Meggitt Avionics Site Director, Paul Spencer explains how the company’s Meggitt Production System has helped define what ‘good’ looks like.
The introduction of AS9100 Revision D was a landmark development in aerospace. It also spelled big changes for the Meggitt Group and for the business I run, Meggitt Avionics. For the first time, we began to move away from traditional quality management systems towards Operational Excellence; from a reactive to a proactive, process-based approach which has focused on error prevention, staff engagement and continuous improvement.
Like any industry-wide shift, this was initially met with objection. People don’t like change, but this is one change that has revolutionised Meggitt Avionics.
At the heart of this is our Shingo-based Meggitt Production System (MPS), which we’ve linked with E-Squared’s Isoma business management system (BMS). In simple terms, the BMS tells us what we should be doing whilst the MPS provides the accountability for that and tells us how well we are doing it. Over the past six years this combination has taken us to new heights: helping us to gain and retain the best customers, to deliver our contribution to Meggitt PLC and to satisfy our regulators.
It has also enabled us to maintain full compliance with Rev D, to achieve a gold supplier rating with Boeing, and to consistently grow our business at 6-7% pa. The BMS allows us to think more strategically and have more management headroom for decision-making. With it we now know what ‘good’ looks like and we use the MPS to ensure we consistently deliver it.
Whilst we originally developed the BMS to satisfy Rev D’s focus on quality, this process-based system has permeated and benefited every part of Meggitt Avionics: providing clarity, consistency and improved effectiveness. This has driven our company culture and has helped us to create a different mindset – a much more open, improvement-based attitude which touches every part of the business. This has focused everyone on what we need to do to be best in class and what they need to do as individuals to contribute towards that. As a result, it drives our continuous improvement programme – and we are really good at this!
We constantly set ourselves tough targets and use the system to generate rapid improvements right across the business. So, as a manager, before 9am every day of the week, I can now use real-time reporting to pinpoint errors in our processes. If I find an error, I can test a number of improvement ideas throughout the day and move an issue from red to green before close of play. There’s no way we could have done that before we had the MPS, nor the BMS. The process approach which Rev D fosters has been central to everything.
This is also how we have consistently achieved 99.6% On Time Delivery rates with our biggest clients like Boeing. It is also behind our approach to the roll-out of our new group-wide Zero Defects programme. We are now totally focused on achieving zero defects, out of the box, day in, day out and with these systems we are well on the way to achieving that.
These are all key factors in our company growth. In just six years, we’ve gone from £1 million in arrears to zero arrears, achieved gold delivery standards with many of our customers, and have delivered and continue to deliver, market-leading growth rates to Group.
We are proud to lead the way in operational excellence within Meggitt, to be highly thought of across the Group and to be part of a technological and cultural shift that is driving the industry forward. Rev D may have raised a few eyebrows when it was first launched, but it’s crucial to us for improving standards, productivity, customer service and staff wellbeing. Only with a robust BMS can we achieve this. It enables us to know and to demonstrate what ‘good’ looks like.