Partnership to Improve Competitiveness of Supply Chain

Danville, Harrisonburg, Lynchburg, Martinsville, Newport News, Norfolk, Richmond, Roanoke, Winchester, Wytheville, VA -- Northrop Grumman Newport News and Virginia’s A.L. Philpott Manufacturing Extension Partnership (VPMEP) have initiated a strategic program that extends development of lean manufacturing concepts and methods to Northrop Grumman Newport News suppliers, nationwide.

Initial work involves 23 suppliers, including 8 in Virginia, that were selected to enter into a fast-paced series of rapid improvement projects, utilizing lean methods applied in a modular fashion. The program allows manufacturers and distributors supplying complex commodities such as valves, pipes, and fittings to train in and apply Lean Enterprise technologies focused on improving quality, delivery, and total cost performance. The program involves a unique cost sharing relationship, where Northrop Grumman Newport News and the suppliers share equally in the initial investment towards achieving best-in-class capabilities. VPMEP provides all project management services including assessment, scope development, and delivery of assistance required for supply chain improvements to occur.

John Jordan, Director, Sourcing for Newport News comments: “Suppliers play a critical role in all of our new construction and overhaul programs for aircraft carriers and submarines. The nationwide coverage of the manufacturing extension partnerships enables us to effectively implement lean practices across our geographically dispersed supplier base. We have been applying lean principles within Northrop Grumman Newport News to drive out waste and mitigate process variation. Our partnership with VPMEP helps to extend that focus across the supply chain.”

Bill Donohue, Operations Manager for VPMEP, added, “VPMEP’s relationship with Newport News, including our partners at the Technology Applications Center of Old Dominion University, began in 1999. The Shipyard has achieved remarkable progress toward becoming a Lean Enterprise. This application of Supplier Lean Integration Modules employs fundamental building block techniques developed by the National Institute of Standards and Technology Manufacturing Extension Program (NIST-MEP). The process aligns Newport News’ strategy with extended value streams, ensuring that suppliers can drive out waste and non-value added activities, improving competitiveness and agility throughout the supply chain. Northrop Grumman Newport News and VPMEP personnel are working collaboratively with suppliers to understand their barriers, develop lean processes, agree on common measures, and ultimately to improve quality, delivery, and overall cost performance. We are fortunate to be able to deliver this cost effective program nationwide, using the extensive resources of our NIST-MEP affiliates.”

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