Digital Adoption is Key in A&D Supply Chain Management

By September 10, 2021blog

For aerospace and defense companies, the COVID-19 pandemic has illustrated the growing need to double down on digital technologies. The industry as a whole has historically lagged behind other industries in adopting digital tools in the supply chain. Despite developing some of the world’s most sophisticated technological marvels. The reasons cite everything from an older workforce to a lack of understanding of why and how digital is better for business.

But now, it’s no longer a matter of wondering whether there’s value in shifting to digital or how it contributes to sustainable success. Digital adoption supports efficient, scalable, sustainable supply chain operations, leading to opportunities to gain a competitive advantage and achieve financial and strategic goals.

The COVID pandemic has quickened the pace of digital acceleration for many industries, according to McKinsey’s research. Supply chain companies in the A&D space have sped up digital adoption by several years just in the last 18 months or so. And while these changes may have initially been temporary responses in the face of a crisis, it’s likely that many of these changes will continue to stick once “normal” operations resume.

Here’s why digital adoption is likely here to stay — and why it should:

Digital Technology Has Been Put to the Test — and Passed

Traditionally, bringing new technologies and processes onboard for supply chain companies meant carefully exploring options, weighing pros and cons, testing different solutions, and collecting evidence before moving forward on a large scale. The pandemic left little time for this, however, and instead forced companies to react quickly and investigate later.

This was a time of testing in real-time and tweaking strategies on the fly. Research from BCG found that mature supply chains that had previously invested in digital tools were better equipped to navigate the COVID storm and adapt to changing conditions, such as streamlining delivery models.

Digital is Proving Essential for Business Continuity

In the face of shutdowns, slowdowns, and labor shortages, supply chain partners faced a mountain of challenges to keep business moving forward. However, companies that invested in advanced technology like automation, robotics, and AI experienced smaller impacts on their business continuity.

For example, when logistics are upheld from lockdowns, social distancing requirements, and slower transportation times, digital tools can help to fill the gap. Technology unites supply chain partners across geographic territories and data ecosystems, helping to stay connected to important data, anticipate and react to changes, and keep going despite disruptions.

What’s Next for Digital Technology in A&D Supply Chain Management?

The effects of digital adoption have been largely positive in the supply chain, prompting more companies to expand their investments in this area. After grabbing low-hanging fruit like cloud-based data sharing systems, companies are likely to explore connected systems. This can include 3D printing for parts and components, and automation to address the growing labor and skills shortages.

Stay tuned for our upcoming post on A&D supply chain strategies that are best supported by digital adoption and see how new technologies are being used in real-time. To learn more about how AeroMed Group is equipping aerospace supply chain companies with sophisticated, yet simple to use data visualization tools to better their supplier experience, contact [email protected].