Lean Operations at Alaska Airlines
Alaska Airlines operates in a mud of rugged beauty, crystal clear lakes, spectacular glaciers. majmic mountains. and bright blue ski.. But equally awesome is its operating performance. Alaska Airlines consistently provides the industry's number one orerall ranking and best on-time performance. A key ingredient of this excellent performance is Alaska Airlin.' Lean initiative.
With m aggressive implementation of Lean. Ben Minicucc,. Executive VP for Operations. is finding ovewinereasing levels of performance. fin pushes this initiative throughout the company with: lila focus on continuo. improvement, (2) metrics that measure performance against targets, and (5) making perfor-Mance relevant to Al.lia Airlines' empowered employees.
With leadership training that includes a strong focus on participative manag.nent. Minicucci has created a seven-person Lean Depaytmeal. The department provides extensive train• mg in Lean via one-week courses, participative workshops, and two-week classes Mat train employees to become a Si, Sigma Green Belt. Some employenn even pursue the next step, Black Bell certification.
A huge part ninny airlines operations is fuel cost. but capital °lineation and much of the remaining cost N dependent upon ground equipment and crews that handle aircraft turnaround and Maintenance. in-flight services, and customer service.
As John Ladner. Director of Seattle Airport Operations, has observed. Lean eliminates waste, exposes non-standard work, and is forcing a focus on variations in documented best practices and work time.
" Lean is now pan of the Alaska Airlines “ornorate culture with 51,00 60 ongoing projects. Kailen events leaned "Accelerated Improvement Workshops" at Alaska Airlines). Ganba Walks (called -waste walks" by Alaska Airlines). and SS are row, pan of every-day coot ena lion al Alaska Airlin.. Lean projects have include.
• Applying 5S to identify aircraft ground equipment and its location on the tarmac.
• Improving preparation for and synchronization of the ardval and departure sequences: time to open Mt front door after arrival has,. reduced from S.S to I min.
• Redefining the disconnect procedure for tow bars used to "push back- aircraft at departure time, planes now depart 2-2 minutes faster.
• Revising the deicing process, meaning I.s time for the plane to be on the tarmac.
• Improving pilot staffing, making Alaska's pilot productivity the highest in the industry. Every l'a. improvement in pro-ductivity leads to a S5 million savings on a recurring basis. Alaska Airlines bas achieved a 7% productivity improvement over the last five years.
Part 3 Managing Operation
Another current Lean project W passenger unloading and loading. Lean instinct.. Allison Fletcher calls this -the most unique project I haw worked on.. One exciting aspect of deplanting is Alaska's solartpowered ,witchback- staircase for unloading. passengers through the rear door Dec photo). Alaska is saying two minutes, or nearly 17% off precious unloading time with this new process. Alaska Airlines' Lean culture has made it a leader in the Industry.
- What are the key ingredients of Lean, as identified at Alaska Airlines?
- As an initial phase of a kaizen mem, discuss the many ways passengers can be loaded and unloaded from airplanes
- Document the research that is being done on the aircraft passenger-loading problem.
Key ingredients of Lean at Alaska Airline
Alaska Airlines is set to improve its operating as well as on-time performances and remain the industry’s number one overall in ranking.
To do so it has adopted leans methodology that entails:
1)Training its leaders in participative management.
This is commissioned to a department of seven individuals.
Ingredients of Lean at Alaska airline
The training will be inform of :
• Participative workshops targeting agents, maintenance, and pilots.
• Short course of one week
• Classes of 2-3 weeks long to allow its employees to be become six sigma Green Belt as well as Black Belt achievers.
2) Carrying out aggressive implementations that will ensure increased performance.
These will entail:
• Focusing on continuous improvement to generate predictable results.
• Making performance relevant to empowered employees of Alaska Airlines.
• Use of metrics to measure performance and plan for next movements among employees.
Passenger loading and unloading.
At Alaska Airlines, time is an essential commodity that can’t be wasted particularly in passenger loading and unloading. That’s way Kaizen methodology has been undertaken.
Ways that have made this fact stand include:
Putting up of :-
• 175 lifts
• 131 escalators
• A conveyor belt 18km of length.
These ensure quick loading and unloading of passengers and save time.
Passenger loading and unloading
• Particular aspects of keizen event are;
• Use of rear door to unload passengers in addition to the front door–this has saved time by two minutes as compared to previous unloading thanks to a solar-powered ramp.
• Window and aisle passengers first and last in the loading and unloading respectively. This avoids commotion and stampede among passengers.
Research on passenger-loading problem.
Most of the available researches on aircraft passenger-loading problems are oriented towards finding out 3 things:
• Effective flow of passengers
• Root causes to ineffective passenger flow
• Solutions to passenger-loading problems.
The research findings are:
• Passengers carry many luggage along with them to avoid luggage fee slowing down the process.
• Passengers take long finding their seats thus keeping others waiting.
Research on passenger-loading problem.
Outlined solutions by the research at hand is;
• Dual-door system
• The solution suggests having two doors at the back and the front.
The solution has been put into test by Alaska airlines at its home base Seattle and Mineta San Jose International Airport in San Jose.
The solution makes use of wheel-driven ramp that offers;
1.Two switch-back turns down to the ground.
3.An alternative to stairs for easy suitcase rolling
Finally so far the research solution is confined to Alsaka Airlines with a hope of it spreading to other Airports.