Sunday, June 19, 2011

Lean Video - Yes, you can built airplanes on an assembly line.

We've all seen cars being assembled on a long, moving assembly line, but I always thought airplanes were still being built using craft production methods. The slow demand of the airline industry and the huge expense of a single aircraft led me to believe they still made these things one at a time.

Well, I was wrong. I found this video showing Boeing 737s being assembled on a moving assembly line.

I couldn't embed the video here on my blog, so you'll have to hop on over to youtube to check it out, but it's worth watching, just to see how they do it, the lean way.

Some key things that caught my eye:

  1. The line moves at 2" per minute. Quite slow, but it moves continuously.
  2. Times of the day are marked on the floor, so you can easily see if you are ahead or behind. 
  3. Parts are kitted in racks and replenished between shifts. 
  4. They even built a moving chair with flow rack material for one of the feeder lines. At 3:25 you can see the operator working in a seated position on some airplane seats. 
Apparently, the 787 Dreamliner is built using even more Lean methods, but I haven't found any videos for that yet. 

An excellent video showing Lean implemented at Boeing. I've added it to my growing list of Lean videos. 


  1. Hi...Your post really got me thinking man..... an intelligent piece ,I must say.

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