Mid-West Lean Network Gaining Momentum


Pictured at the Mid-West Lean Network seminar in Atlantic Aviation Group Training Institute in Shannon (from left); Shane O’Neill, COO, Brian O’Sullivan, planning manager and Connor Flanagan, CEO, AAG; Helen Downes, CEO, Shannon Chamber; Neil Enright, Molex and chair, Mid-West Lean Network; Eoghan Lewis, crew leader and Mike Guinane project leader, AAG. Photo: Eamon Ward.


A mere six months since its establishment, the Mid-West Lean Network, the second largest regional lean network in Ireland, after Waterford Institute of Technology’s Lean Enterprise Excellence Group, is gaining momentum, with 130 executives from 63 companies in the Shannon region now signed up as members, and interest in the network growing.  

The brainchild of Shannon Chamber, the network was set up to strengthen and increase the existing culture of lean within the Shannon and the wider Mid-West region and to enable companies to broaden and strengthen their competitiveness through knowledge sharing and bench-marking against each other and different industries 

The network is chaired by Molex’s Neil Enright, GLSS site development leader with Molex. Monthly meetings are held in member companies’ facilities to address a specific area of lean. The next meeting will be held in Takumi Precision Engineering in Raheen Business Park in Limerick on Tuesday, 16 May from 8:30 am to 10:30am and will focus on A3, a basic problem solving tool used to solve problems in any department within an organisation. Guest presenter, Shane McMahon, engineering manager with Takumi, will outline how the company successfully uses A3 to solve engineering-related issues. 

Visual management and the use of visualisation boards to monitor and deliver work on time was the topic discussed at the previous network meeting held in Atlantic Aviation Group’s (AAG) Training Institute in Shannon, which included a site visit to the company’s maintenance, repair and overhaul (MRO) facility at Shannon Airport.

The use of visualisation boards, strategically positioned within the aircraft maintenance hangar, enable AAG to monitor and align every project to ensure that all employees and contractors are working from the same ‘hymn sheet’ and enable customer aircraft to be released from maintenance on time.

“Visualisation boards not only enable us to control and monitor; they have heightened internal communications as there is a feedback loop on every project. A typical Boeing 737 Type C check requires 10,000 man hours, a 3-week timeframe and 1,500 spare parts and involves five different crews working on the aircraft – avionics and engines, engines and landing gear, wings and tails, fuselage and underfloor, and cabins. On-time delivery to our customers is critical as time on the maintenance floor is lost flying time and lost revenue for the airline. Visual management is key to keeping all of this work under control. It has enabled us to create transparency, record problems on time and solve them quickly, engage people and increase overall performance,” said Shane O’Neill, chief operating officer with AAG.

“We were delighted to share our knowledge and experience of practical lean undertakings with the Mid-West Lean Network members and we are also gaining new knowledge from being part of the network. It’s a great initiative and is developing into a truly interactive forum for anyone working on or interested in Lean as they gain first-hand information on how it works at the monthly seminars,” added O’Neill.


Bookings for the seminar being held in Takumi can be made via Shannon Chamber at www.shannonchamber.ie/events-training