Raytheon's CEO talks with suppliers about the critical role they play
Good working relationships are critical to the success of both defense contractors and their suppliers.
That was the message from Raytheon Chairman and CEO Thomas A. Kennedy, as he delivered the keynote address at a gathering of many of the world’s top aerospace suppliers.
The event was the fall meeting of the Supplier Management Council of the Aerospace Industries Association. Suppliers came to learn about trends, discuss challenges facing the industry and share ideas on how to overcome them.
Kennedy shared his perspective on the tough issues, large and small, that are of most concern to global suppliers.
“To face the three challenges that face our industry – cost, competition and compliance – we need to do it together,” Kennedy told the room, which was packed with more than 200 attendees. “The relationships between Raytheon and its supply chain are critical to the success of its programs and the company. It’s embedded in the company’s strategy.”
Raytheon hosted this year’s meeting in Tucson, Arizona, where the company’s missile systems business is based.
Raytheon cultivates its relationships with suppliers. It has a mentor program to help small businesses that may not otherwise be able to compete. It also offers a team of supply chain and engineering professionals to help those businesses develop the skills required to become large-scale suppliers to the defense industry.
“We wouldn’t be where we are without that leadership, that mentoring, that sophistication that [Raytheon’s] supplier council provides,” said Shawn O’Connell, vice president for EnerSys, a supplier of military batteries. "They’re working right there with you to develop those competencies. Being a smaller player, we would have never been able to address that on our own."
Druing the three-day event, attendees toured Raytheon’s cutting-edge factories, seeing up close how they contribute to some of the most advanced technologies and capabilities in the world.
“It’s a huge benefit to do these tours and be able to go back and speak about our piece of the supply chain that results in an end device that keeps our country safe,” said Mark Matthews, director of sales and marketing for EnerSys.
Success is a two-way street, Kennedy told suppliers.
“The thing that each and every one of you does to make our country great: You create jobs," he said. "But not just regular jobs; you create noble jobs, the foundation of our great nation. It’s what we do.”
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