Hawker Beechcraft uses a new solution approach to balance assembly lines.

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2011-03
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Authors
Abdinnour, Sue
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Citation

Sue Abdinnour; Hawker Beechcraft Uses a New Solution Approach to Balance Assembly Lines; Interfaces; March 2011 V.41, No.2; P.164-176

Abstract

In 2002, Hawker Beechcraft set out to improve the efficiency of its Hawker 800XP assembly line. The line was paced such that an aircraft was moved to the next workstation on the line on a schedule—even if work in a previous workstation had not completed. At the time, work in progress on the assembly line was high, and most work on the aircraft was completed out of station. Hawker Beechcraft’s management wanted a more quantitative approach to determine how many workstations are necessary and how to best assign the tasks to the workstations; its goal was to minimize work in progress and out-of-station work. In response to a management request, we proposed a new solution approach based on assembly-line balancing principles but customized to a complex product (aircraft) in a real assembly-line setting. Hawker Beechcraft implemented our recommended solution on the Hawker 800XP product line in 2003. The company also used our new solution approach to balance two other assembly lines, saving over $30 million.

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