Growing business with Aerospace Primes – three steps for success

As I travel around and meet companies, two questions I often get asked are: “How do I get more business?” and “What certifications and quality requirements should we focus on?

With aircraft production at record levels and with a good long term future order book, it is clear why companies want to win more contracts to supply this high technology industry.

Aerospace requirements and quality standards are very demanding and although suppliers in the sector are recognised as some of the top engineering companies in the country, more can be done to support growth opportunities.

Supply chains – planning for success

One thing suppliers need to recognise is that investment is a long term approach.

It is a very valuable prize to have high technology production, with a regular delivery pattern, over the lifetime of the aircraft. Being in this high end sector also opens doors to many other sectors.

In Aerospace, on time delivery and zero quality defects is expected from the supply chain. In addition, each of the major Aerospace Primes has their own quality requirements.

Together the Primes have signed the UK Supply Chain Competitiveness Charter outlining at a top level what is expected from suppliers.

Three key requirements, which provide early building blocks for developing stronger relationships with Primes, are:

  • Aerospace Standard AS9100 Certification

The Aerospace industry is regulated and to provide a “flying part” for an aircraft a supplier must be certified to AS9100. Once an organisation is certified, they are registered on the Online Aerospace Supplier Information System (OASIS) providing global visibility of all approved suppliers.

  • Secure Systems – Cyber Essentials

Aerospace Primes and Defence companies carefully guard vital intellectual property and information: They expect their suppliers to have secure and robust systems. More and more suppliers are required to have Cyber Essentials accreditation or ISO 27001.

  • Continuous Improvement Programme

As outlined in the Competiveness Charter the Primes expect that suppliers will participate in a continuous improvement programme, such as SC21 and Sharing in Growth, to become sustainably globally competitive.

‘Being part of the SC21 community has allowed us to achieve a Gold standard site and to expand our operations working in partnership with multinational companies such as BAE Systems, Thales and General Dynamics’.

Wincanton, a SC21 Gold Award Winner

Meet the Primes

At ADS, we are helping Members grow by providing market data and information on live business opportunities through our Business Development Portal.

In addition, ADS actively facilitates opportunities for Members to engage with Primes, key industry representatives and Government through ‘meet the Prime buyer’ events. The Boeing UK Supplier Showcase held last month in St Louis, USA, is one example of this.

A future opportunity is for Members to attend the Aerospace Primes New Year Conference & Meet the Buyer Event. Held in January 2019, the theme of the event will be “Growing the Aerospace Industry in 2019 – Challenges and Opportunities”. Headlining will be Airbus, Bombardier and Thales. There is also an opportunity to have a 1-2-1 meeting with a member of the Bombardier procurement team. I would encourage you to join us for this free of charge exclusive event.

ADS is here to support companies wanting advice on getting certified or embarking on a continuous improvement programme. Members can also take advantage of the skills and services being offered by fellow Members, some at a special discounted rate.

Dr Leslie Orr, ADS Director – Northern Ireland