Plane to hit new outsourcing heights

28 March 2001
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29 March 2001 | David Arminas

Aircraft manufacturer Airbus Industrie will outsource more parts for its super-jumbo A380 than for any previous model, according to Ray Wilson, executive vice-president of purchasing.

"On the A380, we are going to have much higher levels of outsourcing," Wilson told delegates at the Society of British Aerospace Companies annual conference this month.

"Most of the wing parts will be from external sources. Between 30 and 40 per cent of the airframe will be sourced outside the Airbus system."

In common with many manufacturers in the aerospace sector, Airbus Industrie is rapidly increasing the number of outsourced complete systems. A shrinking individual number of parts are being sourced, he said.

"The objective is to source at a system level rather than an equipment level wherever it is practical," Wilson told delegates. "All the vendors in this process have been with us working from the request for information stage.

"Technical teams from more than one supplier are working with our technical team, so at the end of the day everyone understands precisely what our offering is and then competes for the final sourcing decision."

Recent management restructuring at Airbus has meant more integration and consolidation of work among sites in the UK, Germany, Spain and France.

"In the sourcing and purchasing arena, consolidation of requirements is a big issue, so buyers can get the leverage that wasn't necessarily done in the past," said Wilson.


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