December, 2017

QRelation Management Team and QRelation Engineering Team pass successful the ISO 9001:2015 certification process

At first go and without findings QRelation Management Team GmbH and QRelation Engineering Team GmbH received their ISO 9001:2015 approval in December by the auditing authority TÜV NORD CERT GmbH. An important milestone for the future of both companies to continue and to assure the best possible service for their customer.

Subsequent it is planned to pass the EN9100 audit for the Engineering Team in 2018.

Since 2011 QRelation Management Team GmbH offers Advisory services, interim or project management solutions out of Jesteburg and Hamburg.

If you need special expertise in your business for a specific period or require resources at an earlier stage of a mission than originally planned: talk to QRelation about your individual management solution.

QRelation Engineering Team GmbH offers the ‘classic’ Engineering Support for aircraft cabin retrofit programs using highly qualified engineering resources since 2015.

The basis are many years of engineering experience and numerous successful projects for major OEMs and MROs.

Certification in Aerospace supplies – competitive need and business opportunity, but no licence for simple growth and success

The certification strategy of an Aerospace supplier is key for its future competitiveness and business development – and needs to be an integral part of the overall business strategy

On September 7th, 2017, Hanse-Aerospace, Niedersachsen Aviation and QRelation Management Team invited for a presentation and workshop series on certification in the Aerospace industry in Hamburg. The event was part of the German industry-wide Supply Chain Excellence initiative.

A very good attendance by representatives of many Aerospace suppliers in Germany – mainly at tier-2 and -3 level – was achieved. Senior experts and professionals from the Aerospace industry and QRelation Management Team presented use cases and facilitated subsequent workshops.

The workshops revealed the importance of a clear certification strategy for future competitiveness and business development. The certification strategy needs to become an integral part of the overall corporate strategy and needs to follow the definition of the future business model and portfolio.

OEMs and leading tier-1 suppliers expect from their supply chain more competence and qualification to deliver higher value-add services and products, leading to efficiencies at OEM and tier-1 level in terms of overhead reduction and process simplification. This customer and competitive demand drives qualification and certification strategy.

Extended workbench (in Germany historically called “QSF-A”) has been a widely established supply model in the German Aerospace industry, particularly for Aerostructures parts and components. It has been quite attractive and profitable for many tier-2/-3 suppliers, and comfortable for OEMs and tier-1s as customers. However, pressure to change this set-up has been already visible for some years. The model still exists but its future business viability is limited because of structural changes in the Aerospace supply chain – driven by economics and international competition.

OEMs and tier-1s seek suppliers that deliver more value-add through build-to-print (“QSF-B”) or even higher capabilities and associated certification. “QSF-A” suppliers in many cases do not even get access anymore to the bidder list of new RFQs. They need to pursue their business with tier-2s and -3s on an opportunity and special process basis; direct tier-1 access will become limited.

Build-to-print (“QSF-B”) becomes a kind of minimum capability requirement. Several Aerospace suppliers in Germany even strive for more – for design & build (“QSF-C”) or even for approval as production (“POA”) and design organisation (“DOA”) by aviation law.

Higher certification and value-add capabilities can protect against new competitors (e.g. from best-cost countries) that try to mainly differentiate through cost and price. Higher certification levels allow the exploration of new market opportunities with existing and new customers on OEM and tier-1 side. They may even open-up new opportunities in attractive aftersales and MRO business.

Pursuing the path of certification creates important new capabilities and qualifications that also help a supplier to become more innovative and able to continuously improve designs and processes. This capability increases customer value and competitiveness further.

However, higher qualification and certification do not guarantee new business and growth. The strategy and investment should be made in close liaison with or even sponsorship of customers and potential customers on OEM and tier-1 side. The efforts should be targeted towards some concrete business prospects on the customer side.

On the other hand, certification strategy must follow a pro-active approach not a wait-and-see one. Build-to-print and higher qualification may become a must-have entry ticket to new business opportunities, even for keeping existing work packages. This requires taking a risk position by investing in the certification route without having new business secured.

Higher certification levels and striving for new business means also competing in new markets, with new products and service offerings against new competitors. Hence, it becomes a completely new game that requires transformation across the company not just in the functions directly involved in the operational and technical certification process.

New skills need to be developed with the operational workforce and even recruited from external, the sales team needs to be qualified and extended, new customer services capabilities need to be developed, financial investment into new facilities and machinery requires intelligent funding, a procurement and supply chain team needs to be established and further qualified, and so on. Entering new markets requires the building of new capabilities on the international business arena and for cooperation with other market players along the value chain.

The strategic discussion and assessment that precedes the definition and sign-off of a certification strategy needs to reveal all opportunities and risks. It requires entrepreneurial decisions and the willingness to tackle a larger company transformation. For many German SME-size suppliers, being a “QSF-A” supplier was comfortable and profitable for a rather long time. The entrepreneurial risks for the concerned business were low, the business was more or less naturally growing with the ramp-up and continued growth of the served aircraft programmes. Competition for historically assigned “QSF-A” business was limited. But this comfort position is now eroding and needs to be replaced by a new strategic approach to business development and certification.

The workshop series on September 7th, 2017, in Hamburg created an effective forum for exchanging views, approaches and strategic options in the field of certification. This exchange will continue, also as part of the Supply Chain Excellence initiative of the German Aerospace industry.

Each SME-size supplier should initiate a strategic approach to business development and certification if not done yet. This process may involve experts and partners – for strategy, market assessment, competence development and professional support along the operational implementation route. QRelation Management Team is prepared to support. Successful references and use cases exist in this domain.

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