Ontic Chatsworth’s Kaizen 310-4 team were worthy winners of BBA Aviation’s VMV Award for Innovation for their innovative approach to delivering a major customer opportunity.

A Kaizen event is an intense period of Continuous Improvement (CI) activity involving a cross-functional team working together to improve every aspect of a process or processes.

The team came together for a two-week event in August 2015 to increase production of the Boeing 737 310-4 cockpit memory device. The 310-4 line was chosen because the 737 is a production aircraft with a requirement from Boeing of several hundred per month. Boeing was also planning to release a modification to 737s in the field which would create immediate significant demand for the product and Ontic had to prove its capability to meet demand before the service letter could be issued.

Before the Kaizen event, Ontic was shipping c150 parts per month, with two 310-4 trained technicians. In September 2015 output was 200; in October 400 and in November 700, at which point Boeing confirmed it was confident and issued the modification. Output in December was 1500 units to meet a large order from the field, enabling Ontic to capture significant revenue in 2015.

In December, four technicians were working on the 310-4 having been cross-trained as part of the Kaizen process. Flexible and cross-trained technicians are an important aspect of Ontic’s business model, enabling the company to reliably accommodate changes in demand.

“Ontic has long been committed to CI and this Kaizen event underlines what a positive impact CI can have for everyone in the team and for the business.

Everyone at every level is an equal participant. The Kaizen process engages the whole team in setting goals and creating the map to get there. We call it checking your title at the door – there is only one purpose and that is to be better. Everyone is also equally responsible for our success which is a great feeling. Moreover, we showed our customer that we are the best in the industry by meeting and exceeding their expectations; the company is happy as we grew revenue and we produced a high-quality product which is great for Ontic’s reputation.

We really did a fantastic job. I’m very proud of the team’s dedication to the event and their ability to smash all of the targets that were set.”

Javier Hernandez, Director Operations, Ontic Chatsworth