in Features

A digital coming of age

Posted 20 October 2014 · Add Comment

Gavin Sermon, Managing Director, Aerospace and Defence, Accenture, outlines why aerospace companies should take an integrated approach to implementing digital strategies.

Aerospace companies have been using digital technologies in some shape or form for many years — but the global economic crisis has affected those businesses just as much as everyone else.

Recently, financial problems have led to production delays, which have compounded both income and cost issues for airplane makers. The time has come to start applying contemporary digital offerings to business operations and supply chains, rather than just the machines they make.

According to the Accenture Digital in Aerospace Survey 2014, airplane manufacturers are still missing a coherent digital vision, and there is little consensus around what being a digital company actually means for the industry. While most commercial aerospace companies claim to have a digital strategy in place, some are using it mainly to drive internal processes and customer retention, while others are focusing on the supply chain or cost saving.

Instead, aerospace businesses need to embrace the 'all digital' business model. This means developing a comprehensive digital strategy across the organisation, tapping into multiple pools of talent through investment in R&D, training and strategic partnerships, and shifting from long-cycle production cultures to a more agile, digital mindset. This way, the industry will be able to fight the enormous problems it has been experiencing over the last few years.

Major airplane programs have been consistently late to market, costing companies billions and, in some cases, tens of billions of dollars in direct costs and lost sales. These delays have also led to deteriorating market values and diminished manufacturer credibility.

For North American and European companies, this is particularly worrying because — if nothing changes — the demand being seen by Asia-Pacific rivals will not only continue to grow, but will take the global lead. These changes are being fuelled by a digital coming of age, led by billions of investment into R&D and supported by tens of thousands of engineers. Aerospace companies also face fierce competition from within their own industry and from non–industry employers who are already using digital talent to get ahead in building better digital operations.

At present, many airplane manufacturers are low on the digital maturity curve. While many can see the obvious impact that digital can have on design and engineering, they need to take it a step further. Digital capabilities will help them develop new products and services, shorten design/development life-cycles, facilitate forecasting, asset and supply chain visibility, and reduce the delays that are so far weakening the industry's ability to fight competitors and retain revenue.

 

* required field

Post a comment

Other Stories
Advertisement
Latest News

Azores Airlines takes delivery of its first A321neo

Azores Airlines has taken delivery of its first Airbus A321neo aircraft, to become first Portuguese A320neo Family operator.

Serco signs Copernicus data access contract with ESA

Serco's business in Italy has been awarded a contract by the European Space Agency (ESA) to deliver a ground-breaking project to facilitate open and unlimited access to earth observation data and geospatial information collected as

All change at the top of Airbus

The Airbus Board of Directors has today announced executive changes as Tom Enders (59) has advised them he won't seek another term as CEO beyond his current mandate (which runs until the 2019 Annual Shareholders Meeting April 2019)and

ADS highlights industry need for transition agreement in early 2018

ADS said today that although confirmation that talks can start on transition and our future relationship with the EU is welcome progress, industry now needs to see urgent agreement reached on transition arrangements.

Astronaut Tim Peake opens UTC Portsmouth

Two years after blasting off to join the International Space Station, British astronaut Tim Peake formally opened the Roya Navy backed college which will produce the scientists and engineers of tomorrow.

CAA launching new airspace change process

In 2015 the CAA started reviewing its airspace change process and after nearly three years of detailed work and two public consultations, it is now launching its new process which will take effect from 2nd January 2018.

SMI NCWSK2011171217
See us at
S&P BT281117080318SMI NCWBT3110020218FIL18 BT111017220718SMI FAVSABT2411120418Aviation Africa BT18418