Raytheon Missiles & Defense Expands Lean Training with Arizona MEP

Headquartered in Tucson, Raytheon Missiles & Defense, a business of Raytheon Technologies Corporation (NYSE: RTX), provides the industry’s most advanced end-to-end solutions to detect, track and engage threats. Wes Kremer, president of Raytheon Missiles & Defense, set goals of increasing customer satisfaction and improving on-time delivery by focusing the company on velocity, efficiency and eliminating waste in its processes. A key component in achieving these goals is the business’s expanded Factory Dynamics training program that develops and sustains its factories' lean operating system.

Expanding Use of the Lean Operating System

Factory Dynamics manager Kineta Carter is leading these efforts at the business’s factories throughout the U.S. Last year, Carter’s team piloted the Factory Dynamics program, which helps factories track key metrics, optimize workflows, and correctly identify and remove constraints. “We help them understand Takt, product flow, and WIP levels to execute the schedule,” said Carter. “Factories develop effective visual controls that let everyone know within 30 seconds how the factory is performing, giving leaders an opportunity in real time to influence the performance and solve problems within their value stream.”

This year, one of the business’s goals is a 25 percent reduction in make-span, which shortens the timespan from when an order is received to when it is shipped. A second goal is to achieve a 40 percent improvement in on-time delivery. As Carter’s team planned for 2020, they focused on how Factory Dynamics could be expanded to enable factories to reach these goals. The team felt this was an opportunity to expose all levels of employees to the lean operating system and the factory environment to reinforce, reenergize and sustain the use of lean methodology.

Arizona MEP Develops Custom-fit Lean Factory Simulation
Rather than developing the training in-house, Carter’s team reached out to Arizona MEP for assistance in creating a lean training program that was custom fit to the business. During the training, participants apply lean principles in a simulated factory environment. The training was customized using scenarios and terms that were familiar to Raytheon's employees. Customization was an important step to roll out the program effectively and efficiently and led to a higher level of confidence in the training.

Arnold Segovia, a member of Carter’s team who has an extensive background in lean and a long history with Raytheon, co-led the development of the training with the AZ MEP’s lean manufacturing expert. “We worked hand-in-hand to structure the classes, so it made sense for our team,” said Segovia. “I was able to participate in each workshop and hear the comments at the end of the day. A significant outcome was that participants saw how a change in leadership style can truly impact performance—moving from ‘I say, you go do,’ to ‘I trust, go try’."

Sustaining a Culture of Accountability, Problem-Solving and Efficiency
In this fast-paced environment, team leaders and support teams are changing projects and teams frequently. While many in leadership at Raytheon Missile & Defense have extensive lean manufacturing backgrounds, not all had the same level of experience. Since their buy-in would be key to sustain the lean culture, Carter’s team decided it was important to have the leadership team participate in the factory simulation lean training early on. In addition, Carter is also starting a volunteer community of practice where employees discuss and learn more about lean methodology.

The eight-hour workshops were held for seven weeks in January and February 2020 with approximately 20 students per workshop. The factory simulation lean training has been a success in helping the Tucson factory team leaders, operators and support teams get calibrated on how they can solve problems and remove constraints faster. Carter’s team intends to roll out the expanded Factory Dynamics training program at the business’s other factories in the near future.