State-of-the-art of ‘Lean’ in the aviation maintenance, repair, and overhaul industry

P. Ayeni, T. Baines, H. Lightfoot, P. Ball

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The increasing need for maintenance, repair, and overhaul (MRO) organizations to meet customers' demands in quality and reduced lead times is key to its survival within the aviation industry. Furthermore, with the unpredictability in the global market and difficulties with forecasting characteristic of the MRO industry there is an increased need for the reevaluation of the operation models of organizations within this sector. However, severe economic turmoil and ever-increasing global competition introduce the opportunity for the adoption of a resilient, tried, and tested business operation model such as 'Lean'. In order to understand this concept, its long-term viability, and its application within the aerospace MRO sector fully, this paper presents the state-of-the-art in terms of the adoption of Lean within the MRO industry by carrying out a systematic review of the literature. This paper establishes the common perception of Lean by the MRO industry and the measurable progress that has been made on the subject. Some issues and challenges are also highlighted including the misconceptions that arise from the direct transference of the perception of Lean from other industrial sectors into the aerospace MRO industry. The 'enablers and inhibitors' of Lean within the aviation industry are also discussed. This paper exposes the scarcity of the literature and the general lagging behind of the industry to the adoption of the Lean paradigm and thus highlights areas where further research is required.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2108-2123
Number of pages16
JournalProceedings of the Institution of Mechanical Engineers, Part B: Journal of Engineering Manufacture
Issue number11
Early online date21 Sept 2011
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2011


  • Lean
  • maintenance repair overhaul
  • service
  • outsourcing


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