Program & Supplier Management

Program & Supplier Management

Our international program manager, project managers, and supplier managers each have over 20 years of aerospace experience successfully delivering complex systems, some in excess of $1B.  They started their careers developing technical expertise before honing their managment skills.  Our supplier managers use our proprietary methods to ensure peak supplier performance or to turn around challenging projects.

Strategic Planning

Creating a holistic plan to grow your business from where it is today to a defined future target takes solid planning, execution, and review.  It is important to understand the current competitive environment, company capabilities, and shifts and rifts occurring in the market.  The strategic plan builds on the core competencies and grows the organization in critical areas to meet the future company needs.  From this then comes a clear action plan with accountabilities that are reviewed regularly to ensure success.

The Crean & Associates team of former company executives, business development specialists, supplier managers, and technical subject matter experts provides our clients with the right people at the right point in the process to develop a clear and comprehensive strategic plan and execution methodology.  Our perspective working across the industry assists our clients with assessing where they can leverage opportunities in the changing industry landscape.  We recognize the critical success factors in flowing down and performing to a strategic plan as well that ensure that the right communication, goals, and incentives are in place to assure successful implementation.


Program Management

From proposal to delivery, our international program managers bring the critical skills and background working with mid-sized as well as Fortune 100 companies.  This gives them both the experience to perform but also a clear perspective on our clients’ customers’ needs and expectations in order to manage the customer relationship.  We scale the management tools and methods to match the scale of the program in order to meet customer objectives, clients’ expectations, and profit requirements.  Our hands-on experience ranges from $1B+ programs to $1M programs.  Whether it is just a program manager or it is a PM with some needed skilled support in the program office, Crean & Associates has the resources our clients require to start out right and move quickly, or to turn-around troubled programs.


Project Management

The rubber meets the road with outstanding project management.  Great project managers distill all the information and pressures from both upper management and their team of skilled engineers and technicians to develop resource-loaded schedules, balanced technical teams, and key suppliers into delivering critical program elements on time, on budget, and meeting all customer requirements for quality and performance.  The level of effort and the skills required for outstanding project management varies significantly throughout the life cycle of a program, and Crean & Associates project managers either support from order to delivery or provide critical added bandwidth or added skills at key times, such as leading up to program reviews, developing specifications to support getting suppliers on board, or preparing for important integration and test activities.

Operations Management

The most outstanding Operations Managers and company executives are successful because they understand that there is no other part of the organization that benefits more from outside support than operations.  Since operations is the ringing cash register, it gets lots of visibility, but it often gets the least helpful kind of real attention and support.  Crean & Associates’ operations specialists are both advocate and coach for the Operations Team, bringing a wealth of experience-based best practices and working across all of the client organizations to ensure operations has everything they need to deliver that perfect product on time to the customer.

Some of the many challenges of the Operations Manager include:

  • Maintaining high levels of product quality & absorbing the cost & schedule impact of quality escapes
  • Absorbing delays and mistakes from prior process steps and still deliver on-time
  • Moving to new facilities
  • Changing Production Rates
  • New Product Introductions
  • Buying and implementing new equipment
  • Reacting to shifting priorities from Program Managers, customers, executives, & Finance
  • Meeting numerous and often poorly conceived Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) or goals (when other organizations often have no KPI measures).
  • Maintaining strong vendor relationships while pressuring them to meet shifting deadlines
  • Maintaining equipment and working around impacts from machine down-time
  • Managing a large diverse team with a wide variety of skills & experience
  • Continuously improving production cost
  • And much more …

Operations is so critical to the company, it is analogous to the engine of a ship — with one big exception.   Only highly qualified personnel are allowed to work on a ship’s engine.  Yet everyone who has ever read a book on “Lean” believes they are qualified to tinker with how the “floor” operates.  And behind them are an army of “influencers” on operations who may not understand their impact.

Let’s look at one example:
Should the CFO put daily, weekly, monthly, and/or quarterly financial goals on operations?  Or should he/she not put any financial goals on operations?  The answer depends on many factors, but answer incorrectly and profitability does not just decline, it plummets.

Operations must have a highly experienced outside arbiter like Crean & Associates to influence at the highest levels of the company on their behalf to gain appropriate alignment.  In addition, Operations Managers who are committed to success gain invaluable insight from the breadth of experience brought by Crean & Associates Operations Specialists.  We work hand-in-hand with operations leaders to assist them in implementing the best practices from across multiple industries.  That is why our operations team works across all industries — in order to continually improve our ability to continuously improve our clients’ operations.

Don’t wait for a crisis, have Crean & Associates support your Operations Manager to perform preventive maintenance on the Operations Engine.

We often get a call, “we have tried everything, but production efficiency and rates are dropping despite our team working harder and harder.” It is like the stranded captain out at sea trying to repair his own engine. We have 100% success rate in turning such operations around and delivering outstanding ROI, but don’t wait for the crisis. Crean & Associates personnel are hand selected not just because of their breadth of experience, but also because they enjoy working at every level of the organization. They have no problem, for example, briefing the company President and then walking out to the floor and working with the floor personnel to relabel WIP boxes to implement a new tracking & priority system.

Don’t wait too long – take action quickly to keep operations highly efficient; it is the ringing cash register and it deserves specialized attention and support.  Like the boat captain that uses qualified mechanics to ensure his engine does not leave him stranded at sea, highly experienced outside support of the Operations Engine is essential to maintaining high levels of efficiency.

Whether your challenge is moving to a new facility, changes in customer demand, improving quality, solving a degenerative performance issues, or providing regularly scheduled reviews to assure peak operational performance to best practice benchmarks, Crean & Associates excels as your operations partner.

Program Office Support

Program Offices require a variety of support including program schedules, finance, product assurance, systems engineering, chief engineer, configuration management, data management, and more.

Crean & Associates supports Program Managers with highly skilled resources to support their successful implementation of the program objectives.

Supplier Development & Supply Chain Management

Supplier Development is a nice way of saying,

“Can you please do something to help my suppliers deliver quality products on-time that meet the performance specification requirements.”

The answer is: Yes, we can.

Supplier issues come from many potential sources such as:

  • Issues surrounding the contract and/or specifications
  • Communication and information transfer
  • Insufficient technical depth
  • Inability to meet new customer demand increases
  • Production Operations Issues
  • Quality issues
  • Vendor issues
  • Financial issues
  • And much more

As a trusted third party, we are able to support and help develop the needed capability of your suppliers so that they become your most reliable partners rather than a source of fear and loathing.  As a third party we are able to gain great visibility into how demand from competing customers may be impacting your supplier’s ability to deliver.

Crean & Associates’ personnel provide a complete team of experts to support your Supplier Development program.  We have experienced Supplier Program Managers as well as any needed technical subject matter experts.  We also have an operations team that is able to often perform miracles in delivering improved cycle times.

Be proactive!  Supplier disasters come to those that wait.

Crean & Associates’ team can perform supplier assessments to find the biggest supplier risks and opportunities for your programs.  We can help eradicate those risks and maximize the opportunities.

Crean & Associates can support your supply chain through supplier oversight, providing as-needed or full-time on-sight support at your supplier to represent your technical and programmatic interests.  Ensure inspections and other critical decisions are acted upon rapidly with the right personnel looped in proactively to ensure there is no delay in execution or delivery and to provide outstanding Product Assurance.

Voice Of Our Clients

“I really can’t thank you enough.  [Our customer] was so pissed at us for being behind and driving their schedule.  You just turned it all around for us in just a few months.  And now you did it again with the project in Europe – we are now hitting every milestone and we got all of our incentive payments.  I don’t know how you do it every time, but you do.  Thank you, really.”

“Thank you for helping us expand into the integrated market.  Partnering with you for the proposal gave us the technical depth, program management, and supplier relationships we needed to be credible for our customer.  It was a great head start while we backfilled and trained our new team charged with focusing on the new market and customers.”

“I am not sure you really understand the total value Crean & Associates brought… Your program management helped us stand up a new product line that really expanded the business and at the same time, the cost reductions you implemented with the existing business was incredible.  Did you know we sold the company for 13 times what we bought it for?”