How to Select the Best Software for Aerospace and Defense Industry
The Aerospace and Defense Industry (A&D) comprises of manufacturers who develop spacecraft and aircraft for the military aircraft, commercial aircraft, tanks, missiles, and another weapon related equipment. Companies in the aerospace and defense industry manufacture aircraft engines and engine parts as well as landing gears, propellers, and rotors. Other companies specialize in manufacturing the armed vehicle. Firearms and accessories account for about 60% of the aerospace and defense industry revenue while ammunitions cover 40% of the total revenue. The industry is highly concentrated and dominated by the small amount of large firms that have the ability to influence the price levels. The product line of the aerospace and defense sector is broad since its primary products and flight vehicles require up to millions of individual parts. The industry also requires support systems that help in the operation and maintenance of vehicles. Several companies in the A&D sector use competitive intelligence as a critical tool in identifying ideal business opportunities and posses a competitive advantage. Competitive intelligence enables is also essential as it seeks to deliver clarity to this sector by providing actionable insights about a company's customers, market, and competitors. This, therefore, facilitates decision making and forward-thinking in an organization.
Competitive intelligence (CI) enables companies in the aerospace and defense sector to foster a culture of innovation that allows employees to implement changes that drive the business forward. CI also supports innovation by monitoring disruptive innovation, marketing trends, and providing greater customer understanding. The materials used in the A&D sector use DFM engineering because the components used in this sector have to accomplish specific temperatures resistance and loads. Aluminum was the dominant material used in aerospace and defense sector, however, in the modern industry, lighter weight carbon fiber reinforced with polymers and honeycomb materials are in use. Manufacturing in the aerospace and defense industry is unique compared to other volume manufacturing sectors. The uniqueness comes from aerospace engine manufacturing. The engine is the most complex element in the aerospace sector as it houses the most individual components and determines fuel efficiency. The parts in the aerospace and defense sector require longer machining times. It increases the precision of designing the elements in the engine. The components and material used in the aerospace and defense sector consist of short-run quantities, rendering scheduling for productivity, and long lead times as compared to other industries.
What are the Aerospace and Defense Industry Value Chain?
The aerospace and defense sector continues to face challenges from international competition in the commercial area. In meeting these challenges, it is vital for the industry to perform an analysis on their value chain. The value chain of the A&D sector comprises of the management program, designing, building, and services.
- Program management : Firms in the A&D industry, often deal with multiple contracts. These contracts offer compliance requirements that add layers of conventional structures. With program management, the firm can improve product quality while reducing costs and time to market. Management of programs also provides guidelines that aid decision-making processes.
- Design : It is a vital part of the value chain. A conventional approach used in the Aerospace and Defense sector is the clean-sheet design. The clean-sheet design functions by hosting teams and set of tools that reinvent every aspect of the plane. With the increase in complexity, software is used to coordinate changes between different functional areas. The design also enables tools model and simulate the environment, manage and configure bills of materials, and coordinate suppliers and processes towards a common goal.
- Build : In this step, the firm deals with factors such as process efficiency, utilization of asset, and leverage of material procurement. At this step, it also leads to explore activities outside the traditional business core by capturing a more significant portion of aftermarket value.
- Service : In the Aerospace and Defense industry, leveraging the supplier network deals with a variety of costs, quality, and regulations. Upstream activity used in the A&D sector provides as a way of achieving success by having an auditable and robust quality management system. The system enables the industry to mitigate the risk of counterfeit products, offer the great warranty, and meet regulatory compliance as well as deliver commitments that will bring profit to the business in future.
What are the Key Segments in Aerospace and Defense Industry?
- Large defense prime contractors/system integrators: They provide service or products to an intelligence department of a government. The products typically include electronic systems, vehicles, military aircraft, weaponry, and ships. The services offered include; engineering support, technical support, logistics, and training communications support. They also provide efforts that diversify efforts that leverage current assets into new areas in cases of business model compatibility.
- Commercial aerospace prime contractors/ system integrators: They play a massive role in value creation of the aerospace and defense industry. They sell complete parts to commercial OEMS enabling them to work through record-high order backlogs that increase production rates for critical platforms. Their work is also determining the acquisition of new aircraft.
- First-tier subcontractors: They have a direct contract with the client. They provide services to the project as well as providing goods to the project. The services offered include; architectural services, project brief, management of construction services, and engineering services. The good offered are such as constructed assets.
- Second-tier subcontractors: They have a sub-contract with the first-tier subcontractors. Their role is being a novated design consultant, manufacturer and material distributor, and suppliers of major equipment and plant such as tower cranes.
- Third-tier subcontractors: They are contractors, suppliers, and designers with a second-tier subcontractor. They provide working details, manufacture and distribute materials, supply equipment, and hire firms.
- Tier n: The third-tier subcontractors also employ sub-contractors and suppliers. It would, therefore, mean that in many cases there will be a fourth or even a fifth-tier involved in the construction processes of the aerospace and defense industry.
What are the Key Terms in Aerospace and Defense Industry?
- Systems engineering: Focuses on how to design and manage complex systems in the aerospace and defense industry. The processes in system engineering focus on repetitive activities that achieve high-quality outputs with little cost and time usage. The procedures in this step start by identifying the problems to be resolved as well as identifying the most probable failures that can occur. The processes also focus on building the system right, interactions that satisfy the mechanical requirements and addressing of developments and methods of reliable products.
- Composites: These are one such class of materials that play a vital role in the current and future aerospace components. These materials are prevalent in the aerospace and defense sector because of their exceptional strength and stiffness-to-density ratios as well as active physical properties. A composite material is ideal as a component of equipment used in A&D industry as it consists of stiff and relatively strong fibers in a robust resin matrix.
- Fuselage: It is the body of the airplane that holds all the pieces together. At the front of the fuselage is the cockpit where the pilots sit while the passengers and cargo are carried in the rear part of the fuselage. Other planes carry fuel in the fuselage while others carry it in the wings.
- Fly by wire (FBW): It is an architecture that switches from the conventional mechanical flight controls to allow aircraft designers to get creative with designing of the wing, therefore trading inherent stability for improved efficiency. It also converts the pilot's movements of the flight into electrical signals that flight control computers can interpret.
- Radar: It is a system that uses radio waves to detect object's angle, range or velocity. The modern use of radar is diverse as it is applied in areas such as physical traffic control to locate airplanes positions. The information given by detector comprises of the bearing and range of the target object from the radar scanner. The primary use of radars was for military sources; however, its applications evolved into the aircraft field.
- Narrow body aircraft: It is also known as a single-aisle aircraft. It permits up to 6-abreast seating in a cabin below 4 meters in width. The highest capacity of the narrowbody aircraft is 295 passengers.
- Widebody aircraft: It is a more substantial airliner usually designed with multiple aisles and a fuselage with a diameter of more than five meters that is 16 ft. It allows more than 7-abreast seating and has more travel classes. Widebody aircraft can accommodate between 250 and 600 passengers.
- Flight test program: It is part of aeronautical engineering that helps in developing and gathering data during flight of an aircraft. The program then analyzes the data for evaluation of flight aerodynamic characteristics. The tasks completed by this program include identifying and fixing any design problems and facilitating verification and documentation of airplane capabilities.
- MRO (Maintenance, repair, and overhaul): It is a service that deals with rectifying issue related to navigational devices and engine components that make an aircraft. The services offered include fixing, visual inspection, modification or alteration as well as supplying of spare parts, accessories, sealants, coatings, and other consumables. The services are ideal for the aerospace and defense sector as it helps to increase the lifespan and improve the fuel efficiency of the airplanes. There are local governing bodies that ensure the MRO bodies deliver quality in their services to airline carriers.
- Program: The programs used by different bodies should continuously innovate to create parts and assemblies that satisfy customer requirements, meet strict safety standards, and maximize performance.
What are the Competitive Advantage in Aerospace and Defense Industry?
- Compliance and quality management strategies: Involves installing and consolidating ERP systems give the manufacturers in the sector strategies that enable them to become strategists rather than data collectors.
- Applicability of competitive intelligence: Companies such as Boeing apply CI to identify opportunities and gain the competitive advantage relevant to their success. Application of competitive knowledge also enables organizations in the A&D industry to move quickly into new markets and reduce uncertainties around the future market trends.
- Production capability: The need of operating at an accelerated pace is vital in the aerospace and defense industry. Having productions at a quickened pace enables organizations in the A&D sector to meet production demands.
- Market acceptance: The sector faces stricter market conditions mainly affected by customers. The customers are the key to the success of any firm in the aerospace and defense sector.
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