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There was a time not long ago when manufacturing aerospace parts was a fairly straightforward business. OEMs such as Boeing and Airbus would design all of the major subsystems in an aircraft and then provide suppliers with the specifications of the parts they wanted built. Suppliers would comply, often packaging paper documents containing testing and other information along with the requested parts.
For many aerospace suppliers, however, that simple "build-to-print" business model is a thing of the past. Today, OEMs are turning over more responsibility for designing, assembling, and even maintaining subsystems to suppliers in the interest of reducing lead times and sharing program risk and cost. At the same time, OEMs are demanding that suppliers provide more--and more up-to-date--information about things like what specific parts are in a given subsystem, when the parts were produced, by whom, under what conditions, and what quality tests were performed on them.
Suppliers that can provide detailed part pedigree information seamlessly and digitally stand a better chance of holding onto customers--and gaining new ones.
Source: Managing Automation, http://www.managingautomation.com
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