Textron is one of the world’s best-known multi-industry companies. Bell Helicopter is a division of Textron. Bell Helicopter is an American helicopter and tiltrotor manufacturer. Bell Helicopter applies Textron Six Sigma processes and tools to ensure prompt, if not ahead-of-schedule deliveries. Bell Helicopter focus is on-time delivery but this is not to say that on-time delivery is the only measurement. Bell Helicopter products must also be of high quality, this is not an advantage this is a necessity. It is understandable why any aeronautical manufacturer must have a quality assurance division to assure that all of their products are being manufactured and delivered to be as safe as possible. So for any manufacturer, not just the Bell Helicopter company to adopt a quality improvement program such as Six Sigma, then the company must “remind” itself what they are in the business of. This being to produce safe products, to be more productive is a benefit of Six Sigma, but to produce the safest product shall still and always be the main idea of the manufacturer.
In 2008, Bell Helicopter delivered ninth OH-58D aircraft to be modified under the current Kiowa Warrior Safety Enhancement Program contract ahead of schedule. The aircraft was designed and manufactured out of the need for deployment to Iraq and Afghanistan, locations that are climatically extreme and more susceptible to corrosion from sand. So how did Bell Helicopter cope with the demands of its business?
Bell Helicopter was about to deliver their product two months in advance of the scheduled completion date because of its adaptation of the Textron Six Sigma process. Textron Six Sigma harps on the philosophy of customers coming first. With that said, every product will be customized to fit the customer’s every need. Textron Six Sigma itself is a data-driven process designed to eliminate waste, reduce variation and drive growth. (www.sixsig.info) And that is exactly what it has done within the Bell Helicopter manufacturing company. Textron Six Sigma is a set of tools and techniques that not only the Bell Helicopter manufacturers follow but also the entire Textron Corporation. Textron Six Sigma is one quality improvement program as revamped the Bell Helicopter business and will lead it into the future of aviation manufacturing.