Perhaps maybe, maybe not have heard there is a government unmanned aerial vehicle competition going on. Kratos Defense is in the mix with the XW-58. I worked this project for a couple years and from the onset it has been one headache after another. We were told that this is the biggest and most important project in the entire company and we have to build x amount by so and so date. Well that date has come and gone and here is some of the hilariously frustrating reasons why. When building something new and state of the art you need engineers and a lot of them. Most of the engineers that we hired for the Oklahoma site are fresh out of college and have never even been on a plane let alone design and build one. The drive of these guys and girls is there but every engineering decision has to be made from the engineers from Sacramento California who are not even on site. Emails, pictures, prints, drawings, all flow back and forth to a bunch of nameless in reachable engineers 1800 miles away. Of course they have their own projects they are working on and so the most important project in the company is not worth their time. I believe that someone forgot to tell them that this was a big deal. Or, as every company zoom meeting with the CEO comes the question “Is California shutting down and moving the plant to Oklahoma?” Of course we get the political business answer of “There are no plans of this at the moment” which I am sure that leaves them scared to assist us in being successful. Other items is that we are brand new and don’t have all the things we need to perform such a feat. We don’t have vendors here and so when we need tools or parts we must either hot shot them from Cali, overnight them or as we prefer to acquire them locally. The issue with the later is that the company in Oklahoma was only given 1 buyer, with 1 credit card with a low limit. Airplanes and their parts are super expensive so when the bill is paid it is maxed out in the first thirty minutes. The new buyer who was sent to Cali, to train was trained to sort the California orders to the top and the Oklahoma orders to the bottom. Several time we were at a complete work stoppage for a $5 drill bit that we wait for over weeks. Decisions, two weeks to get a path forward. Can we drill this and install, weeks!. Many times it takes calling a VP and getting that person to go yank a knot into some ones ass. Unreal. When I started we had 12 engineers on site and ready to hire more. With the political B.S. that is going on we have reduced that number to 3. They have all went to our competitor Boeing. With a mechanical staff of 20 builders and still hiring we have at a minimum 10 at any part of the day sitting idle with no work to do. This is because they decided to reduce our money maker production to focus on the new product the XQ-58. With the delays for answers both programs are sitting idle. No work released and No work to do. Now that being said our KPI scores are sorry to put it kindly, utilization is at around 40% and efficiency is a whopping 50%. Yet not one engineer is ever at the meetings where the production staff just gets berated for the numbers that are direct results of poor engineering practices. Its sad that a dream job, a life goal and a great company has fallen so far off the rails that if they don’t make some major changes soon there will not be any more XQ-58’s made in Oklahoma or California either. If you ever want to hear more details feel free to reach out to me at 4057405444. Loved the book. finished it in 24 hours. I couldn’t hardly put it down. People at the PUB must have thought i had lost my mind while I was laughing by myself.
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