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Hoshin Kanri, supporting Lean Management at Airbus Defence & Space


Hoshin Kanri, supporting Lean Management at Airbus Defence & Space

Airbus Defence & Space implementation of Lean Management in Military Aircraft Engineering has supported the company in achieving savings of more than 3 million euro. One key practice enabling this transformation was the adoption of Hoshin Kanri as a technique for planning and executing the company’s strategy. The tool proved to be beneficial in updating and integrating the company’s vision and aligning diverse departments to achieve Airbus D&S targets.

About the Company

Airbus Group creates cutting-edge technology and is a global pioneer in aeronautics, space and defence-related services. Combining a European past with global outreach, the diversity of the company’s talent and technology drives innovation, integration and internationalization.

Airbus Defence & Space was created in June 2014 as a result of the integration of Airbus Military, Cassidian and Astrium, all of which were previously part of the EADS group. This division has a presence in 18 European countries and in more than 30 countries worldwide. It is organized into four business lines, including Space Systems, Communications, Intelligence and Security, and Electronics and Military Aircraft.

Hoshin Kanri (From the term “Hoshin” = direction and “Kanri” = Administration), also known as Hoshin planning or policy deployment, is a technique that aims to transform the corporate vision into objectives and actions, which are later cascaded down the organisational hierarchy to achieve a multilevel PDCA cycle. This approach was developed in Japan in the 1960s and it has been proved by diverse companies such as Toyota, HP and Komatsu among others. The Hoshin Kanri Framework can be observed below.

Hoshin Kanri looks for vertical and horizontal alignment, which is usually associated with the “Catch-Ball” analogy that indicates cross-functional support and collaboration

The benefits associated with Hoshin Kanri are:

  • Setting “breakthrough objectives” or a strategic plan for the next 3-5 years’ period aligned with the Company/division vision.
  • Setting Annual (short term) Objectives aligned and supporting the Company/Division strategic plan.
  • Aligning the employees with the Company/Division Annual Objectives so everyone understands the final targets and their role to achieve them.
  • Encouraging employees and managers’ involvement in the Hoshin Kanri cycle to prioritise key Annual Objectives.

In Airbus Defence and Space, the implementation process was divided into a 5-step methodology:

  1. Creation of a company’s vision and the 3-5 years’ plan. The process was supported by the company CEO and senior management.
  2. Creation of an Annual Plan. The activities included were the result of a feasibility and success likelihood evaluation. The plan is revised by the senior management every 6 months
  3. Creation of Control Rooms within departments, where detailed project implementation unfolds and monthly-based meetings are held.
  4. Weekly meetings, lasting 30-45 min
  5. Work teams’ daily meetings, lasting 15 min.

To conclude this blog, it can be observed that in Airbus Defence and Space, Hoshin Kanri is regarded as a holistic technique suitable for strategic business planning and execution. It integrates the entire organisation with the corporate goals and objectives; enables creating daily tactics based on the top strategy; and promotes the integration and communication of cross-functional teams to follow the company true north.

Would you like to learn more about Hoshin Kanri and how to apply it in practice?

LAA-Blog - LiF2017 - Airbus

Hands-on workshop with company visit will be held at the Airbus Defence and Space in Madrid on 26th October 2017 as part of the Lean Innovation Forum.


Book 2017 - Mockup 01 (small-900px)

Airbus Defence & Space’s Best Practices are presented and described on more than 25 pages in the Lean Product Development Best Practices book. Airbus Defence & Space’s chapter is only one out of the 10 chapters presenting the real-world application of Lean product development in multinational companies.

The hard copy of the book with the 10 cases is available for only 74.99 EUR.


Airbus Defence & Space’s Lean Product Development case is available digitally free of charge to our members.


Interested to become a member?



Lean Analytics Association

Dr. Flores has over 20 years of experience collaborating as internal or external consultant in different manufacturing and services organizations, leading several initiatives related to Lean Thinking, Business Process improvement, Six Sigma, Supply Chain, Change Management, Open Innovation, Digital Transformation and Human Centered Service Design; providing also training and coaching.

She is co-founder and president of the Lean Analytics Association (LAA) and visiting scholar at the College of Management of the Ecole Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne (EPFL) in Switzerland.

She carried out her Post-doc at EPFL collaborating at the Lean Product and Process (LeanPPD) FP7 European project from 2009 to 2013. She completed her PhD in 2006 at the Politecnico di Milano studying Open Innovation Models to enable Industry-University collaboration for innovation. She obtained her Master’s Degree in Manufacturing Systems in 1999 and a Bachelor’s Degree in Mechanical Engineering from Monterrey Tec (ITESM) in 1996.

Airbus Defence & Space

David Muñoz is currently a Lean Expert at Airbus Defence & Space. After 6 years working in Lean Manufacturing and Lean Engineering at Airbus Commercial, David started a new journey deploying Lean at Airbus DS. In the last 4 years, he has focused on Lean Management and strategy in Programs, Engineering, Procurement, Quality and Manufacturing.

In his current role, he is leading the missions in the task force in Military Aircraft to provide solutions to the main problems identified across the Business Lines. On the other side acting as responsible for aligning Lean strategy for Airbus DS subsidiaries as well as the leader of benchmarking on Lean with other companies.

David Muñoz holds an M. Eng. in Industrial Engineering and is also currently Associate Professor of Lean Fundamentals as well as a tutor of PhD at UAM University.

Airbus Defence & Space

Silvia Pascual is currently a Lean Expert at Airbus Defence & Space. After 5 years working as an Aeronautical System Engineer, Silvia started in 2012 working in Lean Engineering and currently, she is supporting continuous and business transformation in areas as Quality, Manufacturing, Programs and Procurement.

She is responsible for identifying improvement opportunities and takes the accountability of specific End to End Missions within Military Aircraft. As part of her role, she offers specific solutions based on lean methods, tools and practices. In addition, Silvia is responsible for the deployment of Hoshin Kanri to establish the Strategic objectives and Projects of the organization. Also, she supports transversal activities as processes harmonization and knowledge sharing.

Silvia Pascual holds a Degree in Aeronautical Engineering, a M. Eng. in Industrial Engineering and a Master in Systems Engineering.

Lean Analytics Association

Javier is a project leader at the Lean Analytics Association. Before joining the LAA, Javier worked as a consultant in Hazardous Energy Control programs and Electro-mechanical risks assessment for various Colombian manufacturing companies for over 2 years. He also nurtures his entrepreneurial spirit since 2013 as the director of a start-up company operating in the interception of the agricultural and technology sector.

Javier completed his Master’s degree in Engineering and Management of Manufacturing Systems at Cranfield University where he was involved in a research of how Lean Thinking and Industry 4.0 technologies can transform the logistics operations of a world leading currier service provider. He graduated with honours from Universidad Industrial de Santander with a degree in Mechanical Engineering.

Myrna Flores
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