In the United States of America, the Department of Defense and the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) are the two largest consumers of aerospace technology and products. Others include the very large airline industry. The aerospace industry employed 472,000 wage and salary workers in 2006. Most of those jobs were in Washington state and in California, with Missouri and Texas also important. The leading aerospace manufacturers in the U.S. are Boeing, United Technologies Corporation, Lockheed Martin, and Raytheon.

These manufacturers are facing an increasing labor shortage as skilled U.S. workers age and retire. The Creek Systems Workforce Acquisition program is a critical component for the Aerospace Industry with the ongoing supply of highly qualified and specialized labor force.

Project - The project involved assisting a large aerospace and defense contractor with several site specific transitions from dozens of legacy systems to SAP. Over the course of the project Creek Systems participated in the development of SAP training materials, project tracking for training materials, course scheduling, website design and maintenance, managing the transactional and process help documents, design and maintenance of a team newsletter, and involvement in change management communications aimed at assisting the client’s system end-users in accomplishing a smooth transition from their old (known) systems to a new (unknown) system. Many thousands of employees were impacted.

Client Challenge - The challenge was to assess the client’s social environment, technical requirements and limitations, and identify established human resource communication channels to determine the best means of communication/flow-down to end-users. Part of the challenge was the wide disparity in the client’s end-user computer knowledge. End-users ranged from systems programmers to shop floor personnel unfamiliar with using computers and requiring practice to double-click a mouse. Technical requirements involved getting up-to-speed with numerous software programs already selected for the program and becoming familiar with the corporate hardware and software limitations. For example, Websites were maintained on a UNIX system while all documents (including HTML files) were created on PCs using Windows. This rendered various software automated processes useless as they were designed to function from Windows to Windows and not Windows to UNIX (and even if the programs could “talk to each other” there was an additional issue of UNIX security levels that required manual password inputs).

Creek Systems Solution - The solution was the development of a project specific website which Creek Systems was able to create within the framework of the client’s web template. The main purpose of the website was to be a “one-stop-shop” for end-user project information. Creek Systems then designed and implemented a help documentation library that is accessible from the project website. The library was established to be a central project document repository managed by a gatekeeper. Working closely with the client and involving numerous departments, Creek Systems created training courses, lunch-time learning sessions, website bulletins, a means for submitting questions via the website, a project newsletter, and a contact list of all team members and system power users which is also available from the website. Creek Systems taught a computer basics course to help end-users get up to speed with the client’s computers.

To transfer web files from Windows to UNIX Creek Systems used a program that can make the two operating systems “talk to each other.” The project library includes SAP transactional documentation developed in InfoPak, process documents, and process flows. The library currently contains over 2,500 documents. Web surveys were completed and metrics tallied to determine the usability of the website and refine it for easier end-user usability. The power user community was tapped to help flow-down timely communications and help end-users become more familiar with the project website and project library.


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