Benefits of Implementing Lean Practices and the Impact of the Lean Aerospace Initiative in the Defense Aerospace Industry and Government Agencies
In the 1980’s, many United States industrial organizations started developing new production processes to improve quality, reduce cost, and better respond to customer needs and the pressures of global competition. This new paradigm was coined Lean Production (or simply “Lean”) in the book The Machine That Changed The World published in 1990 by researchers from MIT’s International Motor Vehicle Program. In 1993, a consortium of US defense aerospace firms and the USAF Aeronautical Systems Center, together with the AFRL Materials and Manufacturing Directorate, started the Lean Aircraft Initiative (LAI) at MIT. With expansion in 1998 to include government space products, the program was renamed the Lean Aerospace Initiative. LAI’s vision is to “Significantly reduce the cost and cycle time for military aerospace products throughout the entire value chain while continuing to improve product performance.” By late 1998, 23 industry and 13 government organizations with paying memberships, along with MIT and the UAW were participating in the LAI.