The military and aerospace (mil/aero) market relies on efficiency. This is true of myriad industries during a down economy, which requires organizations—including the U.S. Department of Defense and other military organizations, as well as prime contractors and subcontractors—to do more with less.
Not only do engineering and manufacturing personnel need to be efficient, but also the tools they employ must be competent, capable, and powerful. Workflow efficiency is also a necessity in managing and fulfilling mil/aero contracts.
Inefficiencies can, and do, lead to delays in delivering much-needed technologies—even entire sea, air, or ground platforms—out to awaiting warfighters in the field. Even worse, programs can become drawn out, due to a contractor’s (or multiple contractors’) inability to deliver on time and on budget, and cancelled. Such was the fate of the U.S. Army’s Future Combat Systems (FCS), which cost hundreds of billions of dollars and went on for years and years with little result, before being cancelled by the Pentagon.
That’s the bad news, for the industry and the warfighters. The good news, however, is that modern tools are enhancing productivity and delivering technologies to market, and to the battlefield, faster than previously possible. One such success story is Bell Helicopter in Fort Worth, Texas.
Bell Helicopter executives just announced the company’s 2011 successes—among them was what this geek considers and monumental achievement: Bell Helicopter’s 2011 deliveries were made either on time or ahead of schedule. To what do company officials attribute the achievement? Teamwork or working, as the company’s slogan says, as “One Bell.”