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Finding Solutions To The Global Supply Chain Challenges In The Commercial And Military Aerospace Sector

Thursday, July 7, 2022
Categories : Market Trends
Global shipping and supply chain disruptions are making it harder for aircraft manufacturers and suppliers to meet the demand for parts, according to industry executives and analysts. These concerns are being echoed by the leaders of well-known, well-respected global aviation brands.  In fact, as early as last fall, Airbus CEO Guillaume Faury openly discussed the mounting pressure on the aerospace supply chain and how managing the problem will be key to the industry’s recovery.

In this article, we highlight the importance of original parts and equipment manufacturers in the overall supply chain and what to consider when selecting the right partner. 

The Importance of Suppliers
The process of building an aircraft involves assembling an assortment of different types of equipment such as engines, landing gear, actuators, and more. For example, Rolls Royce makes engines that go into Airbus and Boeing airplanes. However, inside of these larger parts are much smaller components such as gaskets, interconnect packaging, and hermetically sealed connectors, etc. — many of which are made by companies like SEALTRON and sold to Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEMs). In fact, it’s been stated that the supply chain is at the very heart of the aviation industry, due to the complexity of the manufacturing ecosystem and three corresponding factors: Value, Innovation, and Vulnerability.

The Importance of Hermetic Suppliers
  • Most of the Value Gets Created at the Supplier Level: When an aircraft is assembled by a manufacturer, it’s made up of a complex system of equipment and components that are provided by a manufacturer’s supply chain partners. Said another way, the primary role of an aircraft manufacturer, like a Boeing or an Airbus,  is assembly of parts and pieces — and not the manufacturing of the parts and pieces themselves. For example, with a typical Boeing jetliner, 80% of the value gets added at the supplier level.
  • Most of the Innovation Occurs at the Supplier Level: Because aircraft manufacturers assemble parts that are purchased from suppliers, they are seldom responsible for the innovation in the industry. Suppliers have led the way in creating new and improved engines, avionics systems, electronic systems, aircraft material, among other things. In fact, the bulk of the industry’s research and development budgets are funded at the supplier level, making supply chain partners essential for the aerospace industry’s evolution. 
  • The Supply Represents the Biggest Opportunity, and the Greatest Vulnerability: Because of the industry’s dynamics, and the role suppliers play in creating value and driving innovation, the health of the supply chain is critical to the very health of the aerospace industry. For these reasons, inadequate resources for production capacity is one of the biggest risks faced by the industry. 
What To Consider When Choosing A Partner

Adding the right supply chain partner can give you are powerful, strategic advantage needed to overcome some of the challenges facing the aerospace industry. When selecting the right supply chain partner, there are a few factors you should consider to mitigate your risk and increase the chance of success. 

    • Vertically integrating all of its operations: Vertical integration allows a supply chain partner to streamline its operations by taking direct ownership of various stages of its production process rather than relying on external subcontractors or third-party suppliers — meaning the manufacturer has brought previously outsourced operations in-house. By vertically integrating, a supply chain partner gains greater control over the production process as information and operations flow more freely. This allows for increased flexibility when adapting to changes in demand.
    • Ability to Scale, Effectively and Efficiently: Producing a high-quality part with a short production time and lowest total cost is crucial for the overall success of a company and its final product. Adding scalability to the process enables companies to better support a sudden surge in production demand or modifications to design features. In the case of custom designed components, the ability to scale also means getting from prototyping to manufacturing as quickly as possible.
    • Certifications, Qualifications, and Quality Control: Electrical connectors used by U.S. Department of Defense were originally developed in the 1930s for severe aeronautical and tactical service applications. These connectors, which now set the standard in most commercial aerospace applications, are often called Military Standard, "MIL-STD” or "MIL-SPEC". Today, all “qualified” or “compliant” connectors must adhere to these specific industry specifications. When it comes to qualified, compliant components, it’s important to find partners with manufacturing plants that also meet the relevant criteria.
    • Customer Service and Support: Despite your supply chain partner’s best effort to produce the products you need; things do not always go according to plan. The partners who add the greatest value to the supply chain are those with strong customer service departments who can anticipate your needs, identify issues before they become “an issue”, and quickly find solutions to keeping things moving forward — those who have three “P”s: Professionalism, Patience, and a “People-first” attitude.
    An Insiders guide to purchasing hermetic connectors for military and aerospace applications

    Our Insider’s Guide to Purchasing Hermetic Connectors will tell you everything you need to know. In this whitepaper, we look more in-depth at what to consider when procuring and purchasing hermetically sealed connectors for extreme aerospace applications.

    The Right Partner for Your Needs

    SEALTRON is the world’s most focused, responsive, and experienced circular hermetic connector manufacturer providing qualified commercial and MIL-STD connectors for a wide range of applications. Our products are made to the highest industry standards — making us your go-to partner when you need highly qualified, high volume hermetic seal connectors. The SEALTRON factory is Qualified Products Listed (QPL’d) on the most significant MIL SPEC glass-to-metal-sealed connector types in the aerospace industry.

    Customised Hermetic Connectors

    • SEALTRON delivers value to OEMs in both commercial and military sectors around the world by: Vertically integrating all of its operations. From material fabrication and simple parts to complex components and clean-room assemblies, we do it all — including testing and in-house analytics. Since we control the entire production chain, we can stand behind our products’ performance over its entire design life.
    • Investing in manufacturing plants that are fast, flexible, and defect-free: With our fully integrated and scalable production system, SEALTRON offers competitive lead times and minimized risk to your supply chai.
    • Manufacturing bulk hermetically sealed connectors that are certified for quality: Over 150 manufacturing facilities, we adhere to AS9100 aerospace quality standards, TS 16949:2002 continuous improvement standards, and the latest lean manufacturing standards. SEALTRON is also ISO 9001:2008 and ISO-14001 certified.
    • Offering customer service that really supports: We partner with service providers around the world for field installation and repairs on any of our products.
    At SEALTRON, we focus entirely on being the experts in high-performance, high-precision hermetically sealed connectors that are built to spec for extreme applications in aviation, space, and defense. These tiny connectors may be the unsung heroes of commercial and military aircraft — representing a very small part of the overall cost of an aircraft's various systems — but they’re essential for getting your project off the ground.

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