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