Aerospace supply chain has a change for the better

Dave Bull, director of TEC Concepts explains why the SC21 change programme can improve the competitiveness of the supply chain in the defence and aerospace industries.

Electronics companies are undertaking the implementation of SC21 (Supply Chains of the 21st Century). SC21 is a change programme designed to accelerate the competitiveness of the aerospace and defence industries by raising performance and ensuring the sustainability of its supply chains.

International competition necessitates rapid improvement in the effectiveness of supply chains. At the same time, industry must ensure that it delivers competitive solutions for customers whilst maintaining profitable business growth.

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SC21 is run by ADS, a trade organisation for companies operating in the aerospace, defence, security and space industries. SC21 is fast becoming a globally recognised improvement programme.

Taking part in SC21 involves a number of key steps. The first step in the process is to sign up for SC21 and establish a ‘SC21 business group’ typically comprising around 5 to 10 customers/suppliers who should themselves be SC21 signatories or primes.

Stage 1 is to align how you measure quality and delivery with each of the business group members. This will give a number of matrices on quality and delivery such as numbers of components rejected vs delivered, request date vs promised date vs actual delivery date & within the delivery window.

This is needed as few customers formally issue vendor score cards on how suppliers are meeting their quality and delivery expectations.

Stage 2 is to conduct the formal SC21 diagnostics, specifically ‘Bus ex’ (business excellence) and ‘Man ex’ (manufacturing excellence) diagnostics. These are programmes for improvements and will each surface a number of improvement projects which are collated into a ‘Continuous Sustainable Improvement Plan (CSIP)’.

Stage 3 CSIP is given to each member of the business group for comment. At any one time the company could be working on six to ten improvement projects in each of the diagnostic areas to improve their business performance (e.g. leadership, strategy) and manufacturing processes (e.g. lean).

Stage 4 The whole process takes 3 – 6 months and at the end of this, if quality and delivery reach the SC21 acceptance criteria, the company can formally submit to a SC21 bronze recognition award. There are also silver and gold awards for more challenging quality and delivery, which include a ‘Rel ex’ (relationships excellence) diagnostic.

The process may sound daunting as it is fairly technical, but there is a lot of support available from ADS and specialist consultants.

Following initial deployment of SC21, it is possible to subsequently move onto full SC21 implementation and then when performance levels for Q & D achieve the appropriate level, a submission for an SC21 recognition award can be prepared.

SC21 is not an easy choice to make. However in today’s world of relentless focus on efficiency and quality, it can help to position electronics companies at the forefront of the industry and maintain one step ahead of competitors.



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