Hoshin Kanri Key to Success at Orbital Sciences

Oct. 11, 2011
Orbital Sciences' lean practices are essential to its mission.

Orbital Sciences has been on its lean journey for the past seven years and has used Hoshin Kanri in planning its goals. "The CEO goals flow to the general managers of the business then to the directors and onto the managers," explains Ed Kestel, Technical Operations East, Orbital Sciences Corp. "This is how all of our annual goals are set." Annual goals are based on three and five year plans.

In order to keep a close handle on how well objectives are being met the business unit managers meet with the directors the first week of every month to review objectives from the preceding month. If a goal is not met the team needs to show a positive trend in their corrective actions to demonstrate that they are on their way to meeting the goal.

Orbital develops and manufactures small- and medium-class rockets and space systems for commercial, military and civil government customers. The company's primary products are satellites and launch vehicles, including low-Earth orbit, geosynchronous-Earth orbit and planetary exploration spacecraft for communications, remote sensing, scientific and defense missions; human-rated space systems for Earth-orbit, lunar and other missions; ground- and air-launched rockets that deliver satellites into orbit; and missile defense systems that are used as interceptor and target vehicles.

Orbital also provides satellite subsystems and space-related technical services to U.S. Government agencies and laboratories.

As the company must be certified and meet NASA standards lean is an important tool. Lean, with an emphasis on six sigma, is used for any process improvement or changes.

While its lean efforts are advanced, the company continues to push forward and has set a goal of achieving a Bronze level. The company has also fully implemented 5S.

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