Date of Award

Spring 2009

Access Restriction

Campus Access only Research Projects

Degree Name

Master of Science


Systems Engineering

School or College

Seaver College of Science and Engineering

First Advisor

Frederick Brown

Second Advisor

Bohdan W. Oppenheim


In the challenging environment of satellite design and development, it is commonly understood that there is only one opportunity to launch a satellite that meets all of its technical requirements. That is to say, once a satellite is launched, deficiencies cannot be corrected (Figure 1). The rigorous application of Systems Engineering (SE) has demonstrated the capability for space programs to deliver functional satellites to the government. Nevertheless, space programs have continued to consistently overrun budget and schedule. "Lean" is a proven methodology for eliminating inefficiencies, called waste, and enabling companies to achieve profitability. A full implementation of lean into the companies designing and developing complex products, such as satellites, could dramatically lower program cost and schedule, restoring corporate profitability and government confidence in acquisition programs.

The Lean Enablers for Systems Engineering (LEfSE) is a product for implementing lean to efficiently and effectively operate programs that employ systems engineering. The release of LEfSE as a formal product of the International Council on Systems Engineering (IN COSE) is pending. A distinguished team of academic and industry experts has developed the 194 enablers.

This document evaluates the LEfSE for possible implementation into a company already in the process of implementing lean. The enablers have been categorized in the following groups: 1) Those that have already been implemented in the company and needed no further evaluation; 2) Those that have been assessed as being outside the scope of the project (due to the need for senior executive knowledge required for either the implementation or assessment of cost or benefit); and 3) those evaluated for implementation. The enablers evaluated for implementation were analyzed for the cost to implement, the expected benefit from implementation, and calculated simple payback period.

The analysis showed that implementing those enablers provides average payback in approximately three months. The recommendation herein is that the Company implements the selected LEfSE to improve cost and schedule performance while improving quality and customer satisfaction. Furthermore, since the Company analyzed is a typical aerospace firm, one can reasonably infer that similar benefits may be gained from the implementation of the LEfSE throughout the industry.