In brief

In brief

  • Increasingly sophisticated products and services, along with rising costs, are driving complex challenges for the aerospace and defense industry.
  • New technologies offer part of the solution, but the workforce has a key role to play in scaling digital proofs of concept into production.
  • Aerospace and defense executives recognize a new approach to the workforce is essential to turn it from a barrier into an enabler of transformation.

Rising product and service complexity

From the perspectives of both design and production, aerospace and defense products and services are becoming increasingly sophisticated, creating complex challenges as companies struggle to keep up with production increases and rising costs. Over the next 12 to 18 months, almost 60 percent of commercial aerospace executives expect costs to rise across production labor, raw materials and sub-system or parts costs.1

The convergence of emerging operational and information technologies offers new opportunities to overcome production challenges. However, companies are struggling to translate their ambitious digital transformation strategies from proofs of concept (POCs) into production.

One key barrier? The difficulty in combining the power of machines and humans to work together in new ways. Ninety percent of aerospace and defense executives cite this as their top talent challenge for building and scaling digital pilots.2

The workforce as change agents

Yet the aerospace production workforce is also often cited as a major untapped enabler for change.

Eighty-eight percent of executives recognize that new technologies and workplace data can unlock "trapped" value, but only 34 percent are doing so.3

And this challenge is exacerbated by the accelerating speed at which members of the workforce now move between roles and organizations. Sixty-nine percent of executives say that this has increased the need for reskilling.4

Imperatives for transformation

So, what can aerospace and defense executives do to turn the workforce into an asset enabling manufacturing and production transformation? There are four imperatives:

  1. Operating model and organization
    Establish the blueprint for an organizational structure that supports continuous innovation enabled through digital. Sixty-seven percent of aerospace and defense executives cite this as the top strategic challenge that impedes the pace of organizational transformation to scale digital-POCs across key business areas.5
  2. Leadership
    Nurture agile leaders by equipping middle managers with the skills required to enable digital transformation. Sixty-eight percent of executives cite the lack of these as a critical challenge to building and scaling digital POCs.6
  3. Culture
    Inspire new behaviors to overcome the workforce reluctance and/or skepticism that 65 percent of aerospace and defense executives believe is a top challenge to building and scaling digital POCs.7
  4. Talent
    Retool the workforce to create broader digital fluency among the workforce. Seventy-three percent of aerospace and defense executives see the lack of broad digital skills as hampering the ability to innovate. 8

Get the essentials in under 1 minute

Digital transformation needs more than technology. A truly digital business requires people and machines to work together in new ways.

Making the Workforce a Force for Change

Accenture's video shows how to make the workforce change in Aerospace and defense by combining the power of machines and humans to work together in new ways. See more.

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Defense industry is at the start of the AI revolution

FINN’s Editor-In-Chief, Alan Peaford, interviews Accenture’s Adrian Spragg on the transformation technologies for defense businesses.

Defence industry is 'at the start of the AI revolution'

Accenture expresses its acknowledgments to FINN for giving their permission to feature this video.

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John Schmidt

Senior Managing Director – Aerospace & Defense, Global

Marc Gelle

Senior Managing Director – High Tech Industry, Europe

Adrian Spragg

Managing Director


Distributed ledger for supply chain
Real-world simulations
Reinventing business models with AI

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