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Engineering Outsourcing in the Aerospace Industry

Aerospace Industry and Engineering Outsourcing

The aerospace industry has not been spared from the roll out of outsourcing – particularly engineering outsourcing. There is already an understanding on the value that this type of outsourcing can bring to the industry. Despite the concerns in security, regulation, and challenge from strong internal cultures, it cannot be denied that outsourcing can increase performance while keeping cost structure manageable. What is the impact of engineering outsourcing in the aerospace industry?

 Outsourcing Solutions

The outsourcing solutions for the aerospace industry is not entirely new. Some have been around as early as two decades ago, which means that outsourcing providers have considerable skill and deep understanding of the industry.  By far, engineering outsourcing does not only relate to a reduction of labor costs, but more importantly, it helps to achieve higher performance in non-core areas.

Outsourcing also helps to free up resources so that high value activities receive greater focus. It can also translate to improved management focus, access to high quality technology, improved workforce skills, and standardized processes among others.

A good example of engineering outsourcing solutions is the historic feat of Boeing for the 787.  The company did not use its pool of aircraft engineers and mechanics, but rather it went with a team of international engineers and suppliers from Japan, France, Italy, Australia, the United States, and other places for its components. All of which were assembled by Boeing workers in the United States.

According to the company, the outside partnership made the aircraft project possible. Despite the need for some tweaking, it cannot be denied that the involvement of international suppliers is significant. This can be seen through the development and understanding of technologies as well as options that were needed to keep the project moving. The partner suppliers made their own design and manufacturing including providing funding.

Dealing with Complications

There is no denying that the process of building an aircraft is rather complicated; at least in comparison to other commonly outsourced tasks. You will need the best engineers working together with skilled builders. It is also essential that they perform their tasks not only in close proximity, but sans the cultural barriers and bureaucratic issues as well.

Outsourcing has a way of dealing with such complications that concerns about borders and language barriers rarely become an issue. In the case of Boeing, large sections of its plane was built in four different countries and then brought together for assembly in another country.

The increased quantity of work exceeds the traditional borders because of the shared risks and costs necessary to come up with the best aircraft that is comparatively lighter than what is in the air today. This venture is motivated by the desire to save on fuel among others, something that outsourcing has made possible by overcoming technological challenges.

Reliance on foreign partners to increase engineering skills may have an impact on the internal culture of companies like Boeing, but, in the context of coming up with better aircrafts, it becomes necessary to adapt to a few changes.

Companies need to make sure that core competencies are never outsourced. Why? Because this is what gives the organization value.

Moving to Engineering Outsourcing

Is there a right time to start engineering outsourcing in the aerospace industry? Just like any other industry, the decision to outsource may be dictated by internal factors. For example, company mergers may prompt management to outsource some areas of operation where former key personalities have been retrenched. This gives the merged companies the same level or greater technical skills at a fraction of the cost it would take to retain technical positions.

Sometimes the shifting priorities of the company would be the determining factor in deciding to outsource. A player in the aerospace industry may decide that outsourcing can lead to engineering dominance that will result in long-term profits.

Relocation is another factor that can push companies to outsource. If the company moves to a new location where the labor workforce is not as skilled or uncooperative, then the option to outsource may be put on the table.

The number of projects that the company is handling is another determinant whether engineering outsourcing is called for. Rather than stretch the skills and capabilities of its workforce, outsourcing provides the solution to increase efficiency and meet deadlines without stressing the workforce or over extending the budget while keeping with the project timeline.

Exploring new technologies that will increase the efficiency of aircrafts and deliver better services to customers can also move companies to outsource. Bringing back the case of Boeing, working on a new model as a response to the demands of airlines to increase fuel efficiency, it began looking into the use of carbon-composite structure that would help create lighter aircrafts. This would result in 20% less fuel consumption than the aluminum crafts currently in use.

Maintaining Control

Although companies in the aerospace industry may decide to outsource, this does not mean that it would lose control over the production process. Companies may choose to outsource the manufacturing or the wing design for example, but it can still maintain control by overseeing the production process.

Essentially, partnering through outsourcing is intended to bring higher standards into the company in terms of performance, safety, and product quality. Although the company may lose out in learning new skills, the tradeoff is that it can come out with better performing aircrafts using newer designs and technology.

The selection process for the outsource partner is critical to ensure that there will be no delays in the production process. It will also ensure that the outsource company would be always available whenever its expertise would be needed. This would make moving to outsourcing worth the investment.

Judging the Result

Much like any feat of engineering, determining whether the decision to outsource is correct or not lies on the final product. An aircraft that promises a smoother, quieter, and more comfortable ride would surely excite frequent flyers.

On the other hand, when the promise of fuel efficiency is realized, airlines would definitely be jubilant. In both instances, engineering outsourcing can be considered a success. Going back to the case of Boeing, despite the challenges and hiccups in its decision to use international suppliers, manufacturers, and partners, it can still be considered a success because of the record number of orders that it received for an aircraft that remains in the developmental stage.

This is proof that engineering outsourcing in the aerospace industry can work with the right partners, adequate planning, and commitment.

intranet failure

Intranet Failure: How We Rebuilt from Disaster in Weeks

There are always risks in any major software project, such as your company’s intranet. Some of us may have heard or read a couple of intranet horror stories that lead us into questioning the efficiency of an intranet system. One of the reasons why intranet fails is because of the users themselves. It’s either no one uses it or your employees fall flat in adopting the new system. Having said that, there are also cases where the intranet is the one to blame for your frustrations while doing your work. If there is intranet failure, what should you do about it?

Intranet Failure: How We Rebuilt From Disaster In Weeks

The first step in rebuilding from an intranet failure and disaster is to acknowledge the fact that your intranet sucks. From there on, find a solution, our solution, that will patch up the shortcomings on how you use your intranet. Here are some stories of intranet failure of some businesses and how they moved up from the disaster.

Using the intranet without considering the other members of the team

In 2011, Direct TV used an intranet system in an effort to establish a connected enterprise. The company’s goal is truly amazing, but they failed to key in the needs of the other members of their team. Initially, the intranet was launched only to the corporate business divisions and certain resource groups. What Direct TV fell flat in doing is to include 30,000 plus of their other workforce. The result? An inefficient collaboration that looked like a waste of resources.

DIrect TV picked up from this disastrous path by first admitting that things are not doing so well. Then they came up with a thorough and in-depth training plan so that the whole team will be connected. Those who first adopted the intranet became ambassadors that helped during the transition period. The bottom line here is that Direct TV succeeded through collective desire and eagerness to embrace and accept the changes brought by the intranet.

Using the intranet without considering permissions and security

On a typical work morning, the employees of a company received a suspicious e-mail from an unknown sender. The manager read the e-mail and his face turned red when he saw that the sender was divulging the company’s business secrets. The IT head immediately looked for the culprit through the digital paper trail, and found out that the chain came from their intranet. Through the intranet’s content management system, the IT head discovered the person responsible for the e-mail blast and removed his/her access to the CMS. The bottom line of the story is to always consider the security when giving permissions to access the intranet.

pilot-ufo-sighting

Helping Pilots to Fly Straighter

Many dream of becoming pilots looking at them as job that offers plenty of opportunities. Pilots do get to travel a lot and are paid really well for their services. This is the reason why a career as a pilot is what a huge number of kids sought after. With that being said, just like any other jobs, pilots have their own set of pros and cons. One of the disadvantages is with regards to their workplace. A huge number of pilots suffer and experience neck and back pains with them spending their working time in cramped cockpits. Let us look at common health issues pilots face while at the same time look for solutions on how to alleviate the problem.

As mentioned earlier, due to their work environment pilots oftentimes spend time in cramped cockpits. It’s not really that bad at first, however if you are travelling in distant location you will mostly be spending a considerable amount of hours or even an entire day in the cockpit. This results to the development of a lot of neck and back problems that are simply too hard to ignore. This contributes in killing the overall enjoyment experience with regards to flying. It is good to hear however, many pilots were able to fly much straighter with timely and effective help found through chiropractic & physiotherapeutic treatments found today. This in turn allows them get back in shape right away.

Chiropractic medicine focuses on treating health problems that affect the nerves, muscles, bones, and joints of the body. For pilots, these are usually the areas of their body where they will be experiencing the most pains. Chiropractors are the ones who will be diagnosing, treating and as well as preventing mechanical disorders of the musculoskeletal system. They also look into the effect of these disorders on the function of the nervous system and general health. Relieving pain, increasing mobility and getting their patients back to full health and movement is what they are aiming on accomplishing.

Physiotherapeutic treatments function mostly the same making them easy to relate chiropractic practice within them. It is considered as a physical medicine and rehabilitation specialty that remediates impairments and promotes mobility, function, and quality of life through examination, diagnosis, prognosis, and physical intervention. These individuals have been trained in the use of exercise therapy to strengthen their patient’s muscles as well as improve their function.

Another advantage chiropractic & physiotherapeutic treatments offer when compared to other options is with regards to their approach to non-invasive procedures. Patients will not be required to go through intensive major surgical operations just to treat their neck or back problems. Practitioners focus on natural ways of treating their patients helping speed up the overall healing process. As a result, patients need not to go through extra trouble while at the same time benefit greatly from the risk free treatment solutions they provide.

It is good to hear that pilots are able to find timely and effective treatment options through the practice of chiropractic & physiotherapy. Furthermore, these types of clinics have become more and more accessible which makes it possible for just about anyone to make use of their treatment procedures. You can go here to give yourself an overview on what to expect with regards to chiropractic & physiotherapeutic treatments.

Paraplegics Flying High: Disabled Pilots in Our Skies

Despite their physical incapacities, people with disabilities (PWDs) are striving to live their lives just as any abled person would. They play sports and inspire other people. But who would have thought that they can literally fly high?

PWDs are given an opportunity to become pilots through the Able Flight Scholarship. This is among the disabled services and programs intended to support people who are physically unable to do such things. Among the people who received this scholarship were Jessica Cox, Brandy Hofstetter, Jason Jernigan and Raymart Tinio.

Cox acquired her pilot certificate in 2008. She became the first licensed pilot who can fly with her two feet through the Able Flight Scholarship. Just like Cox, Hofstetter’s situation did not define her life. She was only 17 months-old when she was involved in a car accident. Instead of living a miserable life, she pursued to achieve great things. One of which is becoming a licensed pilot, thanks to Able Flight.

Jernigan and Tinio’s situation is quite different from Cox and Hofstetter. Both men were born deaf. This makes it nearly impossible for them to fly an aircraft. With the help of Able Flight, they both became licensed pilots.

Other Paraplegic Pilots

In 2010, CNN reported a paraplegic pilot’s attempt to fly from England to the Down Under on his own. This meant crossing 18 countries using a “microlight, ultra lightweight airplane.” According to BBC, it took David Syke more than three months to complete his journey. This amazing endeavor was part of Syke’s fund raising effort for the Yorkshire Air Ambulance.

His feat did not stop from there. Just last year, he left for North Pole in his microlight airplane. Despite his injury on his right hand, Syke was determined to set out a 5,000-mile solo journey crossing the Arctic Ocean. From Denmark, he flew to Sweden and headed to the north of Norway. From there, he traversed the Barents Sea then made his way to Svalbard. He passed over nothing but a 500-mile body of water before reaching the Polar ice cap.

Dorine Bourneton was also the first paraplegic pilot to join the Paris Flying Display. According to ainonline.com, Bourneton participated in the aerial exhibition using a modified Mudry CAP 10 light aerobatic aircraft.

Flying Fast and Free: New Aerospace Materials

On the Februrary 2002 issue of Ingenia Online, the possibility of creating a faster and larger aircraft was discussed. More than a decade later, the pursuit for faster aircrafts still continues. Through the recent aerospace technology and materials, it is more than possible to develop super fast planes. It is like betting on a sure thing.

Nanostructured Ceramics

According to MIT Technology Review, nanostructured ceramics might be the future of lighter, faster and stronger airplanes. These engineered ceramics are composed of nanoscale criss-cross struts, which is akin to the Eiffel Tower. Researchers regard these nanostructured ceramics as “the strongest and lightest substances ever made.”

Lightweight Aircraft Means Faster?

Technological advancements have allowed engineers to operate wing flaps using lightweight electrical systems. You don’t have to be super smart to know that light materials travel faster and smoother compared with heavy materials.

A study conducted by the Flight Sciences International showed that fuselage-insulation blanketing sucks up humidity. In time, they get a bit weighty.

In an effort to decrease the weight of its carriers, Jetstar airways replaced their in-flight entertainment kits with Apple’s iPads.

Hypersonic Passenger Plane

The Daily Mail Online reported that in 2030, passengers can travel from London to Sydney in a little under 90 minutes. More so, flying to the United States from Europe will only take an hour or so.

After receiving the funding, the development of hypersonic SpaceLiner has now the green light. The aircraft will have two-stage, fully reusable system. It will also be powered by environment-friendly materials — liquid hydrogen and oxygen. The SpaceLiner’s engine will also be able to accelerate “more than 20 times the speed of sound in less than 10 minutes”, Daily Mail Online reported.

Supersonic Boom Aircraft

According to Dezeen, supersonic speed planes or Boom planes can “travel 2.6 times faster than any other aircraft.” This can be done using “lightweight carbon-fiber composites, propulsion systems and airframe materials” as detailed on the company’ website.

Based on an article from The Guardian, Boom planes were not the first supersonic planes to be the talk of the town. The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) also had the same conceptual design, which will be more hushed when landing.