Aerospace manufacturing presents a number of unique challenges for companies that build products in that arena. Many of these challenges can be mitigated when the business adopts a project-based manufacturing model. This is true for Australian based aerospace companies, as well as for manufacturing operations located in Australia, that are part of extended international companies.
There are a number of reasons why aerospace manufacturing is helped with a project management orientation. Here are a few:
- Aerospace products are typically built to very tight specifications. The business will want to be sure that each iteration of product delivered to the customer meets the exacting specifications as identified in the customer’s procurement documents. Project based manufacturing provides specific milestones and sign-offs that document how each product produced has met those exacting requirements.
- Aerospace product acquisitions are frequently contract driven with demanding cost allocation support requirements built into the specs. These are typically subject to audit. Businesses want to be able to clearly establish cost parameters for allocating indirect costs over the individual product produced and the project in general. Project-based management is set up to track those types of financial processes in a manner that is generally accepted by financial authority.
- Aerospace businesses usually serve multiple customers, building multiple products with varying degrees of similarity and specified performance requirements. The ability to segregate effort, supply and part acquisition sources and costs, as well as quality testing, is essential. Adopting a project view facilitates the segregation of this information which supports the business’ ability to document and certify their performance for each customer.
- Compliance issues specific to the individual product acquisition are best addressed under the product management orientation, as well. This covers everything from knowing what companies provide supplies and parts, what employees are allowed access to the production of the product, cost supported pricing of the product and price comparison to commercial markets and quality testing processes used, and documentation of, testing results. Federal contracts frequently allow for extreme penalties against companies and employees that avoid, falsify certify compliance or otherwise fail to comply.
It should also be noted that project manufacturing does not need to be adopted by the entire enterprise. If your operation builds product for Aerospace in Sydney and you have other facilities building products for Agriculture or Mining in Brisbane, Perth or off-shore, those facilities can operate in whatever mode best suits their needs.
Aerospace is a demanding, highly scrutinised and highly regulated manufacturing market segment. Project manufacturing can mean the difference between success and failure on so many levels. If you want to maximise your chances for success, serious consideration should be given to adopting project based manufacturing in your aerospace production facilities and operations.