More Manufacturing All-Stars

Four manufacturers share their successes in using technology.


This leading supplier of structural aircraft components, lives and dies with its illustrated parts catalog. Thousands of technicians at 650 customer locations worldwide use the catalogs as vital sources of product information. This project, which saved $1.5 million in production costs in the first year, brought the production and distribution of those catalogs in-house. Previously, the Chula Vista, Calif., company sent raw data to an outside catalog producer, which took about six months to compile the information into catalogs. Now it offers customers Web access to state-of-the-art illustrated parts catalogs that pull information in real time from Goodrich's internal content repositories. Customers get up-to-date information they can use to order replacement parts and components with speed and accuracy. Using Enigma's 3C Platform, the company built dynamic catalogs supporting 50 aircraft programs. Goodrich achieved ROI on this multiyear, $640,000 project in just six months while improving efficiency and providing better customer service.




18 months.




Manufacturing winners’ three-year ROI range from 225% to almost 2000%.

Given the classified military information riding over its network, information security is a top priority for this Bethesda, Md., defense contractor. The company's aeronautics business, for example, occurs in 150 buildings spread over three states. Hundreds of contractors and 30,000 employees, many of them toting wireless-enabled laptops, roam the facilities. Security officers knew they had to find a way to eliminate unauthorized wireless networks from the company's air domain and to keep legitimate access points compliant with security policies. The security team also wanted real-time alerts on security breaches and policy violations and centralized access-point management. It found the answer in the AirDefense Enterprise intrusion-detection system , which now monitors the campus airwaves - with marked results. Within the first six months of deployment, Lockheed discovered nearly two dozen rogue access points, a battery of contractors either setting up or probing to find WLANs and a host of ad-hoc networks being created to swap classified data. In addition, the AirDefense system helped identify and stop two off-campus attacks. Besides improved security, business benefits include reduced costs and improved productivity and efficiency. For example, Lockheed attributes a two-month decrease in the time it takes to build a fighter jet to its use of wireless electronic work instruction carts for storing blueprints.


Operating in more than 40 countries, this instrumentation vendor's 3,500 employees use a variety of desktop operating systems - Linux, MacOS, Solaris and Windows variants. Keeping all systems up-to-date and properly configured was difficult, even with an active patch management program and anti-virus protection. IT solved National Instruments' (NI) problem by deploying agentless security appliances that use a behavior-based monitoring technique to stop worms that get past other defensive layers. Once the appliance, Mirage Network's CounterPoint, identifies an infected machine, it instantly removes the computer from the network so the worm cannot propagate. The appliance notifies the help desk, which works with the employee to clean and update the machine. This year, since rolling out CounterPoint to the corporate campus in Austin, Texas, and seven international branches, the appliance has spotted four worms that had sneaked past outer security layers. NI spent $175,000 on hardware and maintenance to cover the Austin campus and seven other sites. Over three years, IT estimates it will save between $234,000 and $390,000 in IT response costs and lost productivity because of worms.


Imagine the configuration nightmare when customized products - screw jacks, for example - have 45,000 basic configurations and millions of potential combinations. That's the challenge that led Nook, which makes linear motion components, to a next-generation Web tool that lets customers configure and download CAD models of its products instantaneously - and then easily and quickly reconfigure and download again to make sure they get the exact configurations needed. The Cleveland company built its online catalog using 3D PartStream.NET from SolidWorks in a project budgeted at slightly more than $150,000. Previously, Nook handled requests for 3-D models manually, through a process that took about one week.

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