Original Date: 10/20/1997
Revision Date: 01/18/2007
The Northrop Grumman Corporation can trace its history back through the pioneering founders of aviation Jack Northrop, the Loughead [sic] brothers, Donald Douglas, and Leroy Grumman, to name a few. In 1916, Jack Northrop was one of the first employees of the Loughead Aircraft Manufacturing Company in Santa Barbara, California. When World War I ended, the company closed, and Northrop joined Douglas Aircraft in 1923. He eventually left to help the Loughead brothers restart their company, now named Lockheed Aircraft, in 1927. His passion for innovative designs as well as financial backing from colleagues allowed Northrop to start-up various companies: Avion Company (1928) as a subsidiary of the Boeing-owned United Aircraft and Transport Corporation; Northrop Corporation (1932) as part of Douglas Aircraft; and finally, Northrop Aircraft (1939) as a new and independent company that eventually became the present-day corporation. Today, Northrop Grumman is a leading designer, systems integrator, and manufacturer of military surveillance and combat aircraft; defense electronics and systems; airspace management systems; information systems; marine systems; precision weapons; space systems; and commercial and military aerostructures.
With its corporate headquarters in Los Angeles, California, Northrop Grumman is organized into five divisions, employs 52,000 employees, and achieved $8.1 billion in sales for 1996. The BMP survey focused on Northrop Grumman’s Military Aircraft Systems Division which employs 14,000 personnel, encompasses 320 acres, and achieved $3.1 billion in sales for 1996. This Division, located in El Segundo, California, is a world-class leader in the manufacture of military aircraft and unmanned airborne vehicles; systems integration and engineering research and development; aerostructure modifications; and upgrades to military air vehicles. Among the best practices documented were Northrop Grumman’s design-to-cost and affordability process; action item board; factory process modeling and simulation; foreign object elimination; integrated management, planning, and control for assembly system; process variability reduction; and new directions training program.
As the principal subcontractor to Boeing (formerly McDonnell Douglas), Northrop Grumman produces the center and aft fuselage sections; the twin vertical stabilizers; and all associated subsystems for the U.S. Navy F/A-18 Hornet strike fighter. The F/A-18 production line is housed in the longest, all-wooden building in the world. Still reflecting its World War II design of a long, single production-specific line, the F/A-18 assembly building runs 0.5 mile in length and is constructed entirely of redwood. In addition, Northrop Grumman has ties to the entertainment world. In June 1945, a U.S. Army photographer, on assignment to promote women supporting the war effort, discovered Norma Jeane Mortensen (aka Marilyn Monroe) working at Northrop Aircraft’s Radioplane Division. Another link is the DIT-MCO machines used by the company to test every electrical circuit in the F/A-18. These machines were developed by a drive-in theater owner to test all the wires running to the car speakers hence, DIT-MCO stands for Drive-In Theater Manufacturing Company.
Northrop Grumman maintains core values of customer satisfaction, employee opportunity, environmental compliance, and community outreach. The overall philosophy is to draw upon skills throughout the company so that the very best technologies, processes, and intellectual capital are brought to each program. Through numerous initiatives, Northrop Grumman promotes employee communication, involvement, and awareness; provides new directions training to retain an experienced workforce; and ensures that the division continues to be good stewards of the community and a leader in the environmental management arena. This outlook encourages employees to look beyond traditional ideas and methods. Unlike most companies, the typical workday at this Northrop Grumman facility starts at 5:00 A.M., which staggers employees on the commuter routes and reduces pollutants in the environment.
Over the years, Northrop Grumman transformed itself from an airplane manufacturer into a premier electronics and systems integration company. By employing fundamental principles, Northrop Grumman has achieved creative vision, competitive technology, environmental management, and financial advantages necessary to ensure a bright future and strengthen the company’s position to compete in the 21st Century. In addition, Northrop Grumman now has a new distinction it represents the 100th survey conducted by the BMP Center of Excellence. The BMP survey team considers the following practices to be among the best in industry and government.
TABLE OF ACRONYMS:
The following acronyms were used in this report:
|ALOO|| ||Assembly Line Operation Order|
|ANSI|| ||American National Standards Institute|
|APWI|| ||Assembly Process Work Instruction|
|ATMCS|| ||Automated Tool Manufacturing Computer System|
|ATTB|| ||Advanced Technology Transit Bus|
|CAD|| ||Computer Aided Design|
|CEEDS|| ||Common Electrical Electronic Data Systems|
|CNC|| ||Computer Numerical Control|
|EGADS|| ||Electronic Gantry Applied Drilling System|
|EMD|| ||Engineering and Manufacturing Development|
|EMP|| ||Environmental Management Program|
|EO|| ||Engineering-change Order|
|FOD|| ||Foreign Object Damage|
|FOE|| ||Foreign Object Elimination|
|GD&T|| ||Geometric Dimensioning and Tolerancing|
|IMIP|| ||Industrial Modernization Incentives Program|
|IMPCA|| ||Integrated Management, Planning, and Control for Assembly|
|IPD|| ||Integrated Product Definition|
|IPT|| ||Integrated Product Team|
|ISMT|| ||Integrated Supplier Management Team|
|JIT|| ||Just In Time|
|LRIP|| ||Low Rate Initial Production|
|MOGADS|| ||Mobile Gantry Applied Drilling System|
|MPDB || ||Manufacturing Process Data Base|
|MPPS|| ||Manufacturing Process Performance System|
|MRP|| ||Material Requirements Planning|
|NT|| ||New Technology|
|PAPCE|| ||Portable Air Pollution Control Equipment|
|PRD|| ||Product Release Document|
|PVR|| ||Process Variability Reduction|
|ROPAS|| ||ReOrder Point Analysis Summary|
|SIS|| ||Self-Inspection System|
|SPC|| ||Statistical Process Control|
|TEK|| ||Tool and Equipment Kit|
|VSA|| ||Variation Simulation Analysis|
For more information see the
Point of Contact for this survey.