Supply ChainSeptember 20, 2022

Solving Supply Chain Challenges in Aerospace & Defense with Innovation

It is well known that the competition between aerospace business leaders is fierce, but original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) and their suppliers also face growing complexity in programs, pressure on increasing affordability, zero tolerance for missed production schedules, faster product-development cycles, and digital transformation.
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Wendy (Klotz) Mlynarek
aerospace and defense industry supply chain innovation

It is well known that the competition between aerospace business leaders is fierce, but original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) and their suppliers also face growing complexity in programs, pressure on increasing affordability, zero tolerance for missed production schedules, faster product-development cycles, and digital transformation.

Moreover, the pandemic has amplified existing issues within the supply chain that can no longer be ignored. Previously, reliance on overseas supply and manufacturing was the norm, but without truly vertically integrated supply chains, global organizations suddenly found themselves lacking critical components and assemblies to continue operations during lockdowns. While minor disruption was expected and planned for, “compounding” disruption with an indefinite timeline left many stumped.

Organizations within the aerospace and defense industry need to adopt a culture of continuous innovation to keep up with ever-evolving challenges, and the methods they choose to tackle these issues with could mean the difference between achieving success or facing failure.

Here are 7 key capabilities aerospace leaders should look for in their business solutions to strengthen their organization’s stature for the future:

  1. Digitalization – Many successful manufacturers are integrating information technology (IT) and operations technology (OT) to adapt to changing market conditions or customer demands. Defense contractors can also create value and manage risk effectively by leveraging the power of modern 3D design and engineering software to validate structural components and help deliver efficiencies throughout the product’s lifecycle.
  2. Digital twin technology – Digital-to physical manufacturing technologies, such as automation and the use of a virtual twin, can shorten the design process, production and delivery of end-use products.
  3. Additive/automated manufacturing (AM) – An increasing number of suppliers are using AM to develop complex components one layer at a time, providing a creative canvass for imaginative engineers. It also allows production of parts with complex geometries with fewer tools and permits multiple parts of an assembly to be made in one integrated space.
  4. Transparency – The supply chain is still identified as a siloed and linear ecosystem. Suppliers need to change their communication methods with OEMs to create a tighter, seamless integration. This will transform the supply chain into a value network – which can ensure full access to any required data, skills and talents, as well as real-time social collaboration between individuals, groups or organizations.
  5. Workforce Competency – Many positions across the aerospace industry are emerging without skilled job-seekers to fill them. Suppliers should establish apprentice and training programs while investing in joint programs with vocational schools to build up competent employees.
  6. Industrial internet of things (IIOT)/data to connect systems that your teams can access and leverage across the product lifecycle
  7. Model-based enterprise (MBE) for dynamic 3D models of products to replace traditional design processes

So where should aerospace and defense organizations start looking to cultivate innovation within their operations? DELMIA has always been at the forefront of addressing these business challenges, with industry leaders worldwide partnering with us to operate with greater agility and efficiency.

Here are 3 areas that DELMIA provides support in planning, scheduling and optimization for complex integrated business planning processes:

  1. Transport & Logistics – Optimizing transportation for full control over the fleet, aligning with production plans and close-collaboration with customers.
  2. Manufacturing & Supply Chain – Modelling and optimising your supply chain network performance from inbound supply to manufacturing and distribution. You will gain control, visibility and lasting resiliency across your value network.
  3. Workforce – Improving staff utilization and employee productivity by creating balance between operational efficiency, regulations, and employee and customer satisfaction.

Want to find out more? Read our latest eBook on enabling the future of innovation in aerospace and defense, Business-Based Optimization to Orchestrate Disrupted Supply Chains.

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