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Major Pat Burns: Applying lean in a military environment

Synopsis

The British Army is a professional, high-tech organisation. Around the world it employs a range of complex equipment to achieve its operational objectives. From rifles to rocket launchers, helicopters to main battle tanks the Army's combat effectiveness depends on its equipment being fit and ready to go at a moments notice. The Royal Electrical and Mechanical Engineers (REME) make sure that it is fit to fight. REME (approximately 10,000 officers and men) ensures that the equipment that is critical to the British Army’s combat capability is working to maximum effect. REME began to implement Lean thinking in 2005. It is in year 3 of a 5 year implementation strategy that seeks to embed Lean thinking in its planning and working processes, both in-barracks and on operations. Major Pat Burns REME is SO2 Engineering Policy (Plans) at HQ Director Electrical and Mechanical Engineers (Army) and he is the lead Officer for the implementation of Lean thinking across REME. He will describe REME’s successes and setbacks in implementing Lean thinking; and amongst other issues, he will speak on the following challenges:

  • Defining a Lean implementation plan for an organisation that has become wary of changes driven by numerous initiatives and buzz word management.

  • Achieving top level buy-in across a wide spread organisation that serves several chains of command.

  • Managing Lean competences within a transitional organisation.

  • Mission command versus continuous improvement and its effects on sustainment.

  • Using Lean tools and techniques in a variable environment in support of combat operations.

Biography

Major Pat Burns REME is SO2 Engineering Policy (Plans) at HQ Director Electrical and Mechanical Engineers (Army) and he is the lead Officer for the implementation of Lean thinking across REME.

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