Leaning the aircraft maintenance operations for the Royal Saudi Air Force (RSAF)

Qahtani, Ayed (2014) Leaning the aircraft maintenance operations for the Royal Saudi Air Force (RSAF). [Dissertation]

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Over the years, the Toyota Production System (TPS) has been used as an exemplar model for an organisation to identify non-value adding activities in their system in order to fix the waste and be able to focus on the customer requirements – here in called lean management. It was a revolutionary technique that ushered in further management techniques such as six sigma, total quality management and the like. In the case of the Royal Saudi Air Force (RSAF) the processes of improving the performance of aircraft maintenance have been triggered by the demand for efficiency and arresting the escalation in costs for the major contracts that have been given to international suppliers who have been providing new fleet of aircraft. This research explores the opportunities and challenges for the workforce in the RSAF as they go about their daily business in order to identify the value addition procedures that could be targeted for eventual improvements. Based on the literature review and the results of a questionnaire survey the research has found the lean management principles could be extremely useful in many sections within the RSAF; however, the processes of identifying areas to improve as well as value addition have not been started in any way or form. Two key inhibitors to the implementation of lean thinking have been the complex nature of the supply chain and the varied nature of the products, processes and spare parts that accompany aircraft maintenance programmes within the RSAF. Therefore, the research strongly recommends the uptake of lean thinking as an ideology before it can be implemented practically.

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