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5 Common Aerospace Supply Chain Challenges

Rusty Coleman "Surgere's goal is to save yor supply chain. This is accomplished by understanding the needs of an industry, a specific client, developing the solutions, and executing to success." VP, Digital transformation

There’s no denying that aerospace is a unique industry; because of that, it also has unique challenges. Supply chain issues can cause production delays which can be detrimental when dealing with over 450,000 parts per plane. Below are 5 common supply chain challenges aerospace manufacturers face. For every problem, there is a solution, and the solutions for these specific challenges may not be as hard to implement as you’d expect.

1. Knowing Return Flow of Containers and Dollies

Aircraft manufacturers, airlines, and their extensive supply base utilize many types of containers that are either common to many industries or unique to an airframe design. Dollies that move about the hangar are specifically designed for unique parts. It’s always been a challenge to know where a container or dolly is located, how many are available, and identify where it needs to be. The lack of clear answers jeopardizes the flow of materials in containers or dollies designed to assure its safety, quality, and sustainability.

2. Locating Lost Parts

Inventory Control is vital to any industry. The cost of aerospace parts, the time to replace them, and the quality requirements for airworthiness make inventory control even more crucial. Too many expensive parts, along with their 8130’s, are lost in hangers or unassociated with locations within ERP and WMS systems. Too many staff-hours are wasted trying to locate the “right” part due to revision and software mods. Clearly, the need-to-know availability is paramount to reduce and eliminate AOG.

3. Ensuring Schedule Adherence

Leading experts in the aerospace industry have deemed it critical for the airframe or supplier manufacturer to ensure and obtain schedules. Available-to-Promise is more than a need; it reflects the company’s ability to manage inventory and set expectations. At the end of the day, promises are fulfilled because the availability is known.

Assurance translates to adherence.

If you know the container, its location, and the associated part with its condition of supply, you can schedule confidently.

4. Increasing Genealogy Efforts

Top-tier product lifecycle management in aerospace includes the ability to quickly limit and accurately expose part information. Typically, manufacturing information is limited to the silo of a single company producing the part. It is important to connect supply chains, ensuring the material handlers know not only who the part came from and how it got there, but also when it was produced and where it’s been. A robust method to track end-to-end activity and provide visibility with insight helps limit quality issues. The more a company invests in genealogy, the more they gain from it.

5. Eliminating Counterfeit Parts and Paperwork

Counterfeit parts and 8130’s are introduced by shadow players into the aerospace supply chain to obtain profits. This is done by unauthorized manufacturing or illegal repair of obtained obsolete and scrapped parts. There are three key attributes for the usage of a part that must be tested:

1. Is this part authentic?

2. Is this a trusted entity?

3. Do I have real-time information proving it?

Responsible partners go to great lengths of effort to ensure safety and authenticity. You can minimize this effort and maximize results with a trusted network powered by blockchain.

I Know the Problems, But What’s the Solution?

Until now, aerospace supply chain problems have been difficult to solve. Security and verification of parts are one of the most daunting challenges. The supply chain requires a connected community willing to work together, blockchain for provenance and identity, and data that is reliable, accurate, actionable, and speaks the same data language.

Surgere has solved these 5 problems with a tested, scalable, and flexible aerospace supply chain management process based on IoT-sensor based technology that provides 99.9% data accuracy and fidelity, Surgere blockchain technology, and patented software secured by the Microsoft Azure cloud.

If you are experiencing one or more of these challenges in your aerospace supply chain, you’re not alone. Let’s chat about solutions tailored to your environment that will make these problems of the past.


Rusty Coleman, Vice President of Digital Transformation, started his career in the U.S. Army where he served with the 82nd Airborne. Since then, Rusty has contributed to top companies such as Gulfstream Aerospace and Electrolux, with over 37 years of operations and supply chain management experience. As a leading member of Global and Corporate Digital Governance Boards, Rusty brings his visionary approach to strategic corporate digitalization efforts, supply chain visibility and connectivity, digital project execution, and IT systems integration to Surgere.

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