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    The Benefits and Disadvantages of Agile Manufacturing  by Carter Mathews

    The Benefits of Agile

    Agile manufacturing is effective due to the ability to focus on the satisfaction of customers. It can enhance an organization’s ability to change. The expectations and wishes of consumers can evolve quickly in today’s globalized world. Agile manufacturing is able to adjust to the trends that can quickly change in the marketplace. A traditional manufacturing approach cannot successfully do this in a quick manner. The length of trends is unpredictable. A new trend could appear in the time that it takes the traditional manufacturing process to shift to the previous trend it attempted to keep up with. The design of a modular product design will guarantee that the product is able to be tweaked and altered so that the final product will meet customer requirements without disrupting the manufacturing process as a whole. This ability will naturally improve customer satisfaction and keep them from other organizations that will fill their new requirements.

    The Disadvantages of Agile 

    Although we focus on the positives and benefits of agile manufacturing, there are some drawbacks to consider. If there is a large spike in demand to a new and popular product, it may be difficult to quickly respond since large inventory amounts are not included in this manufacturing system. For instance, the demand of a popular product in high demand could also experience a drastic drop. The result could leave an organization with unsold products. An organization could suffer in terms of financial cost and customer service. Since one of the main keys of agile manufacturing is knowledge culture, educating employees will be a significantly higher cost than it would be using a traditional manufacturing model. Your workforce will have to be highly skilled. New technology may need to be invested in when using a new modular product design. This can be difficult and of high cost. The increase in production downtime as well as maintenance, can be more complicated with the complexity of new technologies that may need to be invested in. The key to overcome these potential disadvantages is to have intensive management and planning required for the process to be smooth. This can be a difficult goal to achieve but it is possible with extensive and thorough research along with accurate planning that takes into consideration all the potential obstacles.

    For a more detailed analysis of the pros and cons of this manufacturing technique, check out Agile Manufacturing by Carter Mathews.

    Draw Out A Long-Term Plan With Agile Manufacturing by Carter Mathews

    In the previous post, we’d discussed the importance of Researching to understand if agile manufacturing would be suitable for your current business model, Appointing a Task Force to accomplish these goals and Examining the Relations of the Current Supply Base.

    At this point, your long-term plan for agile manufacturing should be established. The process of implementation will take time. Getting the manufacturing up to full speed will be a huge task. When you draw up the long-term plan with the team, it should include:

    • Benchmarks- Define what will be the signs of success in your business. Decide how the objectives can be measured.
    • Milestones- Decide when key objectives should be accomplished.
    • Contingencies- Create a backup plan for if/when things don’t go according to plan. Define how you can correct mistakes or change direction.

    By preparing for the eventual obstacles and issues that are bound to occur sometimes, you can ensure as much possible stability in unstable times. Outline the possible issues and obstacles that may occur beforehand. Create a plan for overcoming any unexpected situations.

    Never be afraid to “start-over.” Review what you’ve learned and re-examine your created action plans to ensure they still suit your business, as business needs constantly change. For a more detailed break-down, see how Carter Mathews approached the situation in Agile Manufacturing.

    Examine the Relations of the Current Suppliers by Carter Mathews

    In the previous post, we’d discussed the importance of Researching to understand if agile manufacturing would be suitable for your current business model and Appointing a Task Force to accomplish these goals.

    The key to agile manufacturing can sometimes be the partnerships that the organizations have. This is the reason why it is important to observe the partnerships that exist and to examine the possible options that you could hold in those relations. You should do this before the new approach is implemented. This is important for two reasons:

    • It will ensure that the stable partnerships will be strengthened in order to enhance agile manufacturing.
    • It enables the partnerships that don’t work for your benefit to be located so that those ties may be cut off. This will benefit the organization by eliminating unnecessary costs.

    It is important to evaluate the partnerships with your existing supplier in order to categorize your relationships into the two groups shown above. Agile manufacturing can be benefited by the relationships you can take advantage of. When you eliminate the ones that do not strengthen the capabilities of your organization, money but more importantly time will be regained. Be mindful of the partnerships with your suppliers you keep; especially those associated with your speed and responsiveness.

    In the following blog post, we’ll review the importance of Drawing Out a Long-Term Plan.

    Appoint A Task Force Agile Manufacturing by Carter Mathews

    In the previous post, we’d discussed the importance of Researching to understand if agile manufacturing would be suitable for your current business model.

    It will take time in order to accurately create an agile manufacturing plan. It is important that you make clearly defined selections of the individuals that are in charge. This will smooth out the process and also ensure accountability. Your task force will be in charge of creating this plan. In order to allow a group of individuals to complete this plan, job responsibilities within the organization can be shifted in order to allow this to be possible. Anyone with any previous knowledge of agile manufacturing will be greatly beneficial. The group should be supported and provided with resources that are necessary in order for your team to be swift and successful. A board member should be a part of this team. The future of the business will be changed and shaped through this strategic shift. Regular updates should be provided by the task force during this process. The group should be provided with objectives that are clearly set in order for them to thoroughly understand what is to be achieved through implementation. A timetable for the process should be implemented.

    An important role that is played by the task force is the knowledge culture. By narrowing down the amount of individuals that are working on research, more focus can be applied to the ways of implementation. Every individual in the organization should be involved in the process whether they are on your narrowed elite team or not. The State of Agile Survey reported that one of the biggest barriers experienced in the adoption of agile manufacturing in organizations is the “general resistance to change”. It is the tendency to resist the change within an organization. By getting every individual involved, you can prepare the whole organization for the change. Whether this means putting them on your elite team, or simply getting them familiarized with the process and necessities for change, it will help everyone get on board.

    In the following blog post, we’ll review the importance of Examining the Relations of the Current Suppliers and Drawing Out a Long-Term Plan.

    Agile Manufacturing Research by Carter Mathews

    We’ve discussed the difference between lean and agile, and even “leagile,” in What is Agile Manufacturing. Now we’ll show you how to put your plan into effect in this 4-part series.
    Research

    The first important step is to make sure that you have a solid and thorough understanding of what is accompanied with agile manufacturing. The three main points to include are:

    • The costs involved with agile manufacturing
    • The processes that are required with agile manufacturing
    • The tasks involved in the process that are concrete

    Depending on the type of business industry your organization is a part of, the cost to implement the manufacturing process can greatly vary. A good way to get a better sense of understanding is to investigate and examine other businesses. By finding organizations that are similar to yours in terms of product or are currently using agile manufacturing, you can accurately observe the system and improvements made by their example.

    Regarding your current business, make a list of pros and cons. Consider the benefits to be obtained along with the downsides that may occur when transforming the model of your current manufacturing system into the agile type. Advantages and disadvantages of agile manufacturing are further discussed in Benefits and Disadvantages of Agile Manufacturing.

    Consider that certain products are more compatible and sustainable with agile manufacturing compared to other types. Examine the type of products your business is currently manufacturing and ask yourself these questions:

    • Would the added touch of personalization be a benefit that would better this product?
    • Is there the potential for a market that would create the product as a modular product?
    • Is there a product that could be developed through the agile manufacturing model?
    • What type of advantages that are competitive could your business provide to a compatible product?

    In the following blog posts, we’ll review the importance of Appointing a Task Force, Examining the Relations of the Current Suppliers and Drawing Out a Long-Term Plan.

    Trade Tariffs and You

    Imports taxed from Mexico and China could see double-digit tariffs

    This all comes from the concerns about how our manufacturing of goods here in this country has diminished over the last few decades. Manufacturing companies have moved their businesses to cheaper countries in order to make more profit. President Trump has said enough is enough. I agree!
    We have all been used to dirt cheap products from these countries with no thought to what the cost to our own nation would be. We have lost much of our once great power of being a nation that makes everything it needs. We are now a consumer nation, we buy everything we need from other countries. Much to their delight.

    President Trump has said that something has to change with our trade deals with these countries, “But it has to be something because our country and our trade and our deals and most importantly our jobs are going to hell.”

    How Do Tariffs on Goods Actually Work

    “The idea behind imposing tariffs is to make American companies more competitive with their foreign counterparts. As those companies prosper, the thinking goes, they can hire more workers and pay their employees better. Those workers, in turn, would have more money to spend, and that helps spread those dollars around the economy more broadly.” Louis Jacobsen of Political Fact

    These countries have been allowed to have trade deficits with the US with no complaints from us for years. Now President Trump is standing up for our great nation and letting them know that we are not going to idly stand by and take it anymore. Just the threat of tariffs should be enough to make these countries more negotiable to closing the gap before tariffs are imposed.

    There is always the possibility that these nations will not play nice and tariffs will be imposed. We as consumers will see this as a price increase of the goods we purchase. But, if we stop purchasing these goods from other countries (with higher prices now due to tariffs), we can now manufacture these items here and sell them here at possibly a reduced price while adding jobs to our economy.

    These are all unforeseen consequences of tariffs. Supply chains will also be disrupted if these tariffs take place because even just supplies for items manufactured here, that would be taxed, would cause issues across companies supply chain. Could this cause a trade war? Yes, quite possibly. But something needs to be done and soon.

    What do you think of this? Should tariffs be imposed?

    What Is The Condor?

    The Antonov An-124, better known by its NATO reporting name of the “Condor,‘ has a primary role as a transportation aircraft and was manufactured by Russian aircraft manufacturer Aviastar-SP. The Condor’s greatest asset is its size. It was the largest airplane in production until the Antonov An-225 was built and it flew for the first time in 1982 for testing but was introduced to the public in 1986.

    The Antonov An-124 is remotely similar to the American Lockheed C-5 Galaxy, but has a significantly larger payload capability, being almost 25% larger. The Antonov An-124’s have been utilized in the transporting of locomotives, yachts, aircraft fuselages, and a variety of other oversized cargoes. The Antonov An-124 is able to “kneel” to allow easier front loading. Up to 150 tons of cargo can be carried in a military variant Antonov An-124 in addition to the safe transit up to 88 passengers in an upper deck behind the wing center section. The Antonov is unmatched in its ability to transport large cargo to distant locations.

    The original Antonov An-124 was built with a projected service life of approximately 7,500 flight hours with the possibility for extension. However, the majority of all military airframes have flown more than 15,000 flight hours.

    But all of the Antonov An-124 built after 2000 took on the modified name of Antonov An-124-100. Lockheed Martin contracts the Antonov An-124-100 to transport the Atlas V launch vehicles. Though two flights are required to transfer each launch vehicle, one for the Atlas V main booster stage and another for the Centaur upper stage, no other aircraft could take on such a massive payload. Space Systems Loral contracts the Antonov An-124-100 to transport satellites to the Arianespace spaceport. The modification seen in the An-124-100’s is an improved service life of 24,000 across the board. This modification came about in response to complaints by commercial users that certain airframes were serviceable for longer life cycles than others. With the An-124, those built before 2000, are being upgraded to this standard of the An-124-100 predecessor. Additional researching is being performed to extend its service life to 40,000 flight hours.

    Bell Helicopter Uses Six Sigma

    Textron is one of the world’s best-known multi-industry companies. Bell Helicopter is a division of Textron. Bell Helicopter is an American helicopter and tiltrotor manufacturer.  Bell Helicopter applies Textron Six Sigma processes and tools to ensure prompt, if not ahead-of-schedule deliveries. Bell Helicopter focus is on-time delivery but this is not to say that on-time delivery is the only measurement. Bell Helicopter products must also be of high quality, this is not an advantage this is a necessity. It is understandable why any aeronautical manufacturer must have a quality assurance division to assure that all of their products are being manufactured and delivered to be as safe as possible. So for any manufacturer, not just the Bell Helicopter company to adopt a quality improvement program such as Six Sigma, then the company must “remind” itself what they are in the business of. This being to produce safe products, to be more productive is a benefit of Six Sigma, but to produce the safest product shall still and always be the main idea of the manufacturer.

    In 2008, Bell Helicopter delivered ninth OH-58D aircraft to be modified under the current Kiowa Warrior Safety Enhancement Program contract ahead of schedule. The aircraft was designed and manufactured out of the need for deployment to Iraq and Afghanistan, locations that are climatically extreme and more susceptible to corrosion from sand. So how did Bell Helicopter cope with the demands of its business?

    Bell Helicopter was about to deliver their product two months in advance of the scheduled completion date because of its adaptation of the Textron Six Sigma process. Textron Six Sigma harps on the philosophy of customers coming first. With that said, every product will be customized to fit the customer’s every need. Textron Six Sigma itself is a data-driven process designed to eliminate waste, reduce variation and drive growth. (www.sixsig.info) And that is exactly what it has done within the Bell Helicopter manufacturing company. Textron Six Sigma is a set of tools and techniques that not only the Bell Helicopter manufacturers follow but also the entire Textron Corporation. Textron Six Sigma is one quality improvement program as revamped the Bell Helicopter business and will lead it into the future of aviation manufacturing.

    Meet The ‘Not So Baby’ Beluga

    The Beluga aircraft actually looks like a Beluga Whale due to the fact that it was modified to carry large cargo. It is similar to the Antonov An124-100.

    “The Beluga is capable of carrying loads of up to 47 tons over a distance of 900 nautical miles. Lighter loads can be transported over much longer distances.” This shows that the Airbus Transport International 300-600ST Beluga class aircraft are capable of transporting large cargo amounts for long distances.

    The Airbus Transport International corporation specializes in carrying large and heavy payloads for its subsidiary Airbus, for government entities and the commercial aircraft industry. The Beluga takes on contracts to transport large fuselage, launch vehicles, satellites, and large aircraft parts.”The Beluga has regularly transported the fuselage sections of an A340, the wings of the Airbus A340, or two winglets of the A320.”

    This aircraft, at one point, carried a record-breaking chemical tank and its supports weighing in at 45 tons. It has also carried an aluminum fuel tank that was 9m in length for the NASA X-33 Venture Star Spacecraft.

    5 new Beluga aircraft, which will be bigger than the existing aircraft, are in production and should be ready by 2020. This aircraft totally deserves all of the attention it receives.

    We would love to read your comments about this article and the Beluga aircraft.

    Difference Between Lean Manufacturing and Agile Manufacturing

    The key similarity is that both lean and agile manufacturing are intended to lower costs while making improvements through all processes. However, there are still some differences in both of the methodologies.

    Being able to minimize and reduce the costs that are involved with manufacturing is the main goal of lean manufacturing. It focusses on what is necessary. Just how an individual that is considered lean most likely obtains that body figure by not eating more than what is necessary for their body. Lean manufacturing has a demand-based and aims to eliminate the storage of inventory. It improves the effective uses of utilities, facilities, and materials. This type of manufacturing puts emphasis on improvement and the measure of performance.

    Agile manufacturing is best compared when thinking of an individual that is fit. An individual can be both lean and fit at the same time. Taking that same analogy, an organization can both be lean and agile. However, agile does not immediately mean that an organization is also lean. It has been mentioned that agile manufacturing is considered to stem from the processes of lean manufacturing. This is because these practices of lean manufacturing allow the practices and approaches of agile manufacturing to be successfully completed. The similarities to both types of manufacturing are listed below:

    • The support of sustainability and revenue creation
    • The improvement of competitiveness

    When both types of manufacturing are combined, it’s often referred to as leagile manufacturing. By using the listed types of approaches, leagile manufacturing can be successfully applied.

    • Make-to-stock manufacturing is an approach of lean that can be used for manufacturing products that are in high demand. Make-to-order will allow the high demand products to be made as they are order as an approach of agile manufacturing.
    • By using the creation of a flexible production capacity, this allows an organization to respond to the unexpected surges of demand of customer requirements and orders.
    • The implementation of postponement strategies allows a product to be manufactured in advance. This then allows any variation and other changes to be added to the product in the process of the final assembly for the finished product.

    When you are able to understand how both manufacturing processes and approaches are used in order to benefit the organization, higher levels of success will be achieved when you use them to the specific needs your consumers require. Lean and agile manufacturing both have many benefits to reap when you commit to using one, the other, or both.

    The Benefits and Disadvantages of Agile Manufacturing  by Carter Mathews

    The Benefits of Agile

    Agile manufacturing is effective due to the ability to focus on the satisfaction of customers. It can enhance an organization’s ability to change. The expectations and wishes of consumers can evolve quickly in today’s globalized world. Agile manufacturing is able to adjust to the trends that can quickly change in the marketplace. A traditional manufacturing approach cannot successfully do this in a quick manner. The length of trends is unpredictable. A new trend could appear in the time that it takes the traditional manufacturing process to shift to the previous trend it attempted to keep up with. The design of a modular product design will guarantee that the product is able to be tweaked and altered so that the final product will meet customer requirements without disrupting the manufacturing process as a whole. This ability will naturally improve customer satisfaction and keep them from other organizations that will fill their new requirements.

    The Disadvantages of Agile 

    Although we focus on the positives and benefits of agile manufacturing, there are some drawbacks to consider. If there is a large spike in demand to a new and popular product, it may be difficult to quickly respond since large inventory amounts are not included in this manufacturing system. For instance, the demand of a popular product in high demand could also experience a drastic drop. The result could leave an organization with unsold products. An organization could suffer in terms of financial cost and customer service. Since one of the main keys of agile manufacturing is knowledge culture, educating employees will be a significantly higher cost than it would be using a traditional manufacturing model. Your workforce will have to be highly skilled. New technology may need to be invested in when using a new modular product design. This can be difficult and of high cost. The increase in production downtime as well as maintenance, can be more complicated with the complexity of new technologies that may need to be invested in. The key to overcome these potential disadvantages is to have intensive management and planning required for the process to be smooth. This can be a difficult goal to achieve but it is possible with extensive and thorough research along with accurate planning that takes into consideration all the potential obstacles.

    For a more detailed analysis of the pros and cons of this manufacturing technique, check out Agile Manufacturing by Carter Mathews.

    Draw Out A Long-Term Plan With Agile Manufacturing by Carter Mathews

    In the previous post, we’d discussed the importance of Researching to understand if agile manufacturing would be suitable for your current business model, Appointing a Task Force to accomplish these goals and Examining the Relations of the Current Supply Base.

    At this point, your long-term plan for agile manufacturing should be established. The process of implementation will take time. Getting the manufacturing up to full speed will be a huge task. When you draw up the long-term plan with the team, it should include:

    • Benchmarks- Define what will be the signs of success in your business. Decide how the objectives can be measured.
    • Milestones- Decide when key objectives should be accomplished.
    • Contingencies- Create a backup plan for if/when things don’t go according to plan. Define how you can correct mistakes or change direction.

    By preparing for the eventual obstacles and issues that are bound to occur sometimes, you can ensure as much possible stability in unstable times. Outline the possible issues and obstacles that may occur beforehand. Create a plan for overcoming any unexpected situations.

    Never be afraid to “start-over.” Review what you’ve learned and re-examine your created action plans to ensure they still suit your business, as business needs constantly change. For a more detailed break-down, see how Carter Mathews approached the situation in Agile Manufacturing.

    Examine the Relations of the Current Suppliers by Carter Mathews

    In the previous post, we’d discussed the importance of Researching to understand if agile manufacturing would be suitable for your current business model and Appointing a Task Force to accomplish these goals.

    The key to agile manufacturing can sometimes be the partnerships that the organizations have. This is the reason why it is important to observe the partnerships that exist and to examine the possible options that you could hold in those relations. You should do this before the new approach is implemented. This is important for two reasons:

    • It will ensure that the stable partnerships will be strengthened in order to enhance agile manufacturing.
    • It enables the partnerships that don’t work for your benefit to be located so that those ties may be cut off. This will benefit the organization by eliminating unnecessary costs.

    It is important to evaluate the partnerships with your existing supplier in order to categorize your relationships into the two groups shown above. Agile manufacturing can be benefited by the relationships you can take advantage of. When you eliminate the ones that do not strengthen the capabilities of your organization, money but more importantly time will be regained. Be mindful of the partnerships with your suppliers you keep; especially those associated with your speed and responsiveness.

    In the following blog post, we’ll review the importance of Drawing Out a Long-Term Plan.

    Appoint A Task Force Agile Manufacturing by Carter Mathews

    In the previous post, we’d discussed the importance of Researching to understand if agile manufacturing would be suitable for your current business model.

    It will take time in order to accurately create an agile manufacturing plan. It is important that you make clearly defined selections of the individuals that are in charge. This will smooth out the process and also ensure accountability. Your task force will be in charge of creating this plan. In order to allow a group of individuals to complete this plan, job responsibilities within the organization can be shifted in order to allow this to be possible. Anyone with any previous knowledge of agile manufacturing will be greatly beneficial. The group should be supported and provided with resources that are necessary in order for your team to be swift and successful. A board member should be a part of this team. The future of the business will be changed and shaped through this strategic shift. Regular updates should be provided by the task force during this process. The group should be provided with objectives that are clearly set in order for them to thoroughly understand what is to be achieved through implementation. A timetable for the process should be implemented.

    An important role that is played by the task force is the knowledge culture. By narrowing down the amount of individuals that are working on research, more focus can be applied to the ways of implementation. Every individual in the organization should be involved in the process whether they are on your narrowed elite team or not. The State of Agile Survey reported that one of the biggest barriers experienced in the adoption of agile manufacturing in organizations is the “general resistance to change”. It is the tendency to resist the change within an organization. By getting every individual involved, you can prepare the whole organization for the change. Whether this means putting them on your elite team, or simply getting them familiarized with the process and necessities for change, it will help everyone get on board.

    In the following blog post, we’ll review the importance of Examining the Relations of the Current Suppliers and Drawing Out a Long-Term Plan.

    Agile Manufacturing Research by Carter Mathews

    We’ve discussed the difference between lean and agile, and even “leagile,” in What is Agile Manufacturing. Now we’ll show you how to put your plan into effect in this 4-part series.
    Research

    The first important step is to make sure that you have a solid and thorough understanding of what is accompanied with agile manufacturing. The three main points to include are:

    • The costs involved with agile manufacturing
    • The processes that are required with agile manufacturing
    • The tasks involved in the process that are concrete

    Depending on the type of business industry your organization is a part of, the cost to implement the manufacturing process can greatly vary. A good way to get a better sense of understanding is to investigate and examine other businesses. By finding organizations that are similar to yours in terms of product or are currently using agile manufacturing, you can accurately observe the system and improvements made by their example.

    Regarding your current business, make a list of pros and cons. Consider the benefits to be obtained along with the downsides that may occur when transforming the model of your current manufacturing system into the agile type. Advantages and disadvantages of agile manufacturing are further discussed in Benefits and Disadvantages of Agile Manufacturing.

    Consider that certain products are more compatible and sustainable with agile manufacturing compared to other types. Examine the type of products your business is currently manufacturing and ask yourself these questions:

    • Would the added touch of personalization be a benefit that would better this product?
    • Is there the potential for a market that would create the product as a modular product?
    • Is there a product that could be developed through the agile manufacturing model?
    • What type of advantages that are competitive could your business provide to a compatible product?

    In the following blog posts, we’ll review the importance of Appointing a Task Force, Examining the Relations of the Current Suppliers and Drawing Out a Long-Term Plan.

    Trade Tariffs and You

    Imports taxed from Mexico and China could see double-digit tariffs

    This all comes from the concerns about how our manufacturing of goods here in this country has diminished over the last few decades. Manufacturing companies have moved their businesses to cheaper countries in order to make more profit. President Trump has said enough is enough. I agree!
    We have all been used to dirt cheap products from these countries with no thought to what the cost to our own nation would be. We have lost much of our once great power of being a nation that makes everything it needs. We are now a consumer nation, we buy everything we need from other countries. Much to their delight.

    President Trump has said that something has to change with our trade deals with these countries, “But it has to be something because our country and our trade and our deals and most importantly our jobs are going to hell.”

    How Do Tariffs on Goods Actually Work

    “The idea behind imposing tariffs is to make American companies more competitive with their foreign counterparts. As those companies prosper, the thinking goes, they can hire more workers and pay their employees better. Those workers, in turn, would have more money to spend, and that helps spread those dollars around the economy more broadly.” Louis Jacobsen of Political Fact

    These countries have been allowed to have trade deficits with the US with no complaints from us for years. Now President Trump is standing up for our great nation and letting them know that we are not going to idly stand by and take it anymore. Just the threat of tariffs should be enough to make these countries more negotiable to closing the gap before tariffs are imposed.

    There is always the possibility that these nations will not play nice and tariffs will be imposed. We as consumers will see this as a price increase of the goods we purchase. But, if we stop purchasing these goods from other countries (with higher prices now due to tariffs), we can now manufacture these items here and sell them here at possibly a reduced price while adding jobs to our economy.

    These are all unforeseen consequences of tariffs. Supply chains will also be disrupted if these tariffs take place because even just supplies for items manufactured here, that would be taxed, would cause issues across companies supply chain. Could this cause a trade war? Yes, quite possibly. But something needs to be done and soon.

    What do you think of this? Should tariffs be imposed?

    What Is The Condor?

    The Antonov An-124, better known by its NATO reporting name of the “Condor,‘ has a primary role as a transportation aircraft and was manufactured by Russian aircraft manufacturer Aviastar-SP. The Condor’s greatest asset is its size. It was the largest airplane in production until the Antonov An-225 was built and it flew for the first time in 1982 for testing but was introduced to the public in 1986.

    The Antonov An-124 is remotely similar to the American Lockheed C-5 Galaxy, but has a significantly larger payload capability, being almost 25% larger. The Antonov An-124’s have been utilized in the transporting of locomotives, yachts, aircraft fuselages, and a variety of other oversized cargoes. The Antonov An-124 is able to “kneel” to allow easier front loading. Up to 150 tons of cargo can be carried in a military variant Antonov An-124 in addition to the safe transit up to 88 passengers in an upper deck behind the wing center section. The Antonov is unmatched in its ability to transport large cargo to distant locations.

    The original Antonov An-124 was built with a projected service life of approximately 7,500 flight hours with the possibility for extension. However, the majority of all military airframes have flown more than 15,000 flight hours.

    But all of the Antonov An-124 built after 2000 took on the modified name of Antonov An-124-100. Lockheed Martin contracts the Antonov An-124-100 to transport the Atlas V launch vehicles. Though two flights are required to transfer each launch vehicle, one for the Atlas V main booster stage and another for the Centaur upper stage, no other aircraft could take on such a massive payload. Space Systems Loral contracts the Antonov An-124-100 to transport satellites to the Arianespace spaceport. The modification seen in the An-124-100’s is an improved service life of 24,000 across the board. This modification came about in response to complaints by commercial users that certain airframes were serviceable for longer life cycles than others. With the An-124, those built before 2000, are being upgraded to this standard of the An-124-100 predecessor. Additional researching is being performed to extend its service life to 40,000 flight hours.

    Bell Helicopter Uses Six Sigma

    Textron is one of the world’s best-known multi-industry companies. Bell Helicopter is a division of Textron. Bell Helicopter is an American helicopter and tiltrotor manufacturer.  Bell Helicopter applies Textron Six Sigma processes and tools to ensure prompt, if not ahead-of-schedule deliveries. Bell Helicopter focus is on-time delivery but this is not to say that on-time delivery is the only measurement. Bell Helicopter products must also be of high quality, this is not an advantage this is a necessity. It is understandable why any aeronautical manufacturer must have a quality assurance division to assure that all of their products are being manufactured and delivered to be as safe as possible. So for any manufacturer, not just the Bell Helicopter company to adopt a quality improvement program such as Six Sigma, then the company must “remind” itself what they are in the business of. This being to produce safe products, to be more productive is a benefit of Six Sigma, but to produce the safest product shall still and always be the main idea of the manufacturer.

    In 2008, Bell Helicopter delivered ninth OH-58D aircraft to be modified under the current Kiowa Warrior Safety Enhancement Program contract ahead of schedule. The aircraft was designed and manufactured out of the need for deployment to Iraq and Afghanistan, locations that are climatically extreme and more susceptible to corrosion from sand. So how did Bell Helicopter cope with the demands of its business?

    Bell Helicopter was about to deliver their product two months in advance of the scheduled completion date because of its adaptation of the Textron Six Sigma process. Textron Six Sigma harps on the philosophy of customers coming first. With that said, every product will be customized to fit the customer’s every need. Textron Six Sigma itself is a data-driven process designed to eliminate waste, reduce variation and drive growth. (www.sixsig.info) And that is exactly what it has done within the Bell Helicopter manufacturing company. Textron Six Sigma is a set of tools and techniques that not only the Bell Helicopter manufacturers follow but also the entire Textron Corporation. Textron Six Sigma is one quality improvement program as revamped the Bell Helicopter business and will lead it into the future of aviation manufacturing.

    Meet The ‘Not So Baby’ Beluga

    The Beluga aircraft actually looks like a Beluga Whale due to the fact that it was modified to carry large cargo. It is similar to the Antonov An124-100.

    “The Beluga is capable of carrying loads of up to 47 tons over a distance of 900 nautical miles. Lighter loads can be transported over much longer distances.” This shows that the Airbus Transport International 300-600ST Beluga class aircraft are capable of transporting large cargo amounts for long distances.

    The Airbus Transport International corporation specializes in carrying large and heavy payloads for its subsidiary Airbus, for government entities and the commercial aircraft industry. The Beluga takes on contracts to transport large fuselage, launch vehicles, satellites, and large aircraft parts.”The Beluga has regularly transported the fuselage sections of an A340, the wings of the Airbus A340, or two winglets of the A320.”

    This aircraft, at one point, carried a record-breaking chemical tank and its supports weighing in at 45 tons. It has also carried an aluminum fuel tank that was 9m in length for the NASA X-33 Venture Star Spacecraft.

    5 new Beluga aircraft, which will be bigger than the existing aircraft, are in production and should be ready by 2020. This aircraft totally deserves all of the attention it receives.

    We would love to read your comments about this article and the Beluga aircraft.

    Difference Between Lean Manufacturing and Agile Manufacturing

    The key similarity is that both lean and agile manufacturing are intended to lower costs while making improvements through all processes. However, there are still some differences in both of the methodologies.

    Being able to minimize and reduce the costs that are involved with manufacturing is the main goal of lean manufacturing. It focusses on what is necessary. Just how an individual that is considered lean most likely obtains that body figure by not eating more than what is necessary for their body. Lean manufacturing has a demand-based and aims to eliminate the storage of inventory. It improves the effective uses of utilities, facilities, and materials. This type of manufacturing puts emphasis on improvement and the measure of performance.

    Agile manufacturing is best compared when thinking of an individual that is fit. An individual can be both lean and fit at the same time. Taking that same analogy, an organization can both be lean and agile. However, agile does not immediately mean that an organization is also lean. It has been mentioned that agile manufacturing is considered to stem from the processes of lean manufacturing. This is because these practices of lean manufacturing allow the practices and approaches of agile manufacturing to be successfully completed. The similarities to both types of manufacturing are listed below:

    • The support of sustainability and revenue creation
    • The improvement of competitiveness

    When both types of manufacturing are combined, it’s often referred to as leagile manufacturing. By using the listed types of approaches, leagile manufacturing can be successfully applied.

    • Make-to-stock manufacturing is an approach of lean that can be used for manufacturing products that are in high demand. Make-to-order will allow the high demand products to be made as they are order as an approach of agile manufacturing.
    • By using the creation of a flexible production capacity, this allows an organization to respond to the unexpected surges of demand of customer requirements and orders.
    • The implementation of postponement strategies allows a product to be manufactured in advance. This then allows any variation and other changes to be added to the product in the process of the final assembly for the finished product.

    When you are able to understand how both manufacturing processes and approaches are used in order to benefit the organization, higher levels of success will be achieved when you use them to the specific needs your consumers require. Lean and agile manufacturing both have many benefits to reap when you commit to using one, the other, or both.