Round 'Em Up

Wanted: The Best Of The Best

The firm: Aerospace manufacturer Lockheed Martin Corp.'s Ft. Worth, Texas-based Aeronautics Material Management Center (AMMC)

The slice: Twenty-two percent to 28 percent of the company's contracting dollars go to small, disadvantaged and women-owned businesses. Although actual dollars spent are increasing, fewer subcontractors are winning awards due to downsizing.

The criteria: To be a successful AMMC subcontractor, you must meet the industry's most stringent requirements, including a 98 percent on-time delivery schedule and zero percent product rejection over a 12-month period. For products and services that support the factory, think along the lines of quality and competitive pricing.

The hook: John Morrow, a procurement director for Lockheed's AMMC, describes the corporation as "an expensive operation to do business with." If a subcontractor can offer creative ideas that will save Lockheed time and money, procurement decision makers are sure to take notice. Some examples include warehousing or storing products for Lockheed, or offering one-stop shopping for products and services other than just your core function, thus eliminating Lockheed's need for additional vendors.

The spin: "Don't give up easily, and keep knocking on our door," says Morrow. "If there's an opportunity that's compelling, we'll recognize it and allow a [subcontractor] to bid."

The connection: What makes your product or service superior to the competition's? Determine that, and you're ready to approach one of the company's five nationwide procurement agencies, each of which has a small-business office. Contact Lockheed's Jim Randle at (817) 762-1603 or Jim.W.Randle@lmco.com

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This article was originally published in the August 1998 print edition of Entrepreneur with the headline: Round 'Em Up.

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