By Bjorn Fehrm
April 22, 2020, ©. Leeham News: With the COVID-19 meltdown of airline traffic and aircraft deliveries, we place a special focus on the airliner industry supply chain in the next months.
Hexcel Corporation reported its 1Q2020 yesterday. In addition to the absence of MAX deliveries for a year, the mounting COVID crisis meant revenue was down with 11% year on year and profits 40%. The merger with Woodward Inc. is off. “This is the time for crisis management, not a merger,” said management.
By Bjorn Fehrm
November 6, 2019, ©. Leeham News at Aviation Forum Munich: The second day of Aviation Forum Munich had an interesting presentation from Boeing’s VP of Sourcing, Jody Franich.
He described the One Boeing approach for Manufacturing and Sourcing and how Boeing is moving away from its supply chain Partnership for Success program, with the supplier cost down focus replaced by a more long-term cooperation model with a mutual benefit focus.
By Bjorn Fehrm
November 5, 2019, ©. Leeham News at Aviation Forum Munich: The Aviation Forum kicked off in Munich today, a yearly production and supply chain event started by the Hannover based Institute for Production Management nine years ago.
Today’s conference themes were How the OEMs benefit from Supplier Innovation, Additive Manufacturing trends and discussions around Outsourcing and Insourcing.
By Bryan Corliss
May 10, 2019, © Leeham News: Senior officials of Mitsubishi Aircraft Corp. said they’ll announce a new concept to replace their proposed MRJ70 at next month’s Paris Air Show. But they’re keeping details to themselves until then.
“We’ve got a couple rabbits in our hat,” said Alex Bellamy, the chief development officer for the MRJ program. “We’d like to keep them in our hat for now. But rabbits have a habit of bouncing.”
Bellamy spoke with a handful of industry reporters Friday at a roundtable following the formal grand opening of Mitsubishi Aircraft Corp America’s new office in Renton (WA). The event – which included the ceremonial opening of sake barrels with hammers–attracted senior executives from MITAC’s headquarters in Nagoya, Japan, and local business and government leaders.
Mitsubishi is flight-testing the 92-seat MRJ90 in the skies above Moses Lake (WA). But in Nagoya, engineers are working on a clean-sheet design for a 76-seat, three-class regional jet.
It’s what the market is calling for, Bellamy said, and right now, there’s a declining number of competitors willing to provide it.
March 14, 2019, © Leeham News: Airbus’ effort to slash supply costs for A220 production is “an ongoing exercise at this point,” Joe Marcheschi, Airbus’ head of procurement in North America, told LNA in an interview last month.
“There are no specific, let’s say, achievements yet,” he said. “We are working closely with our supply chain.”
It takes time to squeeze cost out of the supply chain, he said. “We only took over July 1. That’s when we got full knowledge of the existing contracts.”
In January, Philippe Balducchi, head of the Airbus-led venture overseeing production, told journalists that the aerospace giant aims to realize “significant double-digit” percentage cost reduction. He indicated that most of the savings likely would come from the supply chain, according to news reports.
“Look, the airplane is absolutely fantastic—it just costs a lot of money,” Marcheschi said. “Now, we have to find a way to reduce the cost.”
By Bryan Corliss
February 19, 2019, © Leeham News: Machinists Union members who work at Cadence Aerospace-Giddens in Everett, WA, voted overwhelmingly to approve a new three-year contract with the company.
Ninety percent of those who voted Monday were in favor of the deal, according to the IAM’s District 751. (IAM 751 typically does not release vote totals in its contract elections, only the percentage voting in favor or against.)
IAM 751 President Jon Holden called the contract a “positive agreement.” The union’s negotiating committee called the deal “one members can be proud of and can continue to build upon into the future.”
Oct. 16, 2018, © Leeham News: Puget Sound-area Boeing suppliers are anxiously awaiting an Oct. 30th meeting at the Lynnwood Convention Center. The aerospace giant has invited dozens of suppliers to the meeting.
Attendees have been required to sign non-disclosure forms in advance, though Boeing has been tight-lipped about what exactly it plans to discuss with them. Each company has been limited to sending only two representatives, according to several suppliers attending the meeting.
“It doesn’t matter if you’re a machine shop or a big (tier one supplier), you can only send two people,” said an executive at a Puget Sound-area supplier. The supplier spoke on condition of not being named for fear of losing business with Boeing.
Boeing has indicated that the conference is to discuss sweeping changes to how the terms and structure of its supply chain contracts. But it has revealed few details, according to executives at two suppliers.
“You know it’s bad if they won’t tell you what it’s about,” one of the executives said.
September 3, 2018, © Leeham News: Boeing’s insistence that more and more subcontractors meet stringent aerospace manufacturing standards risks adding cost and reducing flexibility to the supply chain, several direct and indirect Boeing suppliers tell LNC.
The aerospace giant is requiring more second and third tier suppliers have AS9100 certification. Until recent years, OEMs and their direct suppliers typically were the only companies that formally complied with AS9100.
Subcontractors were expected to conform to the standards, but did not have to formally comply with the requirements. Doing so is expensive and time consuming. Subcontractors’ work was covered by the Tier 1 suppliers’ or Boeing’s AS9100 certification.
The AS9100 standards were adopted in the late 1990s to improve and standardize quality management throughout the increasingly global aerospace industry.
By Dan Catchpole
August 20, 2018, © Leeham News: There is a fundamental tension in aerospace’s DNA.
It has been there since Kitty Hawk: Balancing the hunger to push technological boundaries with the desire to stay safe.
The Wright Flyer only flew after years of painstakingly testing airframes and engines. That tension between being bold and being safe is evident today in commercial aerospace’s adoption of additive manufacturing.
Just about every major player in the aerospace industry is exploring additive manufacturing, or 3D printing. Most of the integration has been at the margins. The technology is still young enough that there is no clear leader in its application to aerospace. Everyone is trying to find how to get the most from it.