Supplier Excellence Alliance now offers industry-standard certification

Feb. 29, 2008

The Supplier Excellence Alliance now provides a Certification for aerospace, defense and space supplier companies that meets the criteria of most prime and tier-one contractors for continuous improvement and process management.

Supplier Excellence Alliance (SEA) ( board chairman, Michael G. Beason said the aerospace, defense and space industry SEA Certification process is now available to supplier organizations.

SEA is the non-profit alliance of aerospace and defense prime and tier-one contractors and leading sub-tier suppliers organized to transform the global supply chain. Prime-empowered and supplier-led, SEA seeks to accelerate the performance of small and mid-sized production suppliers.

The SEA Certification is endorsed by virtually all major prime and tier-one contractors as the preferred approach to continuous improvement and process management. "While the SEA Certification is voluntary, it will distinguish the highest performing supplier companies and provide primes and tier-ones with a reliable way to identify low-risk, high-performing suppliers," Beason said.

SEA Certification is based on the SEA Roadmap, the infrastructure that helps supplier organizations systematically build a lean enterprise -- an organization focused on the elimination of waste throughout the value stream. A lean enterprise achieves aggressive goals for cost reduction, on-time delivery, excellent quality and shorter lead times. A lean enterprise has a culture where all employees work toward lean goals, customer satisfaction and continuous improvement. The SEA Roadmap criteria also serves as the basis for the SEA Aerospace and Defense Supply Chain Awards process.

SEA Certification follows the three stages of the SEA Roadmap for development (Stage I - Stabilization, Stage II - Supply Chain Integration, and Stage III - Sustainability). Supplier companies pursue the coveted SEA Certification for each Stage of the Roadmap. To become certified, a supplier company must satisfactorily meet criteria in four critical areas: Leadership and Culture, Workforce Development, Operational Excellence and Business Results.

Bi-Annual Certification for each stage occurs through a three-day, on-site audit.

Annual Surveillance Audits are available to help suppliers monitor their sustainability. For an easy step-by-step introduction to the SEA Certification process, supplier organizations wishing to pursue SEA Certification should visit the SEA website.

SEA member companies represented on its board of directors include The Boeing Company, Lockheed Martin Corporation, Northrop Grumman Corporation, United Technologies, Inc, Parker Aerospace, Rockwell Collins, Cessna Aircraft Company, Honeywell Aerospace, Hitco Carbon Composites, Dresser-Rand, Roberts Tool Company, Cristek Interconnects, Photo Etch Company, Bodycote Thermal Processing and DRS Technologies.

SEA sponsors include Mori Seiki USA, Inc. and Kennemetal, Inc.

SEA partners and alliances include Society of Manufacturing Engineers (SME), International Aerospace Quality Group (IAQG), Society of British Aerospace Companies, California Council for Excellence, California Employment Training Panel, Alliance for Manufacturing & Technology (AM&T) and Net-Inspect.