Is Supply Chain Innovation in Aerospace The Key to Success?

Published on: 4th April 2023

A successful supply chain is at the heart of any aerospace and defence organisation’s profitability. Effective and efficient supply chains enable aerospace and defence organisations to meet their strategic and financial goals.

Supply chain innovation is critical to the success of your business. These are just some of the technologies and innovations will help identify areas for growth and change in your aerospace or defence business. It is easy to get seduced by the latest jargon – AI, IoT; drones etc.. These technologies can, and will, have a massive impact on our work, but that won’t happen overnight. The most meaningful impact will come from the deployment of technologies and processes within the supply chain that have been tried and tested.

Key Innovations in the Supply Chain include:

  • Supply Chain Digitisation
  • Omni-channel
  • Supply Chain Management
  • Cloud-based Supply Chain Solutions
  • The Internet of Things (IoT)
  • Artificial intelligence and Machine Learning
  • Robotics
  • Artificial Intelligence
  • Process Automation
  • 3D Printing
  • Blockchain Technology
  • Drones
  • Vertical Integration

Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEMs); Maintenance, Repair and Overhaul (MRO) providers; and customers, are all global and diversified in nature. This means that any supply chain has to be effective, efficient and scalable.

Effective Aerospace and Defence Supply Chain Strategies

Effective aerospace and defence supply chain strategies will not only help you improve efficiency, control costs and mitigate risks, but also enable you to deliver better value to your customers.

Long lead times and the management of the collaboration across a complex supply chain is one of the most important issues to be addressed. In response to the wide number of challenges, adoption of digital technologies, vertical integration and localisation appear as the most relevant strategies adopted by Aerospace and Defence companies.

For aerospace or defence organisations to see innovation grow, we need to help senior management focus less on how much more revenue innovation will generate today and get them to see innovation in the ‘bigger picture’ investment gain.

Innovation generates growth and unfortunately growth doesn’t come cheap – companies need to take the risks necessary and know that any innovation is worth the investment.


Is Supply Chain Innovation The KEY to Success?

The most relevant supply chain strategies adopted by aerospace and defence companies

Adoption of Digital Technologies

Data platforms for information sharing (see the Network Portal) and adoption of 3D printing technology etc. have increased the overall efficiency of the supply chain. Digitally driven new operational models such as joint innovation, catapult centres and flexible production sites are further driving evolution of the aerospace industry.

Vertical Integration

Aerospace and defence businesses adopt vertical integration to gain control over critical processes in the supply chain. Vertical integration helps companies in reducing their operating costs by eliminating supplier margin. It also provides them with the agility to swiftly respond to changes in product specifications as well as market demand, reducing the effective cost and time impact of the changes.

Shared Supply Chain Across Platforms

This tactic allows aerospace and defence businesses to leverage the advantages of their existing supplier base and control costs. Diversified companies can also leverage a common supply chain across similar platforms (eg. the WEAF Network Portal) with applications in different industries. OEMs are using cloud-based supply chain management programs, having a list of all the suppliers that can be leveraged for common products and materials.

Explore the benefits of new technologies enabling the advancement of the supply chain at the WEAF Spotlight on AIRBUS – ‘The Future Starts Here’.

Airbus Filton WEAF event

For the first time in 8 years we’re delighted to run a ‘Spotlight on Airbus’!

Explore digital technologies and their potential impact for enabling the supply chain network – investigate your opportunity to innovate and expand.

Tickets are flying out fast – book early to avoid disappointment!


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