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Evidence of Stepped-Up Technology Investments in Aerospace in 2013

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Just this week, two announcements have come across the desk of Supply Chain Matters, each involving the highly stressed Aerospace industry and each directed at integrating information and insights across product management, manufacturing and broader supply chain areas.

Manufacturing platform software provider Apriso announced that Bombardier Aerospace will standardize on a common Manufacturing Operations Management (MOM) platform based on Apriso’s FlexNet manufacturing platform software.  The technology will be deployed to support the expanded production for both the CSeries and Lear85 aircraft production across facilities in Canada and Mexico. Both companies were already working on a 20 month effort to support the CSeries program, which will now be expanded to support other Bombardier production facilities. Apriso’s FlexNet provides manufacturing business intelligence for use by ERP, Product Lifecycle Management (PLM) and other systems. According to a statement by Apriso industry director, Rick Gallisa, Bombardier has embraced a three platform IT strategy consisting of an integrated PLM, ERP and MOM systems landscape.

Separately, product and service lifecycle technology provider PTC announced this week that Eurocopter, a subsidiary of EADS, is expanding the use of PTC technology to enhance overall business performance. The Franco-German-Spanish Eurocopter Group is a 5.4 billion Euro global helicopter manufacturer with orders for 457 new helicopters for global based customers.  There are more than 11,300 Eurocopter aircraft in service among 149 countries.  At the corporate level, the EADS parent company has outlined a goal of increasing service revenues to 25 percent of total revenues by 2020.

The EADS relationship with PTC dates back to 2008, with the deployment of its PHENIX Master Product Definition platform that harmonized the PLM environment across the company, followed by a Spares Configuration Data Management (SCDM) system to manage spare parts across a global service network. This newest agreement is described as an expansion of the relationship into the emerging area of Service Lifecycle management (SLM). Readers may recall that PTC recently acquired MCA Solutions, which we believe we form the future basis of SLM enhanced offerings for PTC.

In our 2013 Predictions for Global Supply Chains, Supply Chain Matters predicted both increased business turbulence for the Aerospace industry in 2013 as it deals with a combination of huge order backlogs, the need to dramatically ramp-up supply chain production levels, while managing a new business model of pay by operating performance.  A separate prediction outlined a broader umbrella of accountability for supply chain management teams that would extend into the areas of product management, manufacturing operations, after-market service and customer services.  Two separate technology investment decisions coming in the same week involving two aerospace industry players would tend to indicate some pent-up demand for leveraging advanced technology to support these more aggressive business goals.

We will certainly keep our eye on the further developments.

Bob Ferrari

 

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