Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Continuous Improvement to Enhance P-3 Supportability

Ken Millar, the P-3 Program Director for Australian Aerospace, is our next speaker.

It's important for industry to look at the customer's operational environment. He noted that the RAAF P-3 fleet is really busy, resulting in issues with aircraft availability and the fleet is continuing to age. It is a complex and high-risk maintenance environment for the contractor.

He said that there needs to be an enduring continuous improvement culture. That kind of culture change requires strong management support. Australian Aerospace added consultants for training and mentoring and a full-time continuous improvement facilitator.

He noted the nature of P-3 depot maintenance has a number of inherent error-provoking conditions:
1) Lots of interruped disassembly/reassembly
2) Complex paperwork
3) Difficult publications
4) Problematic spares availability
5) Hangar access and lighting challenges
6) Large teams
7) Increasing non-standard repairs

The company's program human factors program was developed in-house and was delivered to every P-3 program manager. A two-day course was set up and there is now a refresher program every two years. The expected outcomes were an improvement in human factors beliefs and focus on maintenance practices, a greater awareness of the impact of personal decisions, a reduction in maintenance errors, and improved teamwork and efficiency.

Some of the early results include a failure rate improvement of better than 99 percent. The current state of the program: Early successes, increased staff involvement, and good momentum.

In summary, Millar thinks the RAAF P-3 is more supportable now than it was 10 years ago. He said that Australian Aerospace views support of the RAAF P-3 fleet planned withdrawal date of 2019 (and beyond, if necessary) with great optimism.

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