Original Date: 04/28/1995
Revision Date: 01/18/2007
Information : Customer Focus and Feedback
Customer focus and feedback is one of the twelve Best Practices focus areas at Lockheed Martin Electronics and Missiles (E&M). The objectives of customer focus are to improve the customer feedback loop, involve customers as team members, enhance Lockheed Martin’s image as a valued producer, and foster continuous improvement.
Some customer expectations are constant, including producing the best quality product for the dollars expended, optimizing performance, delivering on time, reliability, and supportability. However, the environment is one of constant change with new program starts on the decline and many major systems being canceled. Affordability and cost of ownership are major drivers and multi-user weapon systems and platforms are becoming the norm. To adapt and survive in this changing environment, Lockheed Martin wants to become involved with customers early and stay involved. The major initiative for Lockheed Martin in 1995 is to develop effective mechanisms for teaming with the customer. Two key elements of this effort are customer Integrated Product Team (IPT) membership and contract performance feedback.
Including customers as members of IPTs has been the single most effective method of achieving total customer involvement. It has brought down many of the barriers and cost drivers that traditionally inhibit success in acquisition programs. Involvement of customers at this level effectively eliminates the need for many reviews, quality inspections, approvals, and other bureaucratic requirements that add little value but drive cost and schedule dramatically. The concept is being piloted in several company programs.
Lockheed Martin has implemented a number of effective methods for customer feedback. Formal feedback mechanisms such as checklists and the Air Force's Contractor Performance Assessment Report are used. Program personnel work with customer representatives in each major area of a program to prepare a pre-Contractor Performance Assessment Report to avoid unexpected events. Results are collected in a central repository for each program. Each Program Manager prepares a customer assessment report form each month and reports to the mission area vice-president. Each mission area vice-president prepares a customer assessment report on each product quarterly and reports to the company president. Customer assessments are included in each program review. IPT leaders meet at least weekly with customer counterparts, and program managers meet at least monthly with theirs. Customer assessment reports are prepared based on these meetings and action plans are initiated.
These initiatives have resulted in outstanding customer interface for Lockheed Martin E&M’s programs. Potential issues are identified and addressed early, enabling a focus on best value and mission success.
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