The Leading Edge

moogAs it has led its industry in empowering its manufacturing work force, Moog today is at the leading edge of another business trend. In an initial contract worth more than $100 million, Moog is supplying all of the flight-control actuation technology for the F-35 Joint Strike fighter, but it won’t be working alone.

At the request of lead contractor Lockheed Martin, Moog will partner with Parker Hannifin. Brady expects such partnerships will be more common in the future, although for the time being they represent a bit of a cultural change for the collaborating companies. “They are our competitor and it represents a challenge,” he acknowledges, explaining that Lockheed wanted to bring together “the best minds in the industry” on the F-35 project.

“We’ll share the burdens and benefits of this great opportunity,” he says. “We believe that collaboration is an appropriate industry response to the challenges of advancing technology in today’s cost-conscious environment. Fortunately, our view is shared by Steve Hayes, president of Parker Aerospace.”

As in most industries, aerospace customers have higher expectations today. “It certainly has changed,” says Brady, comparing today’s demands with those Moog faced 36 years ago, when he joined the company. Not surprisingly, companies that assemble aircraft and weapons systems have extremely high quality demands.

But continually declining prices, as well as on-time delivery, also are treated as givens today. For example, a current Moog contract with Boeing will allow the giant aircraft company to pay 1992 prices in 2008. “This is what necessitates our continual productivity improvement,” Brady says.

To stay at the head of its game, Moog has set bold goals and strategies. In the aircraft division, these include:

• Maintaining leading-edge technology in flight control, engine control and active vibration controls.

• Offering customers complete actuation system packages, and aligning its business plans with customer objectives.

• Partnering with prime contractor R&D centers.

• Aggressively pursuing cost and cycle time reductions in all business areas.

• Maintaining the “world’s most responsive” aftermarket support services, and expanding its aftermarket sales by partnering with government depots and commercial maintenance organizations.

“The culture of the company is to produce a better-performing product that has the best reliability, with the best service and support,” Brady says.