Quality Assurance and the Second Source Contractor

Article

Stroad, Malcolm D.   (1989, ASQC)   Raytheon Missile Systems Div., Bristol, TN

Annual Quality Congress, Toronto, Ontario, Canada    Vol. 43    No. 0
QICID: 3622    May 1989    pp. 564-568
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Article Abstract

This paper will discuss the problems that are unique to business engaged in second source contracts for aerospace hardware and how one company has and is going about solving the problems. The paper will discuss the layered industry strategies, risk assessment and Quality organization structuring. The altered industry strategies will encompass the manufacturing and quality problems that are encountered when a contractor has not developed the Engineering data package. As a result of not having this foresight, the manufacturing and quality functions are especially vulnerable to unforeseen processing and inspection difficulties. Manufacturing will invariably underestimate the complexities that are sometimes veiled and are inherited in a data package that has been developed and the design frozen. The Quality organization will overestimate or misjudge inspection requirements usually due to the fact that they also were not in on the initial development.

This type of manufacturing start-up dictates that the learning curve must rise quite rapidly and the problems encountered by both Manufacturing and Quality are traumatic. Schedule constraints allow minimal recovery time. With this company, it seems every light at the end of the tunnel turns out to be a freight train headed our way, but with each set back the recovery process yields significant forward progress.

Two major missile programs, the Maverick AGM-65D and the Standard Missile, SM-2, will be discussed through their start up phases, with their special manufacturing and quality problems reviewed. Proprietary processes will not be discussed in detail other than the sometimes distressed acknowledgement of their existence.

Risks are incurred primarily as a result of Gramm-Rudman and other cost cutting measures but the per unit cost of weapons systems has been significantly reduced. This is due in a large part to the competitive influences that cause firms to become more efficient. This will obviously reduce the cost to the government and ultimately the taxpayer. We all benefit; and as might be expected, the family of price curves associated with competitive procurements differs significantly from the curves associated with non-competitive procurements. This forced competitive environment is felt all the way to the component suppliers.

The paper will follow the development and refinements of the second source efforts from the late 1970's to present time and where there is sufficient data, it will plot some collective cost improvement curves of the prime and second source producers.

Keywords

Aerospace industry,Customer supplier relationships,Case study


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