SGS Maine Pointe's Chris Brumitt on overcoming supply chain challenges in aerospace & defense

04 April 2024 3 min. read
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Chris Brumitt, managing director for aerospace & defense at SGS Maine Pointe, recently penned articles in Aviation Maintenance Magazine and Supply Chain Management Review.

The first article, “Driving throughput: The blueprint for rapid scaling in defense production,” is in the first quarter edition of Aviation Maintenance.

Brumitt explains that with defense funding jumping from $775 billion in 2022 to $830 billion in 2024, the defense industrial base is struggling to increase throughput. Though companies are looking to boost production to meet demand, they still need to ensure changes to throughput are flexible enough to contend with defense budget contraction, changing technology, and product obsolescence.

Four operational excellence initiatives can help drive greater productivity with the same footprint: data analytics, asset utilization, LOI, and accelerating change.

Unifying data from disparate systems into a single source of truth can yield significant benefits. Clean and in-depth data analytics can uncover roadblocks in equipment utilization, gaps in planning, and issues in manufacturing quality. And with greater visibility, companies can find areas to improve production and increase throughput, Brumitt says.

SGS Maine Pointe's Chris Brumitt on overcoming supply chain challenges

Asset utilization and overall equipment effectiveness is another key component of throughput – ensuring everyone is operating as planned, reducing downtime, and avoiding shortages.

Bottlenecks, meanwhile, can be traced to poor maintenance, training, and lack of engineering support on the floor, among other areas. The key eliminating bottlenecks, according to Brumitt, lies in proper process mapping, accurate data, and reduction of gaps.

Leadership and organization improvement (LOI) and cultural change strategies can drive bottom-live benefits by eliminating silos and driving collaboration. Such strategies include formal training, management operating systems, and sales, inventory, and operations planning. Benefits include reduction in engineering changes, a continuous improvement mindset, and a company-wide commitment to saving costs.

Finally, stabilizing, enhancing, and accelerating change means moving from being reactive to external demand to driving the business through strong processes and accurate data to improve throughput.

Brumitt’s second article, “Navigating uncharted waters for competitive advantage,” is in the March/April 2024 edition of Supple Chain Management Review.

In the piece, Brumitt explains that initiatives in visibility, business continuity, and network optimization can help mobility and industrial products firms manage supply chain disruption.

A plan to increase visibility includes the consolidation of disparate data sources in a single source formatted into real-time dashboards, as well as a simulation model (digital twin) to test changes and effects prior to implementation.

Optimizing the cost of business continuity is another competitive imperative. It involves de-risking your supply base by multi-sourcing, right-shoring, and building stronger supplier relationships; adjusting operating model to improve customer relationships; and fostering cross-enterprise collaboration.

Meanwhile, an optimized network is marked by collaboration, innovation, and continuous improvement. Driving it externally could mean incentives for key suppliers to improve their supply chain costs, and internally could mean rotational programs between plants and business units to give employees broader experience and encourage the influx of new ideas.