Original Date: 08/20/2001
Revision Date: 12/14/2006
Best Practice : Supplier Day Event/Symposium
To maintain effective supplier relationships, Lockheed Martin Naval Electronics & Surveillance Systems-Surface Systems communicates its business plan and future initiatives to critical suppliers through a Supplier Day Event/Symposium. A well-designed 21-step process ensures effectiveness, a mission-focused theme, and top-level management participation to deliver the message and establish a solid business partnership.
Since the early 1990s, Lockheed Martin Naval Electronics & Surveillance Systems-Surface Systems (NE&SS-SS) has conducted symposiums to foster team building and two-way communications with its key suppliers. These symposiums allowed suppliers to stay informed of the company’s business and strategic plans, learn about their role in the execution of these plans, and grasp the importance of making sound management decisions affecting the future of Lockheed Martin NE&SS-SS and themselves. Although some evidence existed on the lack of feedback and commitment by the suppliers, these symposiums helped in the overall relationship between the company and its suppliers. Right-sizing initiatives to improve its internal purchasing functions led Lockheed Martin NE&SS-SS to improve its supplier relationship and build upon the established groundwork. The Material Acquisition Center Mid- Atlantic Region (MAC-MAR) at Lockheed Martin NE&SS-SS implemented the Supplier Day Event/Symposium.
The revised format concentrated on total supplier commitment and unparalleled relationships among Lockheed Martin NE&SS-SS, the suppliers, and the customers. Based on lessons learned from previous symposiums, the event focuses on the effectiveness of the message to be delivered, face-to-face discussions, real-time feedback, and sharing the views of Lockheed Martin NE&SS-SS, the suppliers, and the customers. MAC-MAR also developed a vigorous 21-step process to execute and deliver the Supplier Day Event/Symposium. The process features an event Steering Committee, a realistic budget, working committees, and a post symposium follow-up. High-profile speakers; high- level customer management; and top-level managers from Lockheed Martin NE&SS-SS are involved in delivering the message, participating in the exchange, and establishing a solid business partnership.
The first Supplier Day Event/Symposium, held in 2000, exceeded all expectations. Future events will be conducted every 18 months to two years. The theme selected for the event/symposium conveyed the importance of Lean Manufacturing with Six Sigma capabilities. As a result of the Supplier Day Event/Symposium, suppliers are reportedly addressing lean manufacturing initiatives or requesting training from MAC-MAR, thereby solidifying their commitment to Lockheed Martin NE&SS-SS and its customers.
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