BAE Systems — Manassas

CLIENT: BAE Electronic Solutions (ES) in Manassas, Virginia — leverages its know-how in the selection, acquisition, development, and application of electronics technology to meet the needs of defense, aerospace, and national and homeland security customers.

CHALLENGE: ES was using multiple troubleshooting approaches with inconsistent, time-consuming results; and clients were noticing.

RESPONSE: Within Quality Control, an engineer with experience using the Kepner-Tregoe (KT) rational process began discussions about expanding its use from small pockets of successful practitioners to across the organization, particularly at the Manassas, Virginia site. First KT worked with ES to assess the organization’s needs, train an initial team to use KT Analytic Troubleshooting (ATS), and expose executives to the use of process in a oneday session. Then BAE launched a wider program to integrate KT process.

Immediate successes built support as applications reduced time to find root cause and accurately found true cause for recurring issues. Skeptics who had regarded ATS as “bureaucratic and time-consuming,” embraced ATS, praising the collaborative approach that drew on relevant expertise. Participants in training began applying the new skills and resolving real issues while still in the classroom. Applications extended the analysis to risk and opportunity adding value through money saved, new business discovered, and customer satisfaction gained. ATS documentation reassured customers that issues were accurately addressed. BAE customers, their customer’s customers, and their suppliers have brought the skills in-house to benefit their own organizations.

RESULTS: In 18 months, BAE Manassas documented 68 applications with the 10 largest yielding over $2 million in savings. Positive cultural changes came from increased interaction among the technical team, improved productivity, and better morale. Customer quality assurance audits reported marked improvements in BAE’s ability to troubleshoot issues quickly. In fact, NASA asked BAE to present KT’s rational process as best practice at their supply chain conference. BAE credits KT’s rational process for raising the company profile throughout the aerospace and defense communities.