GKN Aerospace and


With the implementation of a web-based Operational Management System (OMS), GKN Aerospace has assembled a multi-lingual management system into one repository holding 18 strategic quality certificates. 

Simultaneously, the company has also increased customer satisfaction and saved millions in direct operating costs.

Company overview
GKN Aerospace develops and manufactures high technology engine components for aircraft, rockets, and gas turbines. 

The company also offers extensive aviation services to help its partners increase profitability and focus on core business activities. 

This includes leasing, logistics, asset management, inventory sales, distribution and redistribution, and overhaul and repair of aircraft engines. 

Its business philosophy is based on close cooperation with its aviation and aerospace partners. Priding itself on being “Specialized for Partnership,” GKN Aerospace carries out its corporate vision daily. It is a “Best Partner” for each of its partners.

The Challenge
When QualiWare approached GKN Aerospace, they decided to confront a company-wide challenge. The elimination of work process variability across the enterprise. 

Bertil Andersson, Project Leader and Manager for Operational Management Systems & Process Management, says: 

“We faced variations between the way our employees performed work and how work was described in our procedural manuals. 

This is important because both the commercial airline and aerospace industries place demands on us based on safety concerns. 

Multiple, sometimes competing, procedural documents only exacerbated the problem of determining which procedure would be most efficient and correct. 

In some cases, the described procedures did not match the actual workflow.” 

Andersson believes that waste associated with poor management systems and supporting detailed documentation could, in general, account for as much as 10 to 30% of a company’s turnover.

The Solution
As part of its solution, GKN Aerospace decided to improve its work processes by implementing an Operational Management System (OMS). 

The OMS was conceived of as a Quality Management solution focusing on customer satisfaction and regulatory requirements. GKN Aerospace’s other primary concerns were: 

Ease of use, adaptability, accessibility, the ability to define roles within the processes, establishment, and use of best practices, and visual, graphic, and narrative capabilities to describe processes and procedures.

GKN Aerospace’s goal was to achieve an 80% text reduction in the information systems running within the company. 

Andersson’s OMS team began the journey by mapping their processes at a level that described activities as they take place on the production floor. 

These operational views were then tied to customer requirements, governing regulations, roles, organizational details, necessary skills, necessary forms, and even system-based transactions. 

Process teams implemented changes in the business in phases, company by company. 

GKN Aero capitalized on the shared wisdom of its employees, who understood the work process. 

These people (i.e., ‘the experts’) were best able to confirm that the process was being described accurately and in an easy, enjoyable-to-use, and visually based OMS. 

The OMS project established standards for the OMS to ensure structure, definitions, concepts, models, layouts, and management controls, so that consistency and alignment were assured between the information documented in the OMS and actual practices.

GKN Aerospace desired an OMS that all employees would accept and use, graphical in nature, to improve overall process documentation. 

The company engaged every employee in the OMS, believing engagement would speed up the learning curve and deliver necessary information while also enabling new employees in their work. 

The company wanted to cut costs significantly and, perhaps most importantly, ensure that every customer would be a satisfied customer.

To assist it in implementing these goals, GKN Aerospace chose the QualiWare Lifecycle Manager (QLM) solution for the development and continual improvement of its management system. 

QLM, software developed by QualiWare, became the single source for GKN Aerospace’s OMS change management. 

QLM was first installed and implemented as part of a process-oriented knowledge management system in 2001. 

It is still in use today, providing support and capability for effective and efficient audit, evaluation, and change management of the OMS and publishing the OMS on the company intranet.

The results
GKN Aerospace’s OMS, developed and managed within the QualiWare Lifecycle Manager, has delivered very concrete results:

  • A 1.5 million USD reduction per year in direct operating costs of the management system.
  • Reduction in training lead time when introducing an employee to a new work area.
  • A 50 % reduction in people required to manage process and procedure documentation.
  • There was an 85% reduction in the written text compared to the previous management system.
  • One Operational Management System is maintained in one repository containing 18 different quality certificates in multiple languages.
  • More than 200 external audit days per year resulted in just two findings – a 90% decrease in findings compared to the previous management system.
  • A five-fold increase in the number of hits in the OMS.
  • An increase in relevant employee process improvement suggestions from avg. 50 per year to 1100 per year.
  • A holistic, easy-to-use, and strategic level model of the company as a living organism has central organs and outer limbs that are vitally interconnected and vitally functioning together as parts of a whole.
  • Descriptions of logical and concentrated workflows – are essential in improving the company’s efficiency, process effectiveness, and corporate profitability.
  • Documented customer requirements connected to particular production activities, ensuring quality and customer satisfaction.
  • A variety of graphical “views” that support work processes.
  • The opportunity to realize continual improvement in quality and an increase in profits.
  • The ability to reuse many of its models in other areas of its parent company.
  • The production of a QLM-based OMS and accompanying OMS documentation allows the elimination of over 3000 documents previously used to describe work processes and procedures.

Additionally, the investment in and adoption of the OMS has provided good returns in ways less immediately quantifiable but nonetheless of core importance in any business. This investment has provided GKN Aerospace with:

  • Greater flexibility, efficiency, and effectiveness in changing the business when market conditions dictate the business should be changed.
  • Consistently high customer satisfaction.
  • Increased employee productivity.
  • Increased product and services quality through the single-sourced process and procedure documentation.
  • Greater employee satisfaction with work processes and greater employee involvement in daily work and process transformation.
  • Better customer support, better partner support, and more return business.

GKN Aerospace’s present-day commitment to Quality and Continual Improvement, based on a visionary transformation of the company, is rooted in the adoption of its OMS. Customers know that GKN Aerospace is always in a position to help them solve existing and eliminate potential problems before they occur. 
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