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Fostering Continuous Improvement in a Changing Business Context

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dc.contributor.author Cutcher-Gershenfeld, Joel
dc.date.accessioned 2003-03-27T18:23:17Z
dc.date.available 2003-03-27T18:23:17Z
dc.date.issued 2001
dc.identifier.uri http://hdl.handle.net/1721.1/1843
dc.description Case study en
dc.description.abstract For over five decades, Textron Systems has been an important contributor to the U.S. defense aerospace business. Its breakthroughs in thermal protection materials enabled NASA Apollo command modules and Air Force intercontinental missiles to successfully re-enter the earth's atmosphere. High strength, lightweight boron composites from Textron Systems help carry the primary structural load in the Space Shuttle orbiter and today's aircraft carriers rely on Textron's automated landing systems. Textron highlights smart systems, including smart air and ground munitions, as its unique value add in the 21st Century global marketplace -- products that can rapidly acquire, analyze and act on real-time data inputs. For most of its products, such as the smart munitions, Textron Systems is a prime contractor with the U.S. government, while it also serves as a first-tier supplier for other technologies, such as boron composite components. The uncertainties associated with each role -- contractor and supplier -- are different and both are part of the Textron story. The constant adaptation of its product line and business strategy is a defining feature of Textron Systems as a business. This is a significant accomplishment for the business, but a constant challenge when it comes to work organization and skill development. Beginning with quality principles in the 1980s and extending into lean principles in the 1990s, workplace change initiatives have been seen by Textron Systems as key to business success. The current initiative, which is entitled "10X" targets not just incremental gains, but performance gains of an order of magnitude or gains that are ten times current performance. Concurrently, Textron has long invested in employee training and development, another significant part of this case. Textron Systems is part of the larger Textron Corporation, which includes the Textron Automotive Corporation, Cessna, Bell Helicopters and other businesses -- all of which have a high degree of autonomy. Textron Systems is based in Wilmington, Massachusetts, with additional facilities in three other locations. This case study is focused on the Wilmington operations, which are non-union. As a 1,400-person facility, the spirit of the operation is reflected in an internal presentation slide that features a picture of a huge gorilla and the statement, "We're competing with mega en
dc.format.extent 313493 bytes
dc.format.mimetype application/pdf
dc.language.iso en_US
dc.publisher Labor Aerospace Research Agenda en
dc.subject Textron Systems en
dc.subject aerospace en
dc.title Fostering Continuous Improvement in a Changing Business Context en
dc.type Article en


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  • Labor Aerospace Research Agenda
    MIT's Labor Aerospace Research Agenda is committed to advancing theory, practice, and policy with respect to the 21st century aerospace workforce

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