Lockheed Martin LM21, Six Sigma, and Lean

Lockheed Martin has been using Six Sigma and Lean since the late 90s. Like many other companies the early use of the methodologies took place in small pockets around the company without a centralized effort. Then in 1999 Lockheed Martin started the LM21 initiative. LM21 stands for Lockheed Martin in the 21st Century and is the premier program for implementing Lean and Six Sigma concepts to achieve operating excellence throughoutthe entire organization. The LM21 initiative has tallied up some impressive results over the years.

Savings and Benefits

“LM21 acts as a catalyst for facilitating improvements in every aspect of the design and manufacturing process. At last count, the LM21 process was responsible for more than $5 Billion in net savings across our corporation. Those savings not only hold down costs – which, by the way, are mostly passed through to our customers – but they also accrue over time, resulting in streamlined operations, reduced overhead, better quality, less re-work, improved productivity and enhanced overall performance.”

Vance D. Coffman
(Former) Chairman and CEO, Lockheed Martin Corporation
March 23, 2004
Lockheed Martin Website

“We continue to tap the enormous talent of our workforce through our LM21 Operating Excellence. In fact, LM21 initiatives in lean manufacturing and Six Sigma were instrumental in demonstrating cost and cycle time savings opportunities as we developed the winning bid for Joint Strike Fighter.”

2001 Annual Report

“Not just for the factory floor, Lockheed Martin applies Lean Six Sigma concepts to purchasing, sales and marketing, order processing, product development, human resources management and other administrative functions. Improving quality and speed in all of our transactional areas allows us to realize tremendous value-creation across the organization as a whole.”

Lockheed Website

Articles and Links

Handpicked Content:   Aerospace and Defense Industry - Six Sigma

The Lean Enterprise – A Management Philosophy at Lockheed Martin, Defense AR Journal, August to November 2004

Meeting the Challenge of Integrating Cost, Performance, Quality and Schedule Demands in Missile Defense, Lockheed Martin Website, March 23, 2004

LM21, Lockheed Martin Website

Lean Manufacturing and the Environment – Lockheed Martin, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency

Firms Aim for Six Sigma Efficiency, USA Today, 1998

Process Design and Management Overview, Lockheed Martin Website

Creating Employee Excitement – Case Study, Lockheed Martin, L.M. Dulye & Co.

Rutgers University, Six Sigma Training by Lockheed Martin Trainers

Comments 2

  1. Foobar

    If the disastrous F-35 boondoggle happened thanks to LM21, that sounds like a really good reason not to use LM21.

  2. Peter C Riley

    I was Green Belt trained under LM21 while with Lockheed Martin with the F-35 program. The training was great, and I was excited to employ my new knowledge to areas where I saw need for improvement and waste elimination. After my certification, I was part of a number of SIA events. Most involved minor process changes, while one or two were significant. The biggest issue I found was that while there were a lot of resources (money, time, facilities, etc.) put into conducting these events, once completed, most senior management weren’t interested in staying engaged in the change progress. And in some cases didn’t provide the support needed to fully implement the changes derived through the SIA. Since then, I have found that conducting small SIA events and focusing on what can easily be done through “Just Do It” actions are the best bang for the buck in terms of ROI. LM21 continues to provide benefits in my current position long after my initial training.

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