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The construction industry in the UK has been subject to frequent reports over recent years, all focusing on perceived inefficiencies within the industry and how processes…
The construction industry in the UK has been subject to frequent reports over recent years, all focusing on perceived inefficiencies within the industry and how processes can be improved to deliver construction projects on time, and within cost and quality targets. Most notable of these reports have been Latham (1994) and Egan (1998), which contend that construction should come closer to manufacturing in design, development and supply chain practices to achieve ambitious improvement targets. The most frequently mentioned industries for such “benchmarking” are the aerospace and automotive industries. Concurrent Engineering (CE) appears to offer significant potential to the construction industry as a means to achieve these targets. This paper identifies key aspects of CE practice in aerospace manufacturers and, in the spirit of the Egan report, possibilities for their adoption in UK construction projects.
This paper describes the change of dominance, in the provision of engineering education and training, from that of major large scale industry to that of the UK public sector. Using aerospace engineering as an example, it emphasises the need for education to demonstrate more openly and effectively its ability to provide world class support for UK industry. This industry is now dominated by small and medium enterprises and in aerospace, as well as other high technological areas, it is facing increasingly severe competition from overseas. Ways of helping the further and higher education institutions to achieve such support is described by their initiation of the well established Association of Colleges of Aerospace Technology (ACAT) and the relatively new Association of Aerospace Universities (AAU). These bodies comprise mainly aerospace engineering teaching staff but there are some members from industry. Their aims are to continually improve the image, effectiveness and relevance of aerospace education. Details of ACAT and AAU are given in the appendices together with ideas for collaboration with Internet initiatives of Aircraft Engineering and Aerospace Technology (MCB University Press Ltd) and the Aerospace Academic Network (AAN).
The UK aerospace industry is the largest and most comprehensive in Western Europe and the second largest in the Western World. Employing 195,000 people in some 300 companies, of which the two largest are British Aerospace and Rolls‐Royce, the industry designs, constructs, sells and supports products ranging from civil and military aircraft, engines, guided weapons and space vehicles, to a wide variety of components, sub‐assemblies, electronic and avionic equipment, plastics and marine engineering products, and has many other diverse scientifically‐based programmes. The industry is responsible for some of the largest contracts ever awarded for overseas support and consultancy services and has, within its constituent companies, experience second to none in the organisation and management of major international collaborative projects. Operating predominantly in the intensely‐competitive and fast‐moving international arena, aerospace makes one of the more positive contributions to the UK balance of payments. Since 1971, exports have risen from £328 million a year to the 1978 record level of £1,200 million and already the forward order books of British Aerospace and Rolls‐Royce alone total over £5 billion, much of it for export. In the longer term, market forecasts predict a vast potential for aerospace products, particularly in the commercial aircraft sector, where continuing technological developments have resulted in lower real costs of air transport and led to a new era of mass travel. But the air transport industry needs fuel and the aerospace industry, with its history of technological innovation, its constant quest for more‐efficient and durable products and its stimulation of other industries through advanced design requirements and spin‐off activities, is well placed to make a positive contribution, directly and indirectly, to combating the UK energy challenge.
Considers how far the aerospace industry has travelled on the long journey towards lean and agile manufacturing. Starts by comparing the industry with a well‐established…
Considers how far the aerospace industry has travelled on the long journey towards lean and agile manufacturing. Starts by comparing the industry with a well‐established model of a lean and in some cases agile manufacturing system already well established in the automotive manufacturing industry. Makes some attempts to overcome the difference in output volume of the two industries. Asks whether lean manufacturing can be applied to the aerospace industry. Draws on observations made both by academics and during visits to aerospace supply companies. Evidence is put forward as to deployment of lean practices in the industry and why lean manufacturing must be deployed throughout the industry. Focuses on the tentative steps towards the first phases of agile manufacturing, through Lean production, in an industry that produces a high technology leading‐edge product using outdated manufacturing systems.