UTC Enterprise Change Case Study Series
LAI has released four new research case studies that focus on United Technologies Corporation (UTC) and its enterprise change efforts over the past two decades. UTC’s efforts have culminated in the UTC Achieving Competitive Excellence (ACE) Operating System. ACE is a business operating system that integrates strategic and operational performance management with lean and quality continuous improvement methods. ACE has enabled UTC to successfully manage enterprise change across all of its companies, including Carrier Corporation, Hamilton Sundstrand, Otis, Pratt & Whitney, Sikorsky Aircraft, UTC Fire & Security, and UTC Power. According to Reuters News, UTC has been the highest performing corporation on the Standard & Poor’s 500 list over the past decade. The reason for that performance is UTC’s ACE operating system. These four case studies outline how ACE was developed and how it has been applied in different UTC companies and settings.
The extraordinary performance of and improvements among UTC’s companies have their origins in a two-decade-long effort, started in 1998 and championed by leaders at many levels, to develop and apply what has become its ACE Operating System. This case study describes the history of ACE, the methods it encompasses, and how it has been developed and promoted over time to have a wide-ranging impact on all of UTC’s companies and key suppliers. The case is based on three years of observation and interviews from June 2007 to February 2010 and includes interviews with UTC CEOs, executives, directors, managers, and key personnel involved in developing ACE. This is a unique case study that provides information on UTC’s ACE program and methods for the first time. UTC continues to build on its ACE methodology to ensure ongoing and sustainable enterprise excellence. UTC's goal for 2013 is to have more than 70% of its suppliers achieve Supplier Gold or Performing certification.
Roth, George. “United Technologies Corporation Achieving Competitive Excellence (ACE) Operating System Case Study.” LAI Case Study. (November 30, 2010, released March 7, 2011)
This case study illustrates the application of ACE to business processes in UTC’s Internal Audit Division (IAD), which conducts financial and compliance audits of UTC’s companies. This case describes the application of ACE to the development of standard business processes and standardized work for specific audit tasks, improving Auditor Assistant program functions to support ACE, and creating a culture of continuous improvement. Particularly interesting is the use of “turnbacks,” a unique element of the ACE Quality Control Process Charting (QCPC) method, which captures potential issues and mobilizes efforts to address potential problems before they happen. Efforts to establish ACE created a worse-before-better dynamic, something that all organizations investing in continuous improvement need to prepare for. This study covers IAD’s progression through ACE Qualifying, Bronze, Silver, and Gold certification levels and its ACE Gold recertification.
Roth, George. “United Technologies Corporation Internal Audit Department (IAD) Case Study.” LAI Case Study. (August 11, 2008, released March 7, 2011)
HMI is a wholly owned subsidiary of Pratt & Whitney and produces super alloy metal billets and metal powders for use in commercial and military engines. HMI operates as a foundry with other testing and metal working support activities. HMI is an early adopter of ACE, and LAI studied it both because of its success with improvement activities and high operational performance and to learn how it handled the challenges of sustaining high performance over many years. HMI is also a classic example of the successful use of improvements in a manufacturing environment made possible with lean and continuous improvement methods. HMI also demonstrates the extension of these methods across all production operations and how customers and suppliers achieve and maintain enterprise excellence.
Roth, George, and Phech Colatat. “Pratt & Whitney Homogenous Metals, Inc. (HMI) Case Study.” LAI Case Study. (October 6, 2009, released March 7, 2011)
The Deficiency Report Investigation Process encompasses numerous UTC companies. MIT doctoral student Phech Colatat’s case study describes and analyzes the process by which a Pratt & Whitney manager used the ACE Operating System to successfully address United States Air Force (USAF) concerns that the Deficiency Report Investigation Process was taking too long and involved too many overdue items. The efforts required diagnosing and changing a process that involved multiple USAF and UTC organizations and offices. It is a true enterprise change case study that clearly demonstrates the improvements that were possible through UTC’s work with ACE and Pratt & Whitney’s work with its customers and suppliers.
Colatat, Phech. “Process Improvements in Pratt & Whitney’s Deficiency Report Investigation Process.” LAI Case Study. (June 17, 2010, released March 7, 2011)
 Mnyandu, E., “Wall Street’s lost decade eclipses upbeat 2009”, Dec 23, 2009, www.reuters.com.