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During the past couple of decades, many segments of U.S. industry have benefited from introducing new manufacturing techniques that save money by increasing efficiency and reducing overhead. Would U.S. military aircraft manufacturing benefit from these techniques as well? This report examines the package of new tools and techniques known as lean production to see if it would enable aircraft manufacturers to produce new weapon systems at costs below those predicted by historical cost estimating models. The authors give a broad overview of what lean is and what it can and cannot accomplish in cutting manufacturing costs. They also detail results of industry efforts in this regard, including specific examples and averages of claimed cost savings. The authors conclude by identifying areas where companies need to push harder in lean implementation and what the Defense Department can do to encourage this.

Table of Contents

  • Preface

  • Figures

  • Tables

  • Summary

  • Acknowledgements


  • Abbreviations

  • Chapter One


  • Part I

    Lean Manufacturing and Methods of Study

  • Chapter Two

    The Lean Manufacturing System

  • Chapter Three

    Data and Methods

  • Part II

    Incorporating Lean into Cost Estimates Using CCDR Categories

  • Chapter Four


  • Chapter Five


  • Chapter Six


  • Chapter Seven

    Quality Control

  • Chapter Eight

    Materials and Purchased Parts (Manufacturing)

  • Chapter Nine

    Overhead, General, and Administrative Costs

  • Chapter Ten

    Making It Work - Lean Human Resources Management

  • Part III

    Issues for Cost Analysts

  • Chapter Eleven

    Integration and Challenges for Cost Analysis

  • Chapter Twelve

    Discussion and Conclusions

  • Appendix A

    Subjects of Three RAND Studies on Industry Initiatives Designed to Reduce the Cost of Producing Military Aircraft

  • Appendix B

    Questions Concerning Lean Implementation Sent to Military Aircraft Manufacturers by RAND

  • Appendix C

    CCDR Definitions

  • Bibliography

Research conducted by

The research described in this report was performed under the auspices of RAND's Project Air Force.

This report is part of the RAND Corporation Monograph report series. The monograph/report was a product of the RAND Corporation from 1993 to 2003. RAND monograph/reports presented major research findings that addressed the challenges facing the public and private sectors. They included executive summaries, technical documentation, and synthesis pieces.

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