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Boeing and Airbus Have Sky-High Expectations for Supply Chain

Written by Michael Clark
July 29, 2016

Boeing and Airbus will stop at nothing to live up to customer expectations, so their supply chain constituents must adjust their practices to increase efficiency.

Boeing and Airbus will stop at nothing to live up to customer expectations, so their supply chain constituents must adjust their practices to increase efficiency.

Aircraft makers Boeing and Airbus are not compromising their expectations for any supply chain issues coming from their partners. In fact, Dan Crowley, the chief executive at Triumph, an aerospace equipment group, recently assured these two major Triumph customers that production plans will continue in full swing. According to Financial Times, this news comes despite high-pressure demands and certain supply chain pitfalls.

Turbulence in the Supply Chain

Like any reputable company, Boeing and Airbus have a non-negotiable obligation to follow through on deals. However, their ability to remain steadfast in their promises to customers depends on constituents in the supply chain. The two aircraft makers keep a close eye on processes, and they aim to correct any issues.

Their expectations are unarguably high. Boeing and Airbus must deliver 1,830 passenger jets in 2020. That’s up 45 percent from 2013’s output of 1,266 aircraft. Surely this is an ambitious goal, but it lives up to the precedent the companies have set. Just consider Boeing’s mission: According to its website, the aircraft lists commitment to innovation and dedication to customer service as two of its main values. Meanwhile, Airbus listed on-time delivery as one of its primary goals.

The question then becomes, can Triumph keep up with the demand? This remains to be seen, and Triumph’s suppliers are facing some supply chain challenges. For one, deliveries of the engine that powers the Airbus A320neo from aerospace company Pratt & Whitney have been delayed. Meanwhile, Zodiac Aerospace, a French company, has been experiencing issues with cabin equipment. This has caused a halt on production of the A350 twin-aisle model.

Even in light of these challenges, customers still expect Airbus and Boeing to deliver, and it simply isn’t in the two aircraft makers’ nature to fail to meet demand. As such, supply chain stakeholders must adjust their own practices to overcome these obstacles.

Rising to the Challenge

As chief executive of Diehl Aerospace Rainer von Borstel explained to Financial Times, all parts of the supply chain are connected and must work together to reach goals.

“All elements of the chain need attention because if one fails then all others will not succeed either,” he said.

Companies have many options when deciding how to collaborate with all constituents in the supply chain. Cloud computing is one such solution. Housing data in one central location allows everyone to have access and work with the appropriate information.

According to Supply & Demand Chain Executive, cloud computing comes with an array of other benefits, too. For example, this practice can increase efficiency – an outcome that could help the Triumph supply chain deliver on time. Specifically, the cloud takes away the time-consuming task of location information. These extra minutes add up, and supply chain stakeholders can spend that precious time on more impactful tasks.

Cloud computing also increases accessibility. Anyone can access the information at any time – whether a truck driver needs to review data at a pit stop or suppliers need to check what they have in stock. This ensures everyone in the supply chain is able to communicate accurate information in real-time.

Of course, this strategy only works with the proper data collection solutions – an empty cloud serves no purpose. That is why it is important to consider mobile data collection devices that integrate with already-existing ERP systems. This cuts down the time it takes to adapt to new technology while still giving companies all the benefits of innovative solutions.

Businesses can gain even more efficiency with voice recognition technology. This way, workers don’t even need to use their hands during data collection duties, With RFgen voice picking software, companies can increase productivity by 20 percent and slash training time in half.

Improved inventory management is also key for Triumph suppliers to arise to these challenges of greater demand. That is, they must ensure they have the necessary stock at all times – no more and no less. Again, this is where data collection is vital, but companies need the right equipment for the job. RFgen inventory management solutions not only boost productivity, forecast demand and accelerate growth, but they can also ensure businesses comply with federal regulations. The aerospace industry must follow especially strict rules, and violating standards can lead to hefty penalties and even criminal convictions. The inventory’s audit preparedness features allow businesses to better manage this facet of the supply chain.

Supply chain managers, especially those involved with high-demand projects like Triumph suppliers, would do well to invest in supply chain visibility equipment like mobile data collection devices. According to Supply Chain Digest, this allows managers to monitor performance across all facets of the supply chain. By seeing what successful components are doing, companies can then adapt other areas to mimic those models. Eventually, this leads to an entire supply chain that operates with cohesion and optimized efficiency.