Big Data it is opening doors within the aerospace and defense (A&D) industries and in new markets. The digital power of Big Data transcends the aerospace and defense product lifecycle. 3D printing is revolutionizing supply chain opportunities. OEM is now a digital integrator. Information is a product. The question is how does your company fit into the digital age of A&D?  In this blog, we travel the digital highway and help you answer that question.

Total Lifecycle Owner

Data is moving faster. With more components capable of holding sensors, data is key. The reward from Big Data is the real-time opportunity for aftermarket add-ons. Software for aerospace and defense becomes a gateway from OEM opportunities.

Imagine that you are an aerospace components manufacturer. Your company just launched a new version of a jet engine. That engine is more efficient, powerful, and cost saving. The sensors in that engine show you where supporting systems cause inefficiency. So you redesign a fuel cell that boosts power and reduces fuel costs. How much value did you add to your engine? That is just one example of how real-time data improves opportunities. The real opportunity is in all the components that become aftermarket products for OEM. Yet, the key is not just data, but the management of data. Especially for aerospace government contracting. According to Aerospace Engineering, the next decade will bring a 40 percent increase in A&D.

It is not just the value of the fuel cell. The technology that improves the fuel cell translates to other industries. Did you just create technology that may boost commercial airlines profits? Did you just improve automotive’s bottom line? What you did is produce technology that is valuable outside of the A&D industry. You have opened up income opportunities. By developing a product that spans industries. Information has value. In the A&D industry, that value is worth $billions. In the global economy, that information could be worth trillions. The question is how do you increase profits? The answer is all about collaborative data intake.

The Risk That Holds You Back

Do you develop or not? You have a million dollar idea. How do you know if it is workable or doomed to failure? That is a tough question because the cost of failure is expensive. A big question for A&D companies is how many million dollar ideas are gathering dust? Risk holds product development. Technology increases revenue streams and open new markets and partnerships across industries. In so doing, you lose risk and gain reward. What if your jet engine detected particulate levels in the air? Your A&D contracts would love that. The cross-industry gateway might be in the commercial airline industry. Data helps you to reduce risk. That leaves you open for developing those million dollar ideas. To gain more revenue streams you need collaborators — partners that help your company gain better data. OEM moves aerospace manufacturing companies into new industries. Here’s how.

As you embrace aerospace technology, more data flows. The more sensors you add, the great the production of data. Data becomes self-accumulating. We discussed the data collected. Smart companies do not rely just on their data. Data become more marketable when you share data input points. Those sharing gateways begin with OEM.


A good example of this is Rolls Royce. They use an engine health management system to collect data from flights all over the world. They are not only global but also span industries, including the A&D and civil markets. Industries may include aerospace logistics, manufacturing, maintenance, technology, and even resource development companies. Digital transformation is occurring throughout defense manufacturing and aerospace technology.

Collaboration opens new revenue streams for aerospace applications. For A&D manufacturing companies, the key is add-on technology. For that, OEM partnerships are key. For companies that supply aerospace technology, the payoff is $billions. Your engine helps satisfy your contracts. Its technology becomes a bridge that spans A&D and reaches outward. Who it touches may include repair teams, B2B customers, and passengers on commercial flights. It is not the engine you designed. It is the technology. You span product development to help OEM companies develop tools and goods. Your customers want that. Your customer’s customers want that. By selling more than your jet engine, you gain greater product lines and new customers. By helping your customers perform, you gain their customers through partnership. That is what OEM is. It is a partnership and Big Data, the Internet of Things, and technology are key players.  Those gains are profit. You achieve them by reducing risk. Data is the gateway to reducing risk.

3D Printing: Data’s Cost Saving Tool

3D printing is an advantageous aerospace technology for manufacturing and design. When we talk about those million dollar ideas, 3D printing becomes a cost saving tool of design. Data illustrates issues in product design. Technology allows for easier redesign and your 3D printer prints out the results. Bolt it on and try the improved design. Test it, package it and then sell it. With OEM, you don’t have to do any of that. Using your technology and 3D printing capabilities, your OEM partners can print the add-ons.

Between 2014 and 2015 NASA designed the first 3D woven composite for thermal protection systems. The new composite will become part of the Orion mission in 2025 and 2030. This is a breakthrough in aerospace technology. As an example of how 3D printing benefits aerospace and defense companies, how could your company use that data? What other industries might profit from that data? 

In the case of our example: What would happen if you partnered with an OEM company that resold your aircraft manufacturing software. The software continually balanced fuel efficiency saving their customers ten percent of fuel costs. Remember that jet engine you created? What if you developed those fuel cells for non-A&D aircraft. Could you not offer the option to your OEM resellers to print fuel cells to also sell to their clients? That is the power of data. The question for you is how to get there. The answer is SAP.

To find out more about Digital Transformation for the Aerospace & Defense Industry, click here.

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