Original Date: 09/15/2003
Revision Date: 01/18/2007
Best Practice : Quality Partnership Council
United Defense, L.P. Ground Systems Division Aiken’s Quality Partnership Council is improving the business acquisition process by eliminating the need for unnecessary planning and increasing the opportunity to acquire new business.
United Defense, L.P. Ground Systems Division (UDLP GSD) Aiken examined its business operations in acquisition management and is acquiring new customers by activating conventional business contacts. While each customer representative expressed interest and intent, the internal procedures of the customer would consistently change the operating structure, making it difficult for customers’ representatives to adapt and keep up. UDLP GSD Aiken tried several ways to minimize the effects of its customers’ dynamic structure in transacting new business.
Previously, UDLP GSD Aiken’s new business acquisition methodology had become redundant and inefficient in the use of time, manpower, and resources. The process jeopardized UDLP GSD Aiken’s status to compete and grow in a long-term business environment. In its original business operations strategy, the company was accustomed to manufacturing large amounts of big budget defense items monthly. Acquiring new business was becoming more difficult because the relationship between the contractor and the customer did not allow for quick resolutions of problems. Each time a business matter was handled, UDLP GSD Aiken dealt with different customer representatives who did not communicate with their predecessors. This tied up money and resources that were needed for equipment modernization. When new business was obtained, the products were inspected and reviewed by the contractor and the customers’ representatives. As a result, unnecessary redundancy, increased overhead costs, wasted production time and manpower indicated a need for change.
UDLP GSD Aiken formed the Quality Partnership Council (QPC) made up of representatives from various areas of contracting to handle this process and resolve the issues. The QPC meets quarterly to identify roles and responsibilities, set schedules, and make recommendations for the best way to achieve new business in acquisition, engineering, quality, production, logistics, and finance. It then empowered representatives (known as czars) of both the customer and contractor to negotiate these policies and agree to final terms regarding business ventures. This new process yielded tremendous benefits. The QPC incorporated 22 standard Quality Assurance (QA) clauses across several programs. The clauses have been modified into six contracts, resulting in enormous cost savings since 1995. It developed and adopted steel and aluminum weld codes patterned after American Welding Society standards, and defined a way for both the customer and contractor to have equal representation and control over all business matters.
Since UDLP GSD formed the QPC, cost savings have increased and waste has greatly decreased, enabling the company to achieve a long-term business strategy that previously did not exist.
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