The F/A-18 F404 Engine: Getting Lean (a)

12 Pages Posted: 21 Oct 2008

See all articles by Richard Brownlee

Richard Brownlee

University of Virginia - Darden School of Business

Robert Osterhoudt

affiliation not provided to SSRN

Tom Cross

University of Virginia - Darden School of Business

C. J. Jaynes

affiliation not provided to SSRN

Jeff Pottinger

University of Virginia - Darden School of Business

Abstract

The U.S. Navy Aircraft Intermediate Maintenance Depot (AIMD) Lemoore Power Plants Division (F404 engine maintenance) was a real mess. Not-Ready-For-Issue parts were everywhere. Division thru-put was poor, there were 30 F/A-18 aircraft with bare firewalls (no engines), the maintenance crews were working 12-hour days, manning was at 61% of authorized levels, reenlistment rates were an abysmal 50%, and crew morale was lousy. The Officer-in-Charge of the Aircraft Intermediate Maintenance Detachment decided to use Lean manufacturing to tackle the challenge. It would be the first application of the Lean concept to Naval Aviation.

Excerpt

UVA-C-2268

Rev. Jan. 21, 2011

The F/A-18 F404 Engine: Getting Lean (A)

It was June 2000, and Navy Commander C. J. Jaynes had just settled into her new assignment as Officer-In-Charge of the Aircraft Intermediate Maintenance Detachment (AIMD) at Lemoore, California. Since graduating from Officer Candidate School in Newport, Rhode Island in 1983, Jaynes had spent most of her time in aviation maintenance and program management. Previous AIMD assignments had included Mayport and Diego Garcia. In other prior assignments, Jaynes had worked on various aspects of F-14, F/A-18, P-3C, and H-60 aircraft.

There were six production divisions at AIMD Lemoore, all in trouble in one way or another, but the Power Plants Division (F404 engine maintenance) was a particular mess. Not-Ready-For-Issue parts were everywhere. Division thru-put was poor with 35 engines and 190 modules awaiting maintenance and 30 F/A-18 aircraft with bare firewalls (no engines). The maintenance crews were working 12-hour days. Manning was at 61% of authorized levels. Reenlistment rates were an abysmal 50%. Crew morale was lousy. And more parts and engines arrived daily. “It's always been that way” was a typical response Jaynes got when she asked questions, and it was a shock as she had just come from a Northrop Grumman F/A-18 E/F Super Hornet aircraft project where everything was in order.

Jaynes took a deep breath. She had distinguished herself in prior assignments by facing challenges head on but none as big as this one. After pondering the situation, she knew she had to get the “house” in order. She could see that the experience she had had, at Northrop Grumman, could set the stage for success at AIMD. It was at Northrop Grumman that she had seen Lean manufacturing at work, and she decided to apply Lean principles to tackle the challenge she faced at Lemoore. It would be the first application of the Lean concept to Naval Aviation.

. . .

Keywords: Navy, aviation, operations management, Lean manufacturing

Suggested Citation

Brownlee, Richard and Osterhoudt, Robert and Cross, Tom and Jaynes, C. J. and Pottinger, Jeff, The F/A-18 F404 Engine: Getting Lean (a). Darden Case No. UVA-C-2268, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1277004

Richard Brownlee (Contact Author)

University of Virginia - Darden School of Business ( email )

P.O. Box 6550
Charlottesville, VA 22906-6550
United States
434-924-4800 (Phone)

HOME PAGE: http://www.darden.edu/faculty/Brownlee.htm

Robert Osterhoudt

affiliation not provided to SSRN

Tom Cross

University of Virginia - Darden School of Business

P.O. Box 6550
Charlottesville, VA 22906-6550
United States

C. J. Jaynes

affiliation not provided to SSRN

No Address Available

Jeff Pottinger

University of Virginia - Darden School of Business ( email )

P.O. Box 6550
Charlottesville, VA 22906-6550
United States

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