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23rd International Conference of the

TOC Practitioners Alliance - TOCPA


www.tocpractice.com

21-22 March, 2016, Tennessee, USA

Using Theory of Constraints, Lean & Six


Sigma (TOC-LSS) within Delta Air Lines
Operations
Kathy Austin
Focused Profit Strategies, LLC, USA
March, 2016

Kathy Austin
Kathy currently is Chief Strategist at Focused Profit Strategies. As
Director, Operations Continuous Improvement at Delta Air Lines, she
established the internal consulting department. Kathy and Gerry
Kendall co-authored Advanced Multi-Project Management in 2012. In
1997, she and Ted Hutchin co-authored Why Its Not Luck. Kathy
became a Jonah in 1989 and a Jonahs Jonah in 1991.
Since leaving the US Air Force in 1991, she has worked large and small
implementations, both commercial and military, in the US and
internationally in Production, Project Management, Supply Chain, and
Management Skills.
Kathy is certified in all areas of the Theory of Constraints (TOC) Body of
Knowledge (BOK) and has been a member of TOC-ICO since the first
meeting in Atlanta. She is currently serving on the TOC-ICO Board of
Directors.
Additionally, she has developed and taught multiple basic, expert, and
licensee courses across the entire TOC BOK. Kathy is past vice-chair of
the APICS CM-SIG and co-authored/edited (with Jim Cox) the APICS TOC
series. She is also an ISCEA Certified Critical Chain Project Manager. In
the past, Kathy has held various positions with the Avraham Y. Goldratt
Institute (AGI) and APT Concepts.
www.tocpractice.com

kathy.austin@focusedprofit.com
http://www.focusedprofit.com
+1.404.692.0213

23rd International Conference of the TOC Practitioners Alliance - TOCPA

TOC-LSS in Delta Air Lines Operations


Engine Maintenance reduced WIP by over 70%
Set the bar for world-class TAT in the industry
Centralized internal consulting group (Operations Continuous
Improvement) established by COO, Gil West, in 2014
Goal: Drive innovative and reliable improvement through
operations
TOC: Over-arching architecture for analyzing and
focusing improvements
Existing TOC solutions, Thinking Processes, Lean & Six
Sigma: Tools and methods to enable sustainable
improvements

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23rd International Conference of the TOC Practitioners Alliance - TOCPA

Operations Continuous
Improvement Team

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23rd International Conference of the TOC Practitioners Alliance - TOCPA

Implementation Model
Design the Improvement
Discovery: Understand and document the current situation, including
significant policies, measurements and behaviors (AS-IS)
Answer What to Change?
Determine future state (TO-BE), including revised policies,
measurements and behaviors
Strategically answer What to Change to? and How to Cause the
Change? including customized improvement project plan
Deploy the Improvement Project Plan
Initial phase of buy-in and stabilizing improvements
Additional phases of planned step-wise improvements
Sustain
Hand over support to trained local experts for holding/increasing the
gains
Provide audit/retrain/reach back as required
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23rd International Conference of the TOC Practitioners Alliance - TOCPA

Catering Project 1
Challenge: Flights delayed waiting for catering
In-flight meals, beverages, snacks
One location
Up to 800 flights per day
Carts and contents specific to flight: vary by aircraft configuration, time of day, and
destination
Changes in gates and aircraft type can occur within an hour of departure
Constraint/Solution
Dispatch schedule done with
paper and pencil
Gate and aircraft changes
communicated via radio and
updated in dispatch plan
manually
Drivers not getting changes
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SaaS solution for central data and


dispatch planning
Real-time feed from airline systems
of changes in gates and aircraft type
Smartphone app for immediate
driver notification
Beacon technology to time stamp
catering arrival/departure at aircraft
23rd International Conference of the TOC Practitioners Alliance - TOCPA

Catering Project 2
Challenge: Improve
performance while supporting
growth up to 850 flights per day,
including bringing work back in
from a satellite location.
Operating Make-to-Stock
(MTS) in a custom flight
environment
Push system
Inefficient operational layout

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23rd International Conference of the TOC Practitioners Alliance - TOCPA

Catering Project 2

Inventory
Hard to find
FIFO difficult
Locations not labeled

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23rd International Conference of the TOC Practitioners Alliance - TOCPA

Catering Project 2

Solution
New flow for returning
carts
3 standardized flow lines
Make-to-order (MTO)
Tying rope from dispatch
to induction by flight
Improved security sweep
process

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23rd International Conference of the TOC Practitioners Alliance - TOCPA

Catering Project 2

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23rd International Conference of the TOC Practitioners Alliance - TOCPA

Delta Pilot Training

General
Delta
Training

Training time
longer than
expected

Fleet
Specific
Qualification

Operating
Experience

Qualified to
Fly Delta
Aircraft

WIP increasing

Not keeping up with demand


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23rd International Conference of the TOC Practitioners Alliance - TOCPA

Delta Pilot Training

Solution: Drum-Buffer-Rope
1. Synchronize Delta General Training class start dates and
quantities of students with the Fleet Qualification schedule
2. Unbalance the line: Increase the capacity of Operating
Experience to exceed the capacity of Fleet Qualification
3. Elevate the constraint: Fleet Qualification
4. Re-engineer and add capacity as needed to keep the
constraint in Fleet Qualification

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23rd International Conference of the TOC Practitioners Alliance - TOCPA

Ground Support Equipment

Challenge: Improve repair times of Jet Tugs, Bag Tugs and Belt
Loaders to support airport operations
Discovery: 3 focus areas for improvement:
Scheduling of repairs
Parts availability
Communication

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23rd International Conference of the TOC Practitioners Alliance - TOCPA

Atlanta Operations

Challenge: Improve ground-time performance


Discovery: Integrated ground time AS-IS

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23rd International Conference of the TOC Practitioners Alliance - TOCPA

Atlanta Operations: CRT & FRT

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23rd International Conference of the TOC Practitioners Alliance - TOCPA

Atlanta Operations: Strategic


Implementation Program

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23rd International Conference of the TOC Practitioners Alliance - TOCPA