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| 2 minutes read

Data can accelerate transformation in the aerospace and defense sector

On November 11, 2021, AlixPartners announced a new collaboration with Palantir Technologies, blending AlixPartners’ value creation and execution expertise in helping companies transform at speed with Palantir’s leading platform for large-scale, machine-enabled decision-making. Read more here.

Increasingly, companies in the aerospace and defense (A&D) sector need better ways to manage and accelerate transformation. They are challenged to drive measurable and sustainable performance improvement in many business functions:

Supply chains:

  • Disruptions: Businesses require greater visibility of the whole supply chain from raw material to final product:
  • Simulations: It remains challenging for many businesses to project outcomes because they cannot effectively simulate potential ramp-ups or ramp-downs of installed capacity.
  • Allocation decisions: Many businesses are constrained by DPAS (Defense Priorities & Allocations System) sequencing, and they lack the insights into what really drives suppliers’ day-to-day allocation decisions.
  • Demand planning: Businesses still struggle with forecasting supply and demand with the accuracy required in today’s volatile markets.

Production: 

  • A&D businesses want to get better at integrating data about parts and subsystems from Engineering, Quality, Production groups in order to better manage non-conformities.
  • Businesses still find it tough to:
  • Optimize planning by integrating the status of missing parts and systems data from all parties.
  • Reduce lead time to solve non-conformities and eradicate root causes
  • Prevent repeated reopening of tasks and project stages that have been closed or completed.

Sustainment/aftermarket support and MRO: 

  • A&D companies need to do more to capture data from users and from internal sources in order to monitor and improve sustainment performance, anticipate failures, anticipate parts shortage, reduce AOG (Aircraft On Ground), improve dispatch reliability, support greater availability of weapons systems, and more.
  • Most companies are still only in the early stages of using AI and machine learning to predict issues, plan maintenance and forecast subsequent part requirements
  • Demand forecasting for spares and repairs can be improved leveraging data from the in-service fleet such as as-maintained configurations, flight hours, MTBUR (Mean Time Between Unscheduled Removal), operations data (how the system was flown or used), historical customer behaviour, geography/climatic conditions to be able to drastically improve aircraft and weapons systems availability.

M&A and corporate development:

  • Complex M&A transactions, such as the carve-out of a large business unit or the integration of a newly acquired business require managing a huge volume of data in a short timeframe.
  • During the due diligence and integration planning phase, for instance, M&A teams struggle to deal with tens of thousands of part numbers and they often limit their assessment to aggregated data.
  • After mergers, it is not easy to aggregate the data of the combined entities.

The improvements sought by A&D companies can be enabled with better sensing and capture of data together with richer, faster analysis of the data, especially data fragmented between the silos of different functions and systems. The new partnership between AlixPartners and Palantir can provide the tools and processes that will help industry players obtain the data-rich insights they need to outperform their competitors.

As with any such solutions, though, businesses themselves have to adapt their internal behaviours, processes and practices if they expect to unlock the full value of the solutions. There are four sets of issues to consider when dealing with disparate and unstructured data:

  • Calibrate your current status.
  • Make innovative analytics and data integration a central tenet of leadership’s performance.
  • Speak the language of data across all functions.
  • Redesign processes from a digital-first and data-rich mindset.

In the A&D sector, tomorrow’s winners will be those that derive rich insights from the deep lakes of information at their disposal and most effectively integrate data and data insights into their everyday processes and transform them. By doing so, they’ll be able to continually make smart, data-driven, monetizable decisions that will propel exceptional performance in an increasingly disrupted world.

Tags

digital, big data, aerospace, defense

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