Manufacturing & Supply Chain

The Manufacturing Supply Chain Working Group (MSC WG) is focussed on enabling the UK aerospace supply chain to grow and extend its global leadership in manufacturing hence creating the industrial strength for sustained competitiveness. In  the context of the AGP strategy The working group is responsible for addressing issues around manufacturing competitiveness and growth for the entire UK aerospace industry. A key focus area is ensuring the development and management of the AGP’s supply chain initiatives around productivity, capability, competitiveness and collaboration.

To meet the world’s needs and ensure commercial success, the next generation of UK aerospace products must be tangibly better and differentiated from competitor offerings. They need to do more (or do the same but better) at lower cost with higher safety and minimised environmental impact. Manufacturing is a core enabler to delivering products with these attributes. New manufacturing technologies and manufacturing processes will unlock design innovation, advance product capability, enhance the way products are used and supported (reducing the environmental footprint in manufacture, operation and disposal) whilst satisfying customer demand for rapid delivery.

To enable a competitive future in UK aerospace manufacturing, the MSC working group will focus on four key areas to deliver its goal of strategic manufacturing enhancement:

Grow capacity to ensure the delivery, up take and use of best practice of manufacturing technologies that improve productivity and capacity.

To maximise the exploitation of best practice manufacturing technology the MSC WG will build upon the foundations of the Manufacturing Accelerator Programme (MAP) and the MTC change handbook. This will help to engage SMEs in innovation, enabling increased productivity, capacity and capability through the application of best current and future looking technologies. The MSC WG will do this by raising awareness in SMEs of the potential benefits that ‘value accelerator’ tools and techniques can deliver and making guided implementation accessible.

Promote and support the skills development of manufacturing companies.

The MSC WG will support the delivery of the SC21 Competitiveness and Growth programme, ensuring manufacturing ‘knowhow’ is at the core of the improvement programme. The programme will equip suppliers with the tools and experience required to compete on the global market.

Drive increased collaboration between aerospace manufacturers.

In recognition of the common challenges facing aerospace manufacturers, the MSC WG looks to encourage companies of all sizes to collaborate on the development of new manufacturing technology and processes whilst sharing the learning from prior manufacturing capability development activities where possible. As one of the routes to promoting collaboration, the MSC WG will engages with the I-Aero project. The iAero partnership has developed a regionally focussed collaborative approach in the South West that is seeking to bring together aerospace companies with common challenges to collaborate on advanced technology, skills development, supply chain productivity and competiveness. The desire would be to extend this initiative in other regions (as is already starting to happen) and create linkages where possible. Cross-sector engagement, contribution to national strategy development (e.g. Additive Manufacturing and Digital / Intelligent Manufacturing) and linking into the Productivity Leadership Group activities will be other routes explored for collective advancement.

Build UK supply chain capability to support SCA challenges

The AGP worked with its members to produce a cross-sector Strategic Competency Analysis (SCA) to assess UK priority work packages. 6 SCA papers were produced informing the AGP Working Groups, Aerospace Supply Chain and ATI. The MSC WG will draw out the key manufacturing elements and ensure they are promoted and sustained within the ATI project portfolio. As well as these product technology driven developments, the group will also look to identify and respond to the need for developments in manufacturing processes.

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