Benefits across the company
Many of Raytheon Technologies’ 14,000 suppliers provide parts to more than one of the company’s businesses. And it’s those cases where on-site support is paying off particularly well, said Sarfraz Nawaz, the company's vice president of supply chain.
“We try to leverage the contacts and the relationships across the organization. When we have common suppliers, someone from Collins who’s there every day can also look into a challenge they’re having at Pratt & Whitney or Raytheon Missiles & Defense, or vice versa.”
One example: An electronics supplier in Asia had fallen behind on its deliveries to Raytheon Missiles & Defense and wasn’t responding to inquiries. Collins Aerospace, which has a significant local presence – including the exact city where the factory was located – dispatched a team quickly.
“They were able to pop in there and create the relationships with the local leadership,” Nawaz said.
Cooperation among the company’s businesses has become especially important as it works to improve its “N-tier visibility,” a term for knowing not just what’s happening at direct suppliers, but at the businesses farther down the line that provide the parts and materials those direct suppliers use.
Nawaz pointed to a recent example that helped alleviate a shortage of microprocessors. The supplier was short on wafers, a key component of microprocessors, so Raytheon Technologies arranged for a wafer manufacturer to provide those parts and earmark them specifically for Raytheon Technologies’ order.
Not long after Keluskar’s team and Precipart sorted out the problems brought on by the 2019 spike in demand for aircraft parts, the COVID-19 pandemic added even more complications. While business from commercial aerospace dropped, demand for gears for military systems remained steady – and Precipart’s medical orders surged, with gears needed for equipment such as ventilators.
Helping Precipart meet its obligations in the face of those fluctuations demonstrated the value of having Keluskar as a local point of contact. That made it much easier to keep communication going – and to keep Precipart’s production lines moving on high-priority items – as the gear company weathered yet another unexpected disruption.
In the long term, local support is also helping suppliers stay in the yellow and green on Keluskar’s spreadsheet.
“I’m a Long Islander. I’ve lived here my whole life. These are my neighbors, some of them. Their kids go to the same school district as mine,” Keluskar said. “We have our people spread throughout. It’s given us the flexibility to be where we need to be, faster, and to address issues immediately.”