Increase success rates through optimized concepts and proposals, and know how to deliver it.
In the mid-1930’s engineers faced many challenges in designing the world’s first supersonic aircraft. The term “sound barrier” was coined as they sought to reach a speed faster than the speed of sound. “Sound barrier” also represented the hurdle to prove a plane could be built to safely carry a pilot and crew flying supersonic. In 1947, with the sharp crack of a sonic boom over the Mohave Dessert, Captain Chuck Yeager safely overcame those hurdles and broke the sound barrier.
At each milestone in aviation history, engineers and daring aviators and astronauts have found ways to break the bounds of earth’s gravity. The Montegolfier Brothers developed the first balloons in 1783. The Wright Brothers recorded the first powered flight in 1903. Yuri Gagarian achieved first orbit in 1961. And, Neil Armstrong took the first step on the moon in 1969. These first pioneers of aerospace boldly led the world into new frontiers of flight.
Today, we are part of a new century of powered flight and space exploration. With the same daring and the advantages of new technologies, aerospace inventors push the boundaries of flight. Regional aerospace companies like Embraer and Saab Aerospace are disrupting the aerospace market with their own programs. Start-ups like Joby Aviation, Boom, Blue Origin and Space X push the envelope of what is possible. Established players also reinvent and reinvigorate their businesses by accelerating innovation and driving down costs.
Just before you break through the sound barrier, the cockpit shakes the most.
An Industry Poised for Growth
With increased competition and demand for new technology to make the world safer and easier to travel in a sustainable way, the Aerospace and Defense (A&D) industry continually reshapes itself, building on its long history and culture of innovation.
Security concerns across the globe have fueled increased levels of defense spending, especially in the United States, Europe, China, Russia, Korea and Japan. Global instability is driving growth in defense budgets after years of stagnation. Starting in 2017, global defense spending is rising. Global expenditures were $1.682 trillion in 2017 and projected to grow to $2.023 trillion by 2022. Defense contractors must leverage new technologies to modernize national defense capabilities quickly to meet these new potential threats.
New approaches are needed to meet current demand and the growth potential in the commercial market. Passenger traffic expected to double over the next 20 years, coupled with a roughly 13,500 commercial aircraft backlog means commercial manufacturers know success lies in ramp-up production rates. The backlog has grown from just under 5 years in 2009 to just under 10 years in 2018. Operators can’t continue to wait a decade to support passenger demand.
Emerging players from Brazil, India, and China, as well as a resurgent Russia, see opportunity in the commercial and defense markets. Previously, manufacturers in developing countries helped major aircraft OEMs like Boeing and Airbus cut costs and reduce time-to-market. These same companies now pose a threat by building their own programs to go after the surging demand and lengthening backorders by offering compelling cost advantages (roughly 20 to 25 percent lower). These new OEMs will increase the competitive pressures on legacy OEMs as they seek to meet the demand in their local markets.
Once a costly and difficult business to penetrate, the space market has been turned on its head over the past 10 years with the emergence of start-ups like Blue Horizon, Space X and many others. Start-ups have jump-started a new space race for human missions to Mars and commercial passenger trips to the Moon and likely more ambitious goals. New start-ups embrace enabling new technologies like 3D printing and engineer reusable rocketry will dramatically change all previous conventions. This threatens to overthrow traditional space companies if they don’t innovate and reinvent themselves.
With the rise of technological advancements in collaboration, engineering, and manufacturing the previous boundaries have shifted and made the unthinkable, possible. Those rising to the top are the pioneering companies – traditional and start-up -- reinventing their vision, the way they work, and the services and products they deliver and make.
Breaking the Collaboration Barrier
Many of today’s program management techniques and collaboration methods were invented in the 1950s and 1960s. That was the advent of the Critical Path Method (CPM) by DuPont, program evaluation and review technique (PERT) by Lockheed Martin and the Department of the Navy, and waterfall techniques perfected by NASA to help man get to the moon. The invention of the work breakdown structure revolutionized the organizational structure, tools and processes of the mid-20th century and it’s still predominately used today.
While these techniques were quite successful last century, they may be holding companies back today. Work processes and organizations structures still follow this very sequential process, resulting in multiple loops between the design office, the program office and of course, the manufacturing environment.
More than ever, companies must work more collaboratively across time zones, languages, and organizations to deliver new innovations to market. As companies evolve to work more collaboratively instead of operating in functional, organizational or geographic silos, an integrated platform is required to bring together an entire program - including program management, engineering, testing, manufacturing and operations. By moving beyond Product Data Management (PDM) or Product Lifecycle Management (PLM) systems -- to an enterprise-wide innovation platform -- all functions can collaborate in near real-time to build a program from concept to take-off.
Seamless digital collaboration extends to teams around the globe, from defining the initial program requirements, to developing the systems engineering architecture and system DMU, optimizing designs, designing the manufacturing process and using both virtual and physical testing to complete certification. Seamless digital collaboration on one platform enables rapid acceleration of new programs from concept to takeoff while significantly cutting development costs.