About Airplane Innovations

Why a strategic supplier partnership benefits airplane manufacturing companies

As travel begins to open up again, after more than a year of lockdown restrictions, airplane manufacturing companies will need to satisfy a huge pent-up demand for travel.

Overseas travel will no doubt be on peoples’ priority lists, with a focus on far-flung destinations rather than local vacations, according to leading travel magazine, Conde Nast Traveller.

To meet surging demand, airplane manufacturing companies and suppliers will need to produce more lightweight airplane parts, quickly.

They can do this by implementing lean operating models that can deliver mass production solutions, moving from manual systems to automation, and partnering with trusted aerospace suppliers. 


How is the market for aerospace innovation developing?

These are unprecedented times for the travel industry.

The Covid-19 pandemic has brought about a change in travel patterns that will impact new airplane innovation and airplane designs.

Recently, there has been an accelerated shift towards point-to-point travel. It is more profitable for airlines to send passengers directly to their desired, mid-size destination on a greener lightweight airplane rather than send 800 passengers through major hubs on a gas-guzzling jumbo-jet.


How will emerging flight and travel patterns impact new aircraft development?

When it comes to airplane innovation, the Covid-19 pandemic has fast-tracked some of the industry’s key megatrends, including pushing fuel-inefficient airplane models, such as the Boeing 747, into early retirement.

The Airbus A380 looks set to follow, with the Cirium Airline Insights Review 2020 reporting that there are just 21 A380s in service, and 219 in storage. In January, Qatar Airways confirmed it would be retiring half of its fleet of 10 Airbus A380s, due concerns over their environmental impact.

How can manufacturers respond to new travel trends?

The aerospace industry is in the process of resetting for new, post Covid-19 pandemic era way of travel and aircraft innovation. The planes of our future are smaller, more economical and with greater passenger capacity and a lower carbon footprint.

Aerospace technology manufacturers will have to duly adapt their production processes. Yet creating the lightweight wing of tomorrow, or the fuselage of the future, is not something aerospace technology manufacturers can do alone.


A collaborative supplier-manufacturer partnership

Research shows that a strong partnership between manufacturers and suppliers creates value to the customer, in this case global airplane manufacturing companies.

It also help supply chains become more resilient, evidenced in this article by McKinsey & Company, which found that companies that regularly collaborated with suppliers had lower operating costs, higher growth, and greater profitability.

To attract the attention of the industry’s heavyweight airplane manufacturing brands, aerospace technology manufacturers must partner with trusted suppliers from day one. This grants the manufacturer complete access to both supplier expertise and the technology required to produce the greener, lightweight airplanes of the future.


How do airplane manufacturing companies benefit from a collaborative supplier partnership?

Mutual trust and supporting mechanisms are required when building a collaborative partnership, according to McKinsey & Company

When the material supplier of choice is involved in new aerospace technology design discussions,
the supplier response can be flexible and adaptive.
This results in a lean operating model, with a more efficient aerospace manufacturing and assembly process. 

A strategic partnership with a global, experienced aerospace supplier can offer the manufacturer support in all elements of designing and manufacturing lightweight airplanes, including:

  • Access to new technologies
  • Faster production time


Access to new technologies

New technologies procured by the supplier can help ensure manufacturing and assembly processes are more efficient, resulting in rapid turnaround when designing airplane parts.

Take the use of structural adhesive solutions, for example. When used for bonding aircraft components, adhesives take weight out of the aircraft. This ensures the lightweight design that airliner manufacturers are looking for when creating the next generation of greener, lightweight airplanes.


Automation cuts production time and increases sustainability

Of course, building trust between an airplane manufacturing company and supplier requires time and effort. One way to do this, according to McKinsey & Company, is to start with simple collaboration efforts that deliver results quickly, bringing energy to the new partnership.

In the case of aerospace, this starts at the design phase. By partnering aerospace technology design teams with trusted material suppliers from day one, manufacturers can know the most efficient way use their products.

For example, depending on the supplier, this may include shifting to a more automated production model, which in turns brings greater sustainability.

In this time of uncertainty, one thing is clear. The aircraft sector is innovating at a rapid pace, as airplane manufacturing companies look to develop new lightweight airplanes, from design to production, faster than ever before. A collaborative partnership with a trusted supplier ensures aerospace technology manufacturers can meet this growing demand – saving manpower, money and time in the process.

To discuss the ways airplane manufacturing companies can collaborate with suppliers, please feel free to reach out on LinkedIn. Or join our upcoming virtual Expert Talks on Space Market: Challenges of Thermal Management Applications in Small & Large Satellites. Register here.


[1] https://www.cntraveller.com/gallery/travel-trends-after-coronavirus




About the author

Craig Alford

Global Key Account Manager Aerospace

Craig has been supporting the Adhesives and Chemical industry for almost 20 years. In that time working with some of the leading Automotive and Aerospace companies.

His motivation comes from developing solid partnerships and building trust where he can offer turn key solutions with an added value philosophy. Drawing on support from vastly experienced teams to drive projects which optimize supply chain, enhances productivity and delivers cost savings to the customer.

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