Lean Six Sigma Success Stories in the Transportation and Travel Industry

Below are Lean Six Sigma success stories in the Transportation & Travel industry organized alphabetically. For success stories in other industries, please visit our Lean Six Sigma Success Stories page.

Aircraft Turnaround Time

Lean Six Sigma to Reduce Aircraft Turnaround Time and Improve On-Time Performance

Modern aircraft causes an unfortunate amount of congestion at airports. Efficient ground operations, repairs and utilization are key to meeting customer service expectations. Lean Six Sigma can help cross-functional operations and increase profits from time in the air and back down to the landing strip.

Alaska Airlines

Alaska Air Group’s Lean Transition

Alaska Airline’s organization-wide Lean initiatives continue to yield performance gains. “At the end of our first year, instead of a 45-minute wait for baggage, we achieved a 20-minute wait. Our flight cancellation and missed bag rates went down. We became the No. 1 on-time airline in the country,” Bowers said. “Three years later, we are consistently rated in the top three.”

Aluminum Trailer Company (ATC)

Aluminum Trailer Company Merges Lean and Green Principles

Eco-Coach founder Anca Novacovici explores whether Lean and Green business practices can coexist in an article where she interviews Aluminum Trailer Company.


Lean IT Thinking Enters the Amadeus Vernacular

Amadeus is the world’s leader in supplying IT solutions for the travel and tourism industry. With recent development in the online and mobile environments, Amadeus now insists that before any IT project starts, everything is in place – from staff availability, resources, and server space. This Lean approach means that there are less chances that the project will be encounter a “disconnect.” By first piloting Lean thinking into corporate culture, it can later provide a simple front-end interface that protects end-users from the complexity in the background.

Amsterdam’s Schiphol Airport

Aiming for the Dot? Fly Marks the Spot!

Originating from Amsterdam’s Schiphol Airport in the early 1990s and now a popular fixture in men’s rooms across the world, the urinal fly sits just above the urinal drain and off to the left. It turns out that men, in their urinal behavior, cannot resist peeing on things, especially if they look as though they might wash away. In an effort to prevent splash back, maintain cleanliness and hygiene, these little mistake-proof visual targets go a long way towards keeping the urinals clean!

APM Terminals

APM Terminals Bahrain Employees Complete Lean Six Sigma Green Belt Training

Twenty-one employees from APM Terminals Bahrain underwent a two-week Lean Six Sigma Green Belt training in early May. APM Terminals Bahrain regularly conducts training programs both on and off site to improve the safety and performance at the Port. As part of May’s improvement initiatives, Green Belt trainees were armed with powerful tools for problem solving and mentoring high return projects.

Bargain Houston Movers

Bargain Houston Movers Reports Expanding Services

Bargain Houston Movers, a Texas-based moving company, will be increasing its capacity for both short- and long-distance moves with new trucks, additional crews, and increased storage capacity. This is thanks in part to Six Sigma training principles being applied by its General Manager Jim Rogers which promote efficient packing, safe lifting, and better customer service.


Built-In Quality: Better, Faster, Cheaper — But Most of All, Better

Most Boeing employees likely are familiar with the concepts of Lean, supplier relationships, and global manufacturing—supporting a design-anywhere, build-anywhere vision of the future. A lean and efficient operation is the heart of the Boeing Production System and is crucial to Commercial Airplanes’ success in the global market place.

Continuous Innovation at Boeing Leads to Success in a Highly Competitive Industry

Nearly two decades ago, Boeing took  71 days to assemble its 777 aircraft. Today, Boeing only needs 47 days to build the 777 aircraft. With dedication to Lean practices and consistent improvement methods, Boeing is able to save time. Above saving time, Boeing has implemented a process to improve company culture and build Lean into everyday Boeing culture.


Ctrip Asserts Supremacy With Its Performance

Ctrip is a one-stop shop for China travel services. In the Chinese travel e-commerce category, Ctrip stands out due to its operational efficiency and profitability. Ctrip has built its business over the past 15 years through strengths in quality assurance and Six Sigma management. Ctrip management and operational teams are continuously refining the business model and demands no room for wastage of resources and capital.


In India, a Home-Cooked Lunch Stands the Test of Time

In Mumbai, traditional dabbawalas still hand-deliver 200,000 hot meals each day from home to offices and schools. The dabbawalas worked through severe floods in 2005 and terrorist attacks in 2008. Today, they weave through nearly 20 million people in India’s commercial capital. Despite all that could go wrong, these men pedal through city on their bikes in white kurtas and hold a six sigma level of efficiency.

Etihad Airways

Etihad Airways’ Technical Maintenance Sets Record Replacing GE90 Engine

Etihad Airways has been working on a Six Sigma initiative over the past twelve months to improve quality processes and performance standards. During the initiative, Etihad has been able to identify and minimize daily time-consuming activities. Time consuming activities have been reduced and Etihad Airways Light Maintenance team set a record of replacing a Boeing 777 engine in less than 7 hours. The typical time to replace an aircraft engine is usually between 20 and 25 hours!


107 Customers of Rural Program Have to Find Other Means of Travel

GoBus in East Texas averages about 600 trips per day in 14 counties. As of June 15, GoBus no longer services in rural, Tyler area.  Approximately 40% of GoBus riders are elderly and are negatively affected by this change. For now, a city Lean Six Sigma project is underway to determine financial feasibility of an in-house transit system.

Goodrich Corporation

Six Sigma for Safe Landings: Six Sigma Heightens Airline Safety

Goodrich’s management team took notice of the bottom-line savings that companies such as GE and Motorola have achieved by implementing full-scale Six Sigma programs and decided that it was Goodrich’s turn to move onto the runway in preparation for a Six Sigma takeoff. The benefits of full implementation are projected to include an 87 percent reduction in nonconformance occurrence, an 81 percent reduction in both DPUs and DPMOs, a sigma level increase from 3.42 to 4.06, reduced lead times and reduced production costs.

Kenya Airways

Finding Buried Treasures in Organizations

Through more than 400 employees, World Vision has been applying Lean Six Sigma in its processes in Kenya and other parts of East Africa. On the same boat, Kenya Airways deployed Lean Six Sigma in 2009 and has over 150 full time Lean Six Sigma practitioners to date. Both organizations consider their Lean team to be treasures in their organizations and both improve often through Lean Six Sigma to provide greater value to their customers.

Mercury Marine

Mercury Marine Saves Big With Six Sigma Energy-Savings Project

A Mercury Marine manufacturing leader explains the results of a Six Sigma project that saved energy and costs at its plant in Wisconsin. They achieved 60% energy reduction, 30% better light levels, and 20% longer life using Orion light fixtures.

Network Rail

Six Sigma Speeds Up the Rail Network

When Network Rail took on the UK infrastructure in 2002 it faced many demands. But there was one big issue at the top of the agenda: train delays, severely affecting customers and costing hundreds of millions of pounds a year in penalties. Across various functions, targeted projects delivered initial productivity improvements of 12% and one single project alone reduced material costs by £400,000. Final value delivered includes £60m of efficiency savings, a 50% reduction of train delay minutes pa., over 1,200 people trained to manage and build upon improvements, and full self-sufficiency and capability in Lean Sigma process improvement.


Regal-Beloit Says Lean Six Sigma Spurred Record Results

Learning Center vice president Fritz Hollenbach attributed the successful year to the five company-wide initiatives adopted and a favorable business environment. Some of the initiatives were focusing on Lean Six Sigma, or bringing science to business decision-making, and paying close attention to its customers. Company sales reached $1.62 billion, earnings increased 46 percent per share and the company was selected by Forbes as one of the 400 best-managed big companies.

Rush Enterprises

3M and Rush Enterprises to Bring Quality Solutions to CNG Industry

3M and Rush Enterprises are getting ready to purse new design and manufacturing for compressed natural gas (CNG) systems to North America. The tanks to be supplied by 3M will be 30% lighter with 10% more storage than alternate types available. By pairing leading materials, technology, and expertise in Lean Six Sigma, the overall quality and reliability will be brought to a whole new level for customers.

Transportation Security Administration (TSA)

TSA Secures Lean Six Sigma Tactics to Improve Efficiency and Flyer Wait Times

Going through airport security has typically been met with groans over long wait times. However, recent reports have shown a decline is TSA’s wait times due to the agency’s deployment of Lean Six Sigma tactics. In the 21 largest U.S. airports, Department of Homeland Security sent a team of lean experts to review airline schedules, passenger loads, line design, and checkpoint and baggage areas. This resulted in each airport deploying several lean tactics which improved processes, reduced wait time and drastically increased the efficiency of the security lines.


WEG Winning With Lean Six Sigma

As a leading global manufacturer of motor and drive technology, WEG’s Lean Six Sigma efforts led to finding the root cause of defects and implementing new processes to reduce 80 percent of the waste and rework costs related to displaced plates for small motors. As a result, WEG’s significant improvements made during the manufacture of its flagship W22 motors drove them straight to the prestigious Lean Six Sigma Award by the British Quality Foundation (BQF) during the UK Excellence Awards Ceremony.

Wright Brothers

Lean Lessons From the Fathers of Flight

When it came to building the first airplane, the Wright brothers took a Lean approach. By rethinking the process, transforming data into actionable knowledge, and breaking down the problem, they not only developed modern air travel, they also taught us how to make product development more efficient.

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