The Beacon: A holistic view of partnership
For this issue of Pulse, we want to take a moment to recognize our supply partners and the critical work they do for us every day.
Last year, we received more than 230 million parts from our supply chain, allowing us to deliver more than 1.7 million products to those we serve. Over the next five years, we expect our parts received to grow to more than 300 million each year, reflecting the vital role of our suppliers in helping protect our customers, millions traveling around the world, and our courageous warfighters in the field.
At the core of everything we do at BAE Systems is trust: trust in each other, trust in our mission, and the trust our customers place in our technology to perform when it matters most. That said, our view on supplier partnerships is a holistic one: We want to work with suppliers who share our values, our innovative mindset, and our commitment to our customers. We believe quality products inevitably follow, and so does growth – for both of us. To illustrate this, I’d like to share a story from before I became Electronic Systems president,when I was product line director for our infrared imaging business.
In the early 2000s, there was a small, local supplier that provided optics to Electronic Systems. At the time, the Army was looking for an optical telescope for an infrared imaging camera, and we decided to submit a bid. To be honest, we were a new player in the market, and so was our local supplier. But we took a risk, and we won the bid. From that point on, we operated like one company – working together to win at execution. BAE Systems employees were there in our supplier’s factory – helping setup machines, improving production flow – to meet demand.
The Army’s original order was relatively small – 180 units a year. Then, we were asked to ramp up to three-thousand units a year. For a small business, this presented major infrastructure challenges. To absorb the increase in volume, this small business put their faith in our collective future and invested in several new diamond milling machines. And while it was challenging, what grew out of that was a much stronger relationship with that supplier, and a successful Ramp 2 Rate effort that allowed us to come through for the warfighter and reinforce their trust in us.
This is but one example of how a small company can make a tremendous impact on a program as a valued partner, and I’ve seen many throughout my career. In addition, our suppliers recently served a major role in helping us get the materials needed to build face shields to support medical professionals on the front lines fighting the COVID-19 pandemic. Later in this issue, you’ll read more about special partnerships like these.
I look forward to continuing these invaluable relationships – both old and new – into the future as we continue to grow together.
By Terry Crimmins, President, Electronic Systems
With Kelly Hussey, Communications, Hudson, New Hampshire