ERP for Aerospace Companies

The aerospace industry stands out from many others in that it has an extremely low margin of error. The smallest mistake can lead to huge consequences, be it a grounded airplane causing cancellations or a financial decision that costs a company millions of dollars. Several ERP solutions have been developed to address the specific issues facing the aerospace industry.

To begin with, ERP software can help keep an aerospace company in full compliance with FAA, DoD, JAA, and APICS regulations. For example, if an employee accidentally authorizes the use of components failing to meet current performance standards, an ERP system can automatically detect this and immediately provide details about the necessary governmental directives.

ERP for aerospace companies typically includes specific modules that can improve quality management. The software will usually have a master parts list including a description and photo of each item and it can quickly provide information on data such as operation names, approved work centers and containers that are being used for a project.

Resource planning and forecasting tools are common to most aerospace ERP implementations. Many solutions provide access to electronic Kanban scheduling, a utility that offers persistent information on component usage and replacement scheduling.

Additionally, many ERP solutions include a visual sequence board that can assist employees with production scheduling.

Aerospace companies use ERP to monitor events occurring within the manufacturing process. This includes new materials acquisition, inventory modifications, subcontract fulfillment, work completions, and product shipments.

Another feature of aerospace ERP systems is the ability bid on products yet to be fully defined. Systems can estimate size and shape of products and then make changes to manufacturing template if a client requirement changes. This is in direct contrast to generic ERP solutions that tend to require fixed definitions of products to be entered into the system.

One final issue most ERP systems for aerospace companies take into account for is the tiered procurement of goods. The software is designed to manage a multifaceted supply chain, for example if several different suppliers process a single component before it reaches the company's manufacturing floor.

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Shane Starr

About the author…

Shane Starr is a former ERP project manager, with business experience in manufacturing management, supply chain, finance, and strategic planning.

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Shane Starr

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