Lockheed Martin Unit Receives Industry Week 'America's Best Plants' Award
FORT WORTH, Texas, October 14th, 1998 -- Lockheed Martin Tactical Aircraft Systems has been selected by Industry Week, the leading manufacturing management magazine, to receive a 9th annual America's Best Plants Award as one of the 10 Best Plants in North America.
John R. Brandt, Industry Week's editor in chief, said the plant was selected from among 170 facilities nominated between October 1997 and March 1998. In announcing the award, the magazine noted that "the national honor recognizes world-class manufacturing capabilities and a plant-management mindset of continuous improvement."
"We are extremely honored to receive this important recognition from Industry Week and its panel of distinguished judges," said Dain M. Hancock, president of Lockheed Martin Tactical Aircraft Systems. "We believe this award validates that our enterprise is doing the kinds of things that are necessary to deliver superior value to our customers today and to realize our future goal of becoming the preferred supplier of high quality, affordable tactical military aircraft for the next century. That is our objective as we continue to produce the F-16 and prepare our facility for the future Joint Strike Fighter program," Hancock said.
Best Plants nominees submitted a 20-page questionnaire that was evaluated by a team of Industry Week editors. Plants reported on performance metrics and practices in categories such as benchmarking, community involvement, customer focus, employee involvement, environment and safety programs, inventory management, manufacturing cost reductions, manufacturing operations and flexibility, process flow and productivity, quality, supplier management, and use of technology.
Twenty-five plants were chosen as finalists, and their initial entries were then reviewed by a panel of outside experts that included Sherrie Ford, principal, Change Partners Llc; Robert Hall of the Association for Manufacturing Excellence; John Mariotti, president of The Enterprise Group; and Rick Purcell, Larry Robertson, and Jack Tamargo of the Best Manufacturing Practices Center of Excellence. The evaluations of these manufacturing experts, combined with evaluations of follow-up questionnaires posed to the 25 finalists, produced 10 winners. Each winner was validated following a plant visit by Industry Week staff members late last summer.
Industry Week's annual America's Best Plants issue is used as a reference document for plant managers and team leaders across the country, said Industry Week's Brandt. "Through stories on America's Best Plants, readers gain insights into how to better run their facilities. IW is proud not only to congratulate the 10 very deserving winners, but also to help nurture continuous improvement across North American industry," he said.
Lockheed Martin Tactical Aircraft Systems, with approximately 11,000 employees, is one of the largest companies ever to receive an IW Best Plants award.
The company began an aggressive process improvement and cost reduction initiative in its F-16 aircraft manufacturing operations earlier in the 1990s, in response to declines in defense spending at that time. The company was able to reduce its F-16 manufacturing costs at the same time production rates declined drastically, which was previously unheard of in the aerospace industry.
Since then the company has continued working on "lean" manufacturing principles and further increased its emphasis on efficiency, product affordability and other attributes identified as key customer values. In addition to its business-related initiatives, the company is currently implementing an aggressive "Work Force Vitality" initiative to prepare the workplace and workforce of the future. The company also makes major contributions to improve the quality of life in its local community.
The Lockheed Martin plant is currently producing the F-16 aircraft for the United States Air Force and several international customers. Flown by 19 world air forces, the F-16 is considered one of the most successful fighter planes in history. Tactical Aircraft Systems also produces one-third of the F-22 air superiority fighter and is participating in Japan's new F-2 fighter production program, and is working with Korean industry in development of the KTX-2 trainer.
The plant is leading Lockheed Martin's Joint Strike Fighter (JSF) team, which also includes Northrop Grumman and British Aerospace. Lockheed Martin received one of two JSF Concept Demonstration contracts awarded by the Department of Defense in November 1996.
In addition to the achievements recognized by the Best Plants award, the company is currently implementing several major manufacturing and development initiatives to prepare for future phases of the JSF program.