Original Date: 03/06/2006
Revision Date: / /
Best Practice : Congressional Liaison Strategy
Although Raytheon Missile Systems has a high-level strategy, its Louisville facility had no local process to mitigate the risk of program funding fluctuations due to the federal government funding priority changes. Raytheon- Louisville created and tailored a congressional strategy to help mitigate this risk. Since 1999, the Louisville facility has refined this strategy to provide an average 15% revenue increase annually.
Raytheon-Louisville has developed a strategy to enhance congressional funding support after identifying the existence of risk in support and development funding for the Louisville facility’s manufacturing programs. Risk occurrence would result in the elimination or reduction of budget line-items (i.e., Raytheon-Louisville programs) as these Raytheon programs competed for limited government dollars. This could adversely affect the warfighter, Raytheon-Louisville, its suppliers, and the employees of the Raytheon-Louisville facility. A defense legislative program was initiated in 1999 to identify a process that would protect the Louisville facility’s dollars, provide the Navy warfighter with needed systems, and provide the community with future funding streams based on the facility’s expertise and history of success. This effort is unique and innovative in its use of common tools to achieve an effective management solution to a high-level company-funding risk.
To achieve this, a strategy team was created of key subject matter experts, congressional liaison personnel, and advocates who could assist in the development and implementation of an effective congressional support process. This process, now in its seventh year, revolves around the U.S. legislative schedule and the concurrent execution of strategic steps to raise awareness and enhance important regional relationships with the federal government. It was decided that the focus would be demonstrating to Congress Raytheon-Louisville’s approach and commitment to achieving measurable local, regional, and national outcomes and to providing key members with a facilitated mechanism to support those efforts.
A one-year process begins each November when key program issues are identified. A white paper outlining and detailing the issues is developed by the Louisville facility and refined, while parallel efforts query program sponsors for support or feedback on the need for the proposed issue(s). Once established, a suppliers’ conference is carefully organized in the Nation’s capital to coordinate communication between concerned parties and especially other suppliers and vendors that may also have vested interests in the proposed funding.
The conference brings together all parties, including the sponsor and liaison, who review and finalize the white paper for presentation to the congressional office. Key strategy briefings and supporting documents are also updated and coordinated. The paper is delivered in March, including letterheads, for subcommittee attention during a visit and final briefing to the Kentucky delegation. Staffer briefings and face-to-face meetings to coordinate details are scheduled, after which a monitoring process is established to gage response and to publicize the regional values of Raytheon-Louisville’s community contributions and inputs to the industrial and economic base in the various supplier states. To fully enable this effort, the Louisville facility realizes that a quality end product, on-time delivery, and customer satisfaction are of prime importance. The Louisville facility’s good reputation with the sponsor and customer has been identified as a key element for its continued success. As an added incentive to staffers, the fact that current Louisville programs have a proven record of success from R&D into production offers impetus to fund additional support initiatives.
The monitoring process strives to determine any weaknesses and strengthen these in rapid fashion. During the congressional recess in August, staffers are encouraged to visit and tour the Louisville facility and to meet with key employees, suppliers, and supporters. Congressmen are also invited to attend the facility’s acquisition milestone events and community outreach affairs, providing reminders of the equipment being provided to the warfighter and a positive exposure to the elected officials for their support.
Raytheon-Louisville is aware that the amount of congressional funding is limited and constantly in flux, so they have been careful to craft this as a professional process. To increase the chances of success, they are aided by a lobbyist and mentored by the Raytheon corporate management office. Monthly strategy sessions and biweekly teleconferences help to direct and organize resources. Political action committees organize and execute fundraisers for congressional support. Media news releases at the Louisville facility (e.g. product rollouts) are also held to generate positive recognition and give congressional staff credit for their active support. Following the end of the fiscal year (FY), key staff members are thanked for support during the year and personal mementos acknowledging their efforts are thoughtfully given as gifts. The entire process is designed to make supporting the Louisville facility’s manufacturing resource a fulfilling activity where all parties can express their mutual appreciation for the economic good, product quality, industrial health, positive national defense, and regional community impact that results.
The Louisville facility expends a relatively small total amount in return for significant risk reduction in terms of metrics, investment, and returns. Between 10% and 20% of total revenue increases annually in added investment have been recorded since fiscal year FY1999, with an average of 15% of total revenue a year.
Raytheon-Louisville adheres to several key points in attaining success. First, funding requests are limited to no more than five warfighting items. Part of those requests protects programs that are currently funded and part asks for additional funding for technology initiatives. Second, work materials are treated as essential items for success. These include such things as the funding request (white paper), key program forms, congressional suppliers meeting correspondence, points of contact, broad constituent data, representation in government, committee assignments, and other detailed tools to facilitate the process. Raytheon-Louisville has taken a direct approach to ensure funding will continue to maintain the economic well-being of its facility, its employees and its suppliers while providing needed warfighting equipment.
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