
We created a replenishment process and right sized the current shop stock bins using the Engine Order Quantity (EOQ) system. In addition, we established baseline for project value and metrics collection. We added parts that fit the Withdrawal Kan Ban definition and are not currently stocked as such. As well, we converted EOQ to Kan Ban and created a metrics plan. Finally, we implemented a Withdrawal Kan Ban metric reporting process and an adjustment process for resizing Kan Bans (broadcast) on a monthly basis.