RESEARCH REPORT

In brief

In brief

  • As aerospace and defense supply chains embrace ever larger ecosystems, traceability, trust and security between partners are critical.
  • Distributed ledger technologies like blockchain offer a solution, and 61 percent of aerospace and defense companies are implementing or piloting these.
  • But to get the greatest value, companies must also embrace other new technologies—such as mobility, cloud and AI—as part of a broader solution.


Supply chain: An innovation priority

With thousands of suppliers responsible for delivering advanced and innovative components or materials to Tier 1 suppliers and OEMs, supply chain and logistics have long been critical to the success of every major aerospace and defense program. Today, supply chain and logistics are the industry’s top innovation priority.1

What’s driving that focus? The pace of technology disruption, demand for higher production rates, and the growth of aftermarket services are all increasing pressure on the aerospace and defense supply chain.

What’s more, as aerospace and defense supply chains evolve into complex ecosystems, they’ll see more partnerships developing in the coming three years, including the developer community, startups, competitors and other industry players.

In such a diverse environment, traceability and security will be crucial.2 Eighty-five percent of aerospace executives believe that customer trust is very important in their consideration of ecosystem partners.3 And to address that imperative, distributed ledger technologies, like blockchain, have arrived as a technically viable solution to address the challenges associated with data fidelity and trust.

It’s a development that the industry is keen to explore. Sixty-one percent of aerospace and defense executives indicated that they are at least piloting distributed ledger technology. Nearly half of these companies have deployed solutions across one or more business units.4

Creating a trusted network

However, to achieve the benefits promised by distributed ledger technologies across the industry will require a minimum viable network of partners to participate in the ecosystem. Today, only 30 percent of aerospace and defense executives utilize distributed ledgers in their companies in order to achieve desired outcomes and performance improvements in supply chain.5

So, what are the specific benefits to the supply chain that will drive greater participation in a distributed ledger network? Tracking parts, change orders, and design changes are becoming increasingly complicated. For distributed ledgers to be effective in solving these challenges, they need to be deployed at scale beyond the OEM and further into the supply base. That’s the focus of OEMs today. Supplier quality and supply chain provenance are two of the leading use cases that aerospace and defense companies are pursuing to demonstrate value in their distributed ledger proofs of concept.

Driving more value

But to realize their full value, distributed ledgers will need to work with other existing and emerging technologies such as artificial intelligence (AI), extended reality (XR) and quantum computing. Today, mobility, cybersecurity, digital twins and cloud computing are the top cited technologies deployed in the aerospace supply chain function to achieve desired outcomes and performance improvements.6

Sixty-seven percent of executives anticipate the combination of distributed ledger technology, AI, XR and quantum computing will have an extensive or transformational impact on their organization over the next three years7.

While focusing on those technologies today, aerospace and defense companies must also look to the future and understand how they can incorporate the next wave of innovation to drive even greater value throughout the supply chain ecosystem.



Experience the power of blockchain

Play this interactive game to experience how blockchain can address some of the key challenges in aerospace and defense.

Based on Accenture’s patent pending solution for blockchain-based configuration management, the game provides a simplified environment to show how blockchain can help managers reduce service costs and increase asset availability.



John Schmidt

Managing Director


Marc Gelle

​Senior Managing Director


Craig Gottlieb

Principal Director

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