Defence & AerospaceManufacturing

Client: Improving productivity with >£1.3m annualised improvement

Assignment: Organisation Design & Programme Management

Improving productivity with >£1.3m annualised improvement

The Problem

Kaman Aerospace UK is a subsidiary of US-based Kaman Aerospace. The business was struggling to achieve its profit plan and the UK team requested help from Bourton Group to focus the business on achieving Sales and Gross Margin targets.

A team was formed from a combination of staff from the US staff and the UK. The US team however felt they needed some extra ‘local’ resource who could help them to better understand the culture and ways of working.

The three areas they asked for assistance was:

  1. Organisation Redesign
  2. Culture Change
  3. Programme Management

The Solution

The three strands of work were handled as separate workstreams.

The programme management stream set up discipline and a process that followed the following principles:

  • Focus What is it this week, next week, 3 months, 6 months, 12 months? Progressing the rolling top 5 items
  • Structure How will the OP Ex team interact with the rest of the factory? How will we review progress?
  • Discipline How will we migrate to a more sustainable model?
  • Ownership – Getting the benefits of the OP Ex team and the Organisation

Project Management – the project manager established a process for the team to follow with benefits tracking associated with each Improvement project and mapped against a policy Deployment Matrix.

Weekly meetings checked progress against target and daily calls between the UK and US for updates, ensured the team stayed focussed on the outputs and objectives TSS (Task, Scope, Status) sheet for their project.

A project structure was put into place and included setting up subprojects that focused on performance improvement in terms of sales and gross margin.

A war room was set up and with a stand-up weekly review.

Culture Audit – To baseline the culture, we held 14 focus groups covering senior management to shop floor sampling over 25% of the workforce to determine their perception of the current and desired culture for KCUK.

This also highlighted areas management needed to pay attention to regarding, rewards, recognition, communications and first line leader roles.

The audit was re-run nine months later to check progress and areas to refocus the leadership team. The audit showed progress on communications, but work was still required on recognition.

Organisation Redesign – The organisation structure was mapped against the core processes to check gaps and overlaps.

The key areas were identified as programme management, business development, and supply chain which have now been addressed.

Process Improvements

Key improvements were made by looking at the Gross Margin products which needed to improve and focus on them first. Plants were re-laid, contracts were reviewed, and customers were approached for price increases (and received), quality data analysis was undertaken and initiatives were put in place to reduce scrap across a range of products.

By the end of the first six months, significant increases to the bottom line had been achieved (>£1.3m annualised improvement).

Knowledge Transfer

We worked with the top team to show them how the programme management process was set up, so they could continue running it after our time with them.

To date, they are still running with the approach and continuing to make improvements.

The Benefits

Over the life of the project we identified over 25 opportunities that were converted into improvement projects, all aimed at reducing costs and or increasing Gross Margin, some by up to 50% improvement.

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What Improving productivity with >£1.3m annualised improvement said about us

Kaman greatly appreciates the efforts that the Bourton Team has provided to Project OPEX as you have assisted in putting Kaman in the proper alignment for increasing the margins on our programs.

Thanks for everything; it has been a pleasure working with Bourton Group on project OPEX.

Doug Perreault, Contract Director