Overcoming Complexity in a Global Aerospace supply chain
Updated: Mar 16
CASE STUDY | Airbus Commercial Aircraft
Businesses face many hazards – from currency gyrations, regulatory compliance difficulties, geopolitical changes to natural disasters, and constantly changing customer needs. This Case Study describes the management of the global supply chain for an aerospace OEM, so the case relates most specifically to the delivery of aircraft. However, the problem is generic across many products, services, and verticals, where supply chains are massive and complex. Moreover, it relates to other complex sequential processes that have characteristics similar to supply chains (e.g., value stream maps, production processes, etc.).
In This Case Study You Will Learn
How BOXARR can manage massive scale (hundreds of thousands of boxes, millions of data objects).
How a BOXARR model can be created and updated by information from multiple data sources (and information can be roundtripped from BOXARR to other sources).
That BOXARR models designed to solve one problem can become permanent information artefacts that can be adapted to other critical business problems.
How functions and macros can supplement BOXARR models to facilitate critical workflows for understanding and managing complexity, saving time and money, and reducing risk.
How benefits from BOXARR models can be distributed to a broad audience within an enterprise via nSight, thus leveraging enterprise insights into complexity.
Airbus is an industry-leading manufacturer and designer of aerospace products, services and solutions to customers on a global scale. The company is one of only two international heavy commercial aircraft OEMs and is the largest aerospace corporation in Europe.
Airbus has built on its strong European heritage to become truly international – with roughly 180 locations and 12,000 direct suppliers globally. The company has aircraft and helicopter final assembly lines across Asia, Europe, and the Americas, and has achieved a more than sixfold order book increase since 2000. Over the last 45 years, Airbus has built a reputation by reacting to market demands, developing and evolving its products to meet the needs of its customers and the wider world. As such, technological innovation has been at the core of Airbus’ strategy since its creation.
The collision of unprecedented complexity and time criticality
Supply Chain Mapping
Airbus commercial aircraft may have the largest, most globalised, and most complex supply chain in the world. The enormous complexity of the Airbus civil aircraft manufacturing supply chain means it is very difficult to have an overview let alone understand all the stakeholders involved in a given value chain, not to mention the relationships that these suppliers have with other suppliers. As such it is difficult to quickly identify the impact of any disturbance in the supply chain or to identify those suppliers who are at higher risk.
For example, some suppliers will have a great number of dependencies in the supply chain, or they might be subject to a potential geopolitical risk, or they could provide their components across multiple aircraft programmes.
Also, the delivery of their product is on the schedule of almost unprecedented criticality. Disruptions to that delivery can cost tens of thousands of euros per day or more. Airbus wished to speed its response to supply chain emergencies to avoid these potentially devastating costs. They also wanted individuals across their organisation to gain a more general understanding of their supply chain, so that can be better utilized, engineered, and tuned over time.
Airbus wished to reduce their response time to supply chain emergencies (which can be caused by economic, environmental, political, and many other factors). They also wished to have a better understanding of their supply chain for a broad spectrum of engineering and planning activities in the future.
After a competitive bid process for tools that could handle this challenge, BOXARR was selected to help, and Airbus team was assigned to work with BOXARR to create the supply chain model. Since that initial engagement, Airbus has dedicated a team to use the model and work with the BOXARR.
The BOXARR Solution
How did BOXARR approach the challenge?
BOXARR worked with the client to understand both their challenges and their existing data sources that would help address them. We helped Airbus to ingest that data to formulate a BOXARR model that can be continuously updated, instrumented to solve Airbus’s particular challenges, and distributed to a large community of Airbus users through our web-based client, nSight.
How was our client involved in this stage?
BOXARR worked closely with an Airbus team to identify data sources and procedures for their utilisation in the BOXARR model.
What was the solution?
Airbus together with BOXARR team built a global supply chain model of massive scale that is managed effectively by BOXARR and a dedicated Airbus supply chain team, which can be used for planning and coping with emergent situations. This model coupled to custom dashboards through nSight, which are tuned to particular user groups, and made available to thousands of users across Airbus.
What was the timeline?
The initial creation of the model took place over a scale of weeks
Annualized Return on Investment
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