September 22, 2009
Textron's Bell Helicopter awarded Latrobe Specialty Steel Premier Supplierstatus. Bell's Premier Supplier status requires Latrobe Specialty Steel (LSS), an ISO9001 and AS9100 registered company, to deliver on-time quality material and pass an examination of an on-site team of Bell inspectors.
"The Bell assessment auditors looked at the core aspects of LSS's quality systems, but they also examined rarely inspected niches. For example, they looked at management structure, security, disaster recovery, environmental policy and even housekeeping," said Scott Balliett, LSS's director of technology and quality systems. Balliett continued, "As experienced aerospace materials suppliers, we work with our customers' auditors regularly. Bell Helicopter's precursor audit for Premier Supplier status went beyond the routine inspection."
In September 2008, Bell Helicopter picked 20 Premier Supplier candidates with "Business Support Overhead" that sustains superior products. The consequent rigorous award inspection requires a minimum score of 87 percent, but LSS comfortably exceeded this threshold, the company reported.
The time gap between the on-site assessment and the Premier Supplier award allowed Bell Helicopter to measure LSS's delivery timeliness. LSS delivered materials to Bell Helicopter 98 percent on-time.
LSS makes alloys for Bell Helicopter's rotor shafts and drive systems used on civilian and military helicopters.