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Lean Six Sigma Maturity at Lockheed Martin

Published: Tuesday, November 6, 2007 - 23:00

Lockheed Martin Systems Integration in Owego, New York, has developed advanced technologies and systems that enable military helicopters (including the VH-71 presidential helicopter) and other military vehicles to successfully perform their missions.

LMSIO recently achieved capability maturity model integration (CMMI) maturity level 5 for the second time. Established by Carnegie Mellon University’s Software Engineering Institute, CMMI, the highest rating an organization can achieve, gauges how effectively an organization implements engineering and management processes, and is indicative of process implementation, improved quality, and predictable process performance.

“We have a formal lean Six Sigma program at Lockheed Martin that we call Lockheed Martin in the 21st Century (LM21),” says John Vogel, director of enterprise excellence at LMSIO. “Here in Owego, we have three formally trained Master Black Belts, 53 Black Belts, and 435 Green Belts out of a population of about 4,000 employees. Through September 2007, we have run 1,154 structured improvement activities (lean Six Sigma events), yielding over $95 million in savings helping us to improve our productivity and competitiveness.”

One problem recently faced by LMSIO was to improve turn around time (TAT) on units that were sent there for evaluation and repair. The main problem was the availability of needed parts during the repair cycle. A value-stream analysis determined that this was only part of the problem, and through the use of other causal and quantitative analysis tools several process improvement opportunities were identified and implemented.

Many ‘just-do-it’ projects are conducted by employees, a process that promotes employee empowerment to affect change,” says Vogel, adding, “In order to establish the improvements necessary for revising established processes, many company functions—such as kaizen events—require feedback from the employees who are performing the work.”

Lockheed Martin Systems Integration can be found on the Web at www.lockheedmartin.com/si.

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