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Barriers to Lean Enterprise Transformation: A Case Study of the F-16 Avionics Sustainment System

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Master's thesis

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Instituting basic principles of lean thinking can help transform the U.S. Air Forces sustainment system by substantially improving its efficiency and effectiveness. One of the immediate outcomes of viewing the sustainment system through lean lenses is the identification of numerous barriers impeding the systems transformation. These barriers are caused by a complex array of institutional, organizational, financial, technological, and policy and regulatory structures, as well as practices, established by the Air Force, Dept. of Defense DoD and the Congress. An example of the policy and regulatory environment within which the sustainment system operates is the Congressionally- mandated workload allocation limitation known colloquially as the 5050 rule, directly impacting the Air Forces ability to meet customer demands. Within this larger context, this thesis addresses the following key questions 1 How should the F-16 avionics sustainment system be modified to achieve significant performance improvements through lean enterprise transformation 2 What are the major barriers impeding the systems transformation through the adoption of lean principles 3 How can these barriers be effectively overcome to derive the benefits of lean transformation and 4 What are the key benefits that can be expected through lean enterprise transformation This thesis employs the Transition-to-Lean TTL Roadmap developed by the Lean Aerospace Initiative LAI at MIT as an analytical framework to analyze the progress of the F-16 sustainment system towards becoming a lean enterprise. To gain a better understanding of the system, a Value Stream Map VSM of the current F-16 avionics sustainment system is developed. The VSM has helped to identify many of the organizational, financial, informational, institutional, policy and regulatory barriers. It has also aided in the identification of various types of waste resulting from the use of non-value added steps in the system7

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  • Aircraft
  • Logistics, Military Facilities and Supplies

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