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by Tim Wilson

How to succeed in the aerospace parts manufacturing industry

For many job shops, getting into the aerospace sector is appealing, but also daunting. The barriers are high and the constraints numerous, lengthy and expensive. One effective way to penetrate the supply chain is to get involved with existing research and innovation consortia.

"These research consortia bring together all the stakeholders from the industry in a given region," says Sylvain Cofsky of the Green Aviation Research and Development Network (GARDN). "Working on one research project helps build trust between OEMs and suppliers, and could lead to a shop being considered as a potential future supplier."

Cofksy also recommends participation in the Canadian Aerospace Summit B2B meetings with Canadian OEMs. Auto 21 has sent representatives in the past, and the next Summit is scheduled to take place in November 2014.

Aerospace Tips from the AIAC
A lot of job shops want to get a piece of the high-value manufacturing that is a hallmark of the aerospace industry. Below are some tips from the experts at the Aerospace Industries Association of Canada (AIAC).

  • Think long-term. Recognize that while aerospace work is high value and can be lucrative, it often requires significant investment in both equipment and processes to qualify for high quality work. "A long-term strategy for how and when to invest would be prudent," says Jim Quick, AIAC's president & CEO.
  • Leverage what you already know. There are materials, machining, or technological processes from other industries that lend themselves to aerospace–the auto industry is a prime example of this.
  • Get to know the industry's standards and practices. As an industry, innovation is critical, but so is quality and reliability. "Conforming to standards, obtaining certifications and demonstrating an effective quality control regime are important in order to build a reputation and win new work," says Quick. Businesses that learn to innovate and find ways to reduce delivery time and cost while retaining quality and reliability can be very successful.
  • Explore R&D collaboration with the aerospace community. Canada's new national research collaboration network offers opportunities to conduct research with industry, universities, colleges and research institutions on manufacturing processes, materials and more.
  • Participate in industry programs and events. Get involved in GARDN, or invest in a membership with the AIAC. Consider participating in a supplier development program such as MACH or Competitive Edge, or the new national program, which will be rolled out later this year. The benefits of an AIAC membership are many: networking opportunities; advice on government programs and policies; information on regulatory frameworks; and information on supplier development programs and events. SMT

Tim Wilson is a contributing editor. This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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