Lockheed Martin Will Use Pylon Contract To Pilot 'Lean' Practices
FORT WORTH, Texas, June 9th, 1998 -- As part of its ongoing strategy to maximize efficiency and affordability, Lockheed Martin Tactical Aircraft Systems (Lockheed Martin Tactical Aircraft Systems) is applying lean manufacturing principles to the AN/ALE-50 Pylon Program. The Pylon contract calls for the manufacture and assembly of 413 pylons, with a potential follow-on buy of 559 units. Production delivery begins in March 1999 with last delivery of the current contract in June 2000.
To accomplish this, Lockheed Martin Tactical Aircraft Systems established an integrated product team for the Pylon Program. The team has conducted an extensive review of lean thinking concepts, applied them to the current process and developed a plan to eliminate non-value added activities. This lean vision focuses on the value of the product from the customer’s standpoint and differentiates value added from waste in order to reduce cost, deliver on schedule and with the highest possible quality.
"These applications represent the best in manufacturing practices and will enable us to deliver the most value to the customer," said Ron Ingram, project lead for the program. "Moreover, the Pylon Program gives us an excellent opportunity to apply the lean manufacturing philosophy, validate the expected results and apply them to existing and future programs such as the Joint Strike Fighter."
Lockheed Martin projects a lead time reduction of 80 percent in the Pylon Program, with similar improvements in yield and inventory.
Lockheed Martin Tactical Aircraft Systems is known for its success in affordable manufacturing of the F-16, which is recognized as the highest capability, lowest cost fighter aircraft currently in production. "The company has embraced lean thinking practices that go beyond all of our earlier efforts to improve affordability," Ingram said.
Lockheed Martin’s Fort Worth plant produces the F-16 for the U.S. Air Force and a number of foreign countries, and is leading the company’s Joint Strike Fighter program. It also produces the F-22’s mid-fuselage section, is responsible for various sub-systems of the air dominance fighter, and is participating in the production of Japan’s F-2 fighter.