SIAEC Upskilling Workforce Through New Lean Academy

Credit: SIAEC

SIA Engineering Company Limited (SIAEC) is upskilling its workforce through its launch of a new Lean Academy, which aims to accelerate company-wide adoption of Lean methodologies.

The Lean Academy is part of SIAEC’s Transformation Phase 2 project, which launched in January. SIAEC is investing more than S$10 million (approximately $7.4 million) in company-wide Lean adoption through the project. The total S$40 million (approximately $29.7 million) investment in Transformation Phase 2 also includes investment in digitalization and automation projects, such as introduction of a mobile app for line maintenance engineers and development of an engine lifter that will automate lifting and lowering during aircraft engine changes.

“The ongoing wave of transformation across the aviation sector is a reminder of the rapidly changing MRO landscape and the need to constantly improve ourselves to enhance our competitiveness,” says Ng Chin Hwee, CEO, SIAEC. “The progress in our Lean journey has been very encouraging thus far, and we are confident that the Lean Academy will serve as a launchpad for us to scale up our efforts in this space.”

SIAEC has already piloted Lean methodologies to optimize certain operational processes at its line maintenance and base maintenance units. It says the pilot phase enabled improvements of up to 30% in check turnaround times for widebodies such as the Airbus A350 and Boeing 787, as well as shop and task output.

In a speech given at the Lean Academy launch event on Sept. 7, Hwee noted, “In many of the Lean projects undertaken so far, we experienced 20-30% improvements in productivity while staff benefited from a reduction in wasteful activities such as time loss to get spares and tools, and work duplication. Buoyed by this initial success, our goal is to achieve full Lean enterprise by the end of next year.”

Hwee says SIAEC used downtime from the pandemic to begin ramping up training efforts during 2020, increasing average training time for staff from 40 hours of training per year to 50 hours. “Digital courses such as data visualization and Agile methodologies were rolled out to the staff. To keep up with staff training when we adopted flexible or work-from-home arrangements, we even tied up with LinkedIn Learning platform to provide on-demand courses on-the-go for our workforce,” he added.

The Lean Academy will deliver Lean training to meet varying proficiency levels of its workforce through a detailed Lean Training Matrix that features a blend of interactive e-learning modules, instructor-led classes and practical training on the shop floor. The initiative is receiving S$2.4 million (approximately $1.7 million) in salary support from Singapore’s Economic Development Board.

The Lean Academy will operate as an extension of SIAEC’s Training Academy, which provides aerospace-related training programs for its staff and the greater aerospace industry. In addition to using the Lean Academy to internally train staff, SIAEC Training Academy plans to add Lean training curriculum to its suite of offerings for the MRO community.

Lindsay Bjerregaard

Lindsay Bjerregaard is managing editor for Aviation Week’s MRO portfolio. Her coverage focuses on MRO technology, workforce, and product and service news for, Aviation Week Marketplace and Inside MRO.