March 2, 2015 – The United States Air Force (USAF) recognized Sierra Nevada Corporation (SNC) with the ultimate customer satisfaction rating by naming SNC a “Tier 1 Superior Supplier.” The Pentagon’s Superior Supplier Incentive Program (SSIP) is designed to recognized exceptional conduct in the areas of cost, schedule, performance, quality and business relations. In terms of firms whose primary capabilities are to provide integrated aerospace platforms and systems for the Government, SNC and Lockheed Martin were the only two companies on the Tier 1 list.
“SNC is extremely honored to be named a Tier 1 Superior Supplier, proving it is a top performing aerospace company,” said Chief Executive Officer Fatih Ozmen. “SNC’s emphasis has always been on high-performance delivery to our customers based on a relationship of integrity, trust, and accountability. SNC continues to focus on innovation, agility and disruptive solutions that create real value for all of our customers, in both the government and commercial sector.”
The Washington Post adeptly described the SSIP as the Pentagon’s “report card…to highlight the top performers and showcase those that aren’t doing as well.”
“The new report-card-like system is a way for companies to ’get some feedback from us about how their performance is, relative to their peers,’ Frank Kendall, the under secretary of defense for acquisition, technology and logistics, told the Army News Service. “The ratings are part of an effort, known as Better Buying Power, to improve the way the Pentagon buys everything from IT services to aircraft carriers and missiles. The companies were judged on contract performance, including whether they finished on-time and on-budget.”
SSIP assesses three years’ worth of performance data gathered through an internal Pentagon data system known as the Contractor Performance Assessment Reporting System (CPARS). The services then rate the 25 largest industry partners for each service based on contract obligations, material quality and cost-effectiveness into three tiers of performance, with “Tier 1” being the highest ranking.
William A. LaPlante, assistant secretary of the Air Force for acquisition, highlighted another reason for publishing the list. “We do this in all parts of our society. We rank order people, businesses and frankly, we owe it to the taxpayer and the companies to show where people are,” he said. The Air Force reported the ratings under the heading of “Key defense suppliers recognized for stellar delivery to warfighters.”
Planning for the U.S. Army and U.S. Air Force SSIP started last year. Within each company, business sectors were determined based on the best available information; e.g., publicly-traded companies were broken out in the same way they are reported to the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission. The program is designed to help industry recognize its peak performers based on past performance data and evaluations by program managers.
“It’s a point of pride for companies to be called out for being at the top of their game,” LaPlante said.