Establishing a People Qualification Framework at Embraer Executive Aircraft, Inc.
Technical training in the aviation industry is a multi-faceted and complex topic. Research efforts in aviation maintenance training are extensive, however, we observe a paucity of studies directly focused on aircraft manufacturing environments. Nevertheless, the recent growth of the training industry and the advent of more disruptive technologies such as virtual and augmented reality solutions are making training program design efforts more and more relevant. The research and design contributions presented in this thesis focus on the establishment of a people qualification framework at a local aircraft final assembly and testing plant in Melbourne, FL. The design thinking cycle was used both as a philosophy and problem-solving approach. The design contributions were managed as projects using an agile complex work management framework called Scrum. Content, presentation, and interaction were used as socio-technical dimensions and considered carefully both for design of training offerings and evaluation purposes. The focus of the evaluation was to measure effectiveness in terms of trainee satisfaction using a survey method. The nature of the evaluation was formative and exploratory in order to gather insight into the main improvement opportunities to target. This thesis begins by providing a brief history and context of the corporation and facility that is the business case being analyzed. Next, best practices and selected research efforts in aviation and training are explored. After presenting the training program road map and project management considerations, we dive into the training improvement design efforts. Using the design cycle, we provide a staged approach to define problems, identify needs, benchmark, ideate, prototype, and evaluate various contributions to the aircraft manufacturing operation. Finally, conclusions are drawn regarding the state of research in aviation manufacturing training, the continuation of the design efforts presented herein, and the potential future growth of people qualification at this company.