Improvement of a Qualification Process in the Aerospace Industry : A Case Study at Saab Aeronautics
Abstract: The importance of reliable parts and production methods in the aerospace industry is crucial to guarantee safety in the air. Hence, each material used in the production of aircrafts needs to be tested and verified as fit for use in all intended environments. This is however a complex task since material requirements differs largely depending on various material applications. The tests and the development of these test programs are both expensive and time-consuming, which therefore gives incentives to increase the performance in qualification processes. The purpose of this study is therefore to identify potential improvements and give suggestions for how to enhance the process performance in a qualification process.The research was executed as a single-case study at Saab Aeronautics in Linköping. The results are based on qualitative data, mainly from observations and from interviews with people affected by the qualification process. Problems and sources of improvements were identified in the collected data and thereafter addressed with relevant process improvement- and quality tools. “Experience-based process”, “Insufficient communication”, and “Insufficient customer focus” were expected to be the most essential problems to address to enhance the process performance. A root-cause analysis was done to find the root-causes of these problems. The root-causes were thereafter screened and prioritized based on the expected benefits from solving them and based on the effort to address them. 12 root-causes were selected as the most relevant problems to address, and 16 recommended actions for these problems were thereafter formulated. This research has showed the success of established quality- and process improvement tools in a complex process environment. The study has also provided a structured approach for how process improvements efforts can be applied in an effective manner, where no quantitative data is available to analyze.
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