The aviation and aerospace industries are inherently innovative industries. The products and services developed for aerospace are innovative and therefore business, technical and manufacturing processes also need to be running at optimum levels to support these products and services.
Aerospace is all about doing the impossible and that requires innovation. So, what innovative technologies are supporting business processes specific to the aerospace industry? Here are a few:
- 3D Printing or Additive Manufacturing – is one of the technologies that offers great promise in the area of rapid prototyping, waste free manufacturing and mass customisation.
- Multi-tier ERP – Business process automation and manufacturing software should be matched to the specific needs of the enterprise it serves. These needs vary by location, line of business, size and complexity of the local operation and by the products built. Finding a one size fits all solution for companies is not an attainable goal, nor should it be. Match strength and capability directly to local need and requirement. Leave the highly evolved financial operations and performance reporting systems at the enterprise or corporate level. In the trenches, you want tools that work for the folks in the trench.
- Advanced CPQ/Estimating – You cannot expect products with the complexity of most aerospace offering to be catalogued and priced from a three ring binder. Aerospace products are typically highly complex with all manner of conditional use constraints and pricing variations. In many cases the application involved may require development of new technological capability that simply does not currently exist. Advanced CPQ and estimating ensures that you can build what the customer needs and if it requires new development, that you will fulfill that need profitably.
- Lean – One of the most misunderstood manufacturing or business techniques. This has nothing to do with expense reduction and everything to do with expanding your customer base. Simply put, Lean eliminates that which offers no value to the customer.
- Project Based – Project based manufacturing offers the needed ability to isolate your business view to the individual project level. This is the only way to identify financial losers, assure accurate accounting for pricing and profit and to manage the complex flow of diverse product through your production process.
- Production Technology – In addition to 3D printing, there are other technological assists available to manufacturers today. Robotics, laser and water based cutting tools and the use of exotic new materials all are available to foster innovation in your shop.
As you can see in the aviation industry, today, more than ever, tech is leading the way to innovative operations and processes.