The aerospace and defence (A&D) industry is entering a new period of value-engineering its supply chains and bringing an increased level of focus to delivery performance improvement.
The challenge for the commercial aircraft sector is to be able to ramp up supply chains to build more planes faster and orchestrate a multitude of components arriving at the same time.
Commercial aircraft manufacturers and defence companies have also reached the conclusion that their trusted, tier one suppliers hold the key to their success as orchestrators within the extended supply chain by eliminating out-of-sequence deliveries to their factories.
To improve overall supply chain cost structures, brand owners know that they will need to provide better insight into their demand and sub-tier suppliers’ performance readiness. To meet these new A&D challenges, companies will have to master the following four competencies:
• Going beyond simple visibility to achieve supply chain predictability. The need for predictive visibility into supply chain performance has become more important than ever. Spending more time predicting and less time reacting requires more process automation so the supply chain can manage by exception.
• Managing secure collaboration within an A&D environment. Connectivity to all trading partners has become a necessity as customers are increasingly requiring more data and deeper levels of integration with their internal systems. Achieving secure collaboration across multi-enterprise supply chain platforms requires extensive identity management.
• Network risk analysis: mitigating or preventing disruptions. Role-based authentication to a business process has to be controlled to ensure each participant in the supply chain has a defined need to know and access to data required to complete their portion of the business process. The workflow is then controlled by these access permissions, which pave the way for seamless and secure collaboration.
• The big data opportunity in the A&D industry. Business networks provide the ability to aggregate market demand information and connect it to a view of supply that is useful in determining the ability of an industry, such as A&D, to meet new orders.
To keep pace with the current build-to-demand model, A&D players face a series of unique challenges that require a greater level of supply chain agility. Only when visibility is combined with deep and secure collaboration throughout the supply chain will the A&D industry achieve the elevated performance necessary to commit with confidence to its customers, manage its backlogs, and deliver aircraft on time and on budget.
☛ Rich Becks is general manager of high technology at E2open