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Successful Implementations in Lean

BAE Systems puts Energy into their Lean Implementation

By Karen Myhaver, Program Support Coordinator, MassMEP

The United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) in collaboration with the New Hampshire, Massachusetts and Maine Manufacturing Extension Partnerships (MEP) developed a pilot program using tools and techniques to allow the integration of Lean Manufacturing and Energy Management. Six manufacturers with high energy usage, (two per state) were chosen to participate. By using The Lean and Energy Toolkit, produced by the EPA and their partners, processes involving energy consumption or environmental concerns are identified and addressed along with the improvements made during traditional Lean manufacturing projects.  The goal: “to achieve process excellence using less energy!”

 As a large consumer of energy in New Hampshire, BAE Systems was invited to participate in the Lean and Environmental pilot. BAE is a global defense, security and aerospace company, which provides products and services to all branches of the military. They employ nearly 500 people in the Nashua, New Hampshire area. The initial Lean and Energy assessment took place in July of 2009 at a BAE Environmental Test Services (ETS) in Merrimack.

A team of seven key BAE employees, a professional energy consultant, Paul Lockwood from the New Hampshire Department of Environmental Services, David Hess a New Hampshire (MEP) Project Manager and the facilitator Charles Lincicum from Massachusetts MEP, began their work by creating a problem statement that outlined their mission. Roughly, it stated that the ETS uses energy intensive equipment which operates continuously due to the demand and requirements of the customers and results in significant energy consumption. 

Stephen Beaureguard, a team member and employee from BAE ‘s Continuous Improvement Group said, “BAE had already been implementing the Lean tools and philosophy. Historically energy and the environment did not enter in to the standard Toyota Method of Lean work so it is an interesting paradigm. NH MEP brought in a tool kit that allowed us to use the value streams we had already been working within our own Lean implementation and revisit them to identify energy and environmental concerns.”

Revisiting BAE’s existing value stream maps, the group created new ones utilizing the SIPOC (Supplier- Input- Process- Output- Customer) methodology to identify what energy, material and consumables went into each process and in what form it left. This helped the team determine which "on the floor" investigations would be performed. They worked throughout the building for five days addressing the most significant problems. Employees from BAE’s Facilities Department were instrumental in these Lean and Energy “hunts” which look for things like air leaks, machines being left on, emissions and other energy related issues. Unlike conventional energy audits, the Lean Energy and Environment program identifies inefficiencies in manufacturing processes that can be improved to reduce, re-use or eliminate the need for energy in the first place.

The group found that operators had no standard maintenance procedures for equipment shutdown which resulted in energy waste. There were lighting variations and misuse (being left on), a 400Hz generator and vacuum pumps were running  while empty, the air supply pressure was too high throughout the facility and some air sources  remained on after shut down. Test chambers were larger than necessary, an outdated and oversized compressor ran around the clock, a drier was being over used, and the efficiency of some test apparatus was questionable. Identified Energy related wastes included: lighting, compressed air (leaks, excessive pressure, running unnecessarily), appliances, computer & monitors left on, hardware, and HVAC. Environmental wastes included: exhaust air, water, nitrogen, heat, boiler exhaust, and packaging. Energy loss, environmental impacts and their related costs were then calculated based upon these findings.

From here a Kaizen plan was written and procedures were implemented. These included adding energy conservation considerations to the operator maintenance checklist for equipment shut down. Compressed air leaks, heat loss and pump efficiency were checked and addressed. Proper equipment use procedures were verified and standardized. The team gathered data and looked into disposal costs for waste water. Andon lights were installed as visual indications of equipment operation. Larger than necessary equipment was right-sized and a remote stop and start station was added to the 400Hz generator after the horsepower was reduced. Solenoids were installed to achieve air savings. Lighting savings came from re-bulbing and installing automatic shut offs. Compressed air usage was reduced to the lowest acceptable level for operation. Ongoing efforts between Facilities and Operations Personnel were coordinated to identify and track energy consumption.


  • Standardized checklist for waste reduction modifications included in operator shut down procedures.
  • 34 air leaks repaired = $9750 saved per year
  • Lower LUX lighting utilized = $4940 saved per year
  • Insulate pipes = $900 saved per year
  • Controlling run time of 400Hz generator =$6650 saved per year
  • Temperature sensors on (5) heat transfer fans = $750 saved per year
  • Efficiencies to water flow pump = $5500 saved per year
  • Reduced compressed air pressure from 100 to 80 psi = $4100 saved per year
  • Motion sensors to shut off lights in unoccupied rooms = $7800 saved per year
  • Solenoids in air shutoffs = $4920 saved per year
  • Pump replacement for efficiency= $5565 saved per year

Annual savings from improvements of $45,604

This figure represents the savings in one 30,000 sq. ft. facility. The breakdown of savings is approximately $1.33 per square foot. As BAE applies this process across all 4 million square feet of facility in New Hampshire the overall impact will be huge.

A sustainment plan was designed and implemented at the close of the project which included weekly and monthly audits, energy usage tracking procedures and a standard Total Productive Maintenance plan. The participants learned that Lean thinking can produce both energy savings and environmental impacts!

Through the Lean and Energy training we were able to see a great new opportunity for additional cost reduction which allows us to be more competitive- but there were other benefits.” 

The BAE employees who participated in the Lean and Energy project are developing training materials to disseminate what we have learned throughout our eight facilities. These incorporate the new Energy and Environmental components that the MEP taught us. During the exercises we began to involve employees from facilities not just those involved in manufacturing as we had in the past. The Facilities staff has been a great help since they know the energy elements so well. This exercise has helped create a team atmosphere between departments that we hadn’t had before. It helped break down barriers and improved communications and information sharing. Now we can run equipment more efficiently by considering the cost of energy involved and everyone understands why.”

Stephen Beauregard, BAE Continuous Improvement Group

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