LOCKHEED MARTIN RACES AHEAD AS 'TEAM LEAN' FORT WORTH-DALLAS (August 17, 1999) -- Texas Motor Speedway, Lockheed Martin Tactical Aircraft Systems and Rockwall-based TeamXtreme joined forces today to begin Lean Week '99 at Lockheed Martinâ€™s...
LOCKHEED MARTIN RACES AHEAD AS 'TEAM LEAN'
FORT WORTH-DALLAS (August 17, 1999) -- Texas Motor Speedway, Lockheed Martin Tactical Aircraft Systems and Rockwall-based TeamXtreme joined forces today to begin Lean Week '99 at Lockheed Martin’s Fort Worth plant. The joint effort is part of a "Racing to Lean: The Need For Speed" campaign, whose purpose is to draw attention to the important benefits of lean thinking in the manufacture of tactical aircraft, and the parallel benefits in other businesses, including competitive motor sports.
The event began with a "race" down the center of the F-16 production line, featuring the Texas Motor Speedway (TMS) pace car driven by Johnny Rutherford. TMS General Manager Eddie Gossage and Lockheed Martin Executive Vice President Bob Elrod followed Rutherford in the TMS VIP convertible, driven by NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series driver David Starr. TeamXtreme driver John Hollansworth, Jr. followed close behind in his #42 Compucom/Lycos Indy Car. John is a leading contender for Pep Boys Indy Racing League rookie of the year, and wowed the crowd during this first-ever spectacle. At the conclusion of the "race," TeamXtreme’s crew executed a perfect pit stop on the factory floor, clearly demonstrating lean processes in action. The team’s transporter, the #42 car and an impressive exhibit of Lockheed Martin's lean success stories were on display. "This is a landmark day for Lockheed Martin," said Elrod, kicking off the company's Lean Week events. "Revealed before you is visual evidence of some of the most significant changes in production concepts we have made in our 50-year history. This is an important step in remaining at the top of our industry and positioning ourselves to win future government contracts, including the Joint Strike Fighter (JSF) program." Initially, the connection between auto racing and fighter jets may seem to be an odd one, but the business philosophies are remarkably similar. Although each discipline has separate products and focuses, the common goal of both is to maximize customer service and quality while minimizing wasteful and time consuming activities that negatively impact customer satisfaction and affordability. "We are excited to be working with Lockheed Martin and TeamXtreme on such a creative project," said Gossage. "We know we have a lot of fans right here at Lockheed Martin. With this exhibition and demonstration they’ll see just how much our businesses really have in common." Today's event also included the opening of a new Lockheed Martin Team Lean training facility. The training room is completely race-themed, comparing the need for efficiency and speed in racing with the similar needs in a flow-based manufacturing system. Concepts exhibited and detailed in the Racing to Lean training room include: waste elimination, a sharp customer focus, quality, an engaged workforce and continuous improvement. The extensive photographic array of Texas Motor Speedway operations, TeamXtreme race activities, and Lockheed Martin's lean production system presents lean principles and techniques in an informative and appealing format, to create employee excitement about lean thinking. "This has been just a great experience for TeamXtreme," said Hollansworth. "I’m very excited about the project and happy to have the chance to be part of it. I'm very impressed with the enthusiasm with which the employees here approach their jobs." Lockheed Martin’s Fort Worth plant produces the F-16 for the U.S. Air Force and a number of overseas customers and is leading Lockheed Martin’s JSF team. The JSF is expected to be the largest military aircraft production program of the 21st century. The company also produces the F-22’s mid-fuselage section, and is participating in the production of Japan’s F-2 fighter, which incorporates extensive use of advanced materials technologies.