ERP in the aerospace sector

Celebrating 30 years' experience of delivering tangible, real world benefits to manufacturers across most business sectors, leading UK ERP author Exel Computer Systems plc has accumulated a particularly high level of insight and understanding regarding the most critical demands made on ERP systems within different markets. Aerospace manufacturers have long relied on this expertise and here Exel shares the most important factors these companies are taking into consideration when deciding on their ERP investment.

The common theme that runs through them all is an absolute commitment to quality and safety, whether what is being supplied is an individual precision machined component or an entire wing section or engine assembly. At the heart of providing this is the necessity for complete product traceability and serialisation. As Andrew Wallace, IT manager at Martin Aerospace said: "Quality control and traceability is central to our business. Not just at a batch or individual product level, but right down to every process on every raw material item. One faulty bolt is enough to potentially bring down a plane – so there can be no margin for error."

Complete product traceability

Whereas earlier ERP systems often had to rely on third-party solutions or costly bespoke programming, modern state-of-the-art systems such as EFACS E/8 have complete product traceability, batch and/or serialisation, as standard. EFACS E/8 offers the flexibility and configuration possibilities of both backwards and forwards traceability ‘out of the box' reducing initial cost and ongoing overheads.

Linked to this is the requirement for aerospace ERP systems to provide full certification and document control. In earlier ERP systems with basic capabilities, this still involved a lot of duplication in terms of generating the relevant documents, scanning and filing these, and then tailoring them to the different requirements of individual customers. Modern ERP systems, designed with the needs of the aerospace sector in mind, provide automated and integrated functionality via a combination of workflow and document management. This dovetails seamlessly with the system's traceability as all relevant certification/documentation is linked at either a batch or serial number level.

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Manufacturing & Logistics IT - ERP in the aerospace sector