Lean And Aviation: How To Gain Advantage Through Business Process Transformation

In this Blog… we look at the impact that Lean Six Sigma can have on the aviation industry.

Like The Industry – Is Your Company Facing A Bleak “Winter”?

At Acclino we understand that for European carriers, the discussion is often centered on the big issues impacting on their strategy and operations such as: Brexit, Consolidation (how to survive without being swallowed by the big boys) and Business-model convergence (to be or not to be an LCC or full-service carrier. Challenges in every direction!

What Are The Headwinds To Corporate Sustainability?

If winter is coming then how best do you rug up?
Let’s start with some key drivers:

  • Yes, competition… and it appears that only reductions in fuel prices turned serious industry-wide losses in the last few years into modest operating profits.
  • The threats posed by the here-to-stay forces of LCCs within Europe and the Gulf Plus airlines on intercontinental routes can’t be overstated.
  • Perhaps you have watched in frustration as your market joined most others in declining in double-digit terms over the last decade… and your average yields and seat occupancy also declined alarmingly over the same period.

What Are The Options?

Each airline has its own dynamics and associated ideas for addressing these challenges.

For some it may be a focus on small wins in re-negotiating or restructuring the value chain to aim for a cumulative impact through cost reduction. This won’t be enough for most however – as the competitive forces may overwhelm any gains achieved.

Others have to focus on corporate strategy which could include decisions to remain in the industry and restructure with strategic investment such as acquisitions or joint ventures with competitors or service providers – or exit the industry.

Operational decisions may involve product improvement and customer service/experience and marketing innovation, fleet adjustments and purchases, and in-house maintenance and repair – among other possibilities.

Where To From Here?

This is THE question!

So, with an industry “winter” on the way, let’s throw a log on the fire – and warm things up!

Take the first step

No one knows your business like you do.  Management and employees hold the keys to the future if their knowledge, experience and commitment is fully harnessed to make effective decisions… and to implement them!

Of course external expertise will be important to help structure and drive the process… but capturing the internal capacity is a key element in a successful transformation. This allows for a focus on achievable outcomes with significant payoff for company success. And helps build and engaged, empowered and enabled workforce. These are great dynamics in any organisation with “winter” fast approaching.

Use tried and tested process transformations that work in the industry
Lean Six Sigma has the runs on the board.

For example, at Acclino, we have distilled the essence of Lean, Six Sigma and Project Management into one framework and a handful of simple to use tools. The Acclino framework works in the aviation industry!!
Consider what is right for you –

Small steps V large transformations.

Each is appropriate under certain circumstances.

At Acclino we are finding that the small-step approach fits well with our aviation clients. When it is strategically focused on achievable outcomes, in key areas driving company success, it is less disruptive of business operations, it can be structured to win employee engagement… and it has proven to be a real winner!

In either case, process transformation and cost optimisation are key factors for driving competitiveness.

Transformation is occurring across the aviation sector.

Across the aviation sector as a whole, airlines, ground handlers, MRO’s, component suppliers and airport authorities are using Lean solutions for their large and small transformations.

Outcomes include reduced service lead times, driven down costs and creation of new business opportunities… as well as addressing specific areas of operation.

Take Acclino’s transformation in partnership with Air Lingus for example:

  • MRO turnaround times for Aircraft maintenance reduced by 50%.
  • Consumable material costs reduced by 40% and stock outs reduced to zero.
  • First wave departure performance improved by 50%.
  • Delays caused by excess cabin baggage reduced by 50%.

Feeling the warmth? Want to know more? Read what Fergus Wilson, Chief Technical Officer at Aer Lingus had to say here http://www.acclino.com/clients/fergus-wilson/
Surely these numbers and comments will help you keep winter on the back foot!

How Does Acclino Apply Lean To Business Transformation In Aviation?

Using Air Lingus again as an example, “theAcclino framework ensured that the transformation was a success at each and every stage from initiation, through implementation and on to the key phase of maintaining the gains.
Getting buy in from multiple large stakeholder groups was a big factor. The Acclino approach is simple and highly effective”. (Fergus Wilson again)
Actually a successful Lean transformation requires, as a starting point:

A Framework

The Acclino Transformation Framework can be applied with consistent success in any process transformation in any organisation, at any level, in aviation.

A Methodology

Our framework and our methodology is simple to understand, learn and apply.


Just a hand full of easy to use tools will guide you to achieve outstanding results… with no more brown paper rolls or post-it stickers… no formulae and no transformation jargon.

So Acclino make it simple and keep it simple to understand and apply, fully engage your people, deliver outstanding results with no jargon, no exams, no pain, no excuses.


For more information on the application of Leanand lean training for your company, please get in touch via damian@acclino.com or roisin@acclino.com.

Acclino make it simple, keep it simple and work with you for the results you need.

State Street Bank
Aer Lingus
Kingston Hospital NHS
ASC Global Recruitment
International Financial Data Services