Accelerating Aerospace Organizational Innovation, Speed, and Resilience with Digital Technologies

Aerospace organizations are pushing new boundaries every day. Their products, research, and technologies are changing the way the world works. We see it every day in the way humanity relies on communication, global positioning, and special analytics to enable smart cities, smart cars, and smart factories. It is their ability to systematically innovate, push boundaries, and challenge norms that propels Aerospace every day — it is what excites growing countries and high-value entrepreneurs to invest.

The impact of space technology, on other industries, is wide and vast, and the innovation ripple of research has spurred many high-profile products, including Teflon and CAT scans, as well as many more developments from NASA.

According to Verified Market Research, the Global Satellite Communication Market size was valued at USD 65.68 Billion in 2020 and is projected to reach USD 131.68 Billion by 2028, growing at a CAGR of 9.10% from 2021 to 2028. Its impact on the global economy spans many industries, especially Pharmaceuticals, Beauty and Care products, Semi-Conductors, and Food and Nutrients. Companies are working with aerospace technologies to accelerate innovation and provide new differentiation.

What of the Aerospace companies themselves? How are they researching, developing, managing design, planning, producing, and managing their logistics and operations? They, too, are adopting new digital thread technologies, commercializing data more than ever before. They are focused on cybersecurity and sustainability and delivering on the design cycle faster than ever.

It seems natural that Aerospace companies will be planning a large role in the 2023 Innovation awards. Innovations span industries and the innovation awards are celebrated across the globe.

Let’s take a walk down memory lane to celebrate the innovation leadership of aerospace from around the globe. Then, I will share information about the 2023 SAP Innovation Award program and how companies can get involved.

Aerospace and Defense 2020 SAP Innovation Awards

We celebrated a record number of submissions for the 2020 SAP Innovation Award program. Among them were Kawasaki Heavy Industries, Ltd, which developed a “Smart-K” Digital Innovation of KAIZEN for aerospace manufacturing.

Manufacturing of aerospace and defense systems can be a labor-intensive industry. It is crucial to link engineering, which must maintain tight control of configuration and change, to the shop floor, which requires continuous improvement on a daily basis.

Using SAP S4/HANA Manufacturing for production engineering and operation to establish a consistent digital link between production engineering and production execution ensures both frequent changes and change management control. The accumulated data will also help streamline business processes and improve productivity.

KHI created a new vertically integrated digital platform for production engineering and manufacturing, making it easy to balance strict change management with frequent improvements (i.e. KAIZEN). This competitive advantage collects digital data, reduces flow time, and leads to a more data-driven business.

“The competitive advantage of our production process is that it’s sustainable KAIZEN. We are confident that our ‘Smart-K’ digital innovation of KAIZEN, which includes configuration and change management that are crucial in aircraft manufacturing, will be more strictly controlled and will allow KHI to advance and sustain KAIZEN more effectively,” said Hiroyoshi Shimokawa, Managing Executive Officer President Aerospace Systems Company.

The innovation resulted in over 1 billion manual activities of 4,000 workers being integrated by digitization. There was a 20% increase in productivity for change management by the vertically integrated platform. There was also a 15% reduction in flow time by utilizing actual data and insights from workers.

Covid impacts have created change

As COVID-19 hit, leading manufacturers pivoted to transform their business models, address supply chain disruptions, and manage workforce constraints.

Operations have shifted to focus on business continuity, cybersecurity, and enabling a workforce with digital tools so that they can continue to produce, deliver, and service.

The geographic dependency, regulatory restrictions, and supplier slowdowns forced A&D companies to quickly monitor and respond to sourcing risks while balancing a shift in the demand pattern, these new digitally enabled skills will continue to provide resilience in the future.

A&D companies continue to address new challenges in new ways, there is no better time to share their innovation story with the world.

Share Your Innovation Story

This year’s SAP Innovation Awards aims to honor and celebrate the achievements of forward-thinking companies that have harnessed the power of SAP technology to become an intelligent enterprise; thrive in new business realities; and create positive economic, environmental, and social impact to help the world run better.

SAP is thrilled to showcase these inspirational customer and partner stories that use SAP solutions to differentiate themselves, achieve tremendous results, and adapt to dynamic customer needs.

More information on the award timeline and list of prizes is available here. For details on the judging criteria and category definitions, visit the SAP Innovation Awards website. The submission period is now open, and all entries are due by February 1, 2023. Get started today and join the conversation online using the hashtag #SAPInnovation.

For more innovation stories, follow @SAPIndustries on Twitter and join us on LinkedIn.

Digital Transformation