The National Composites Center (NCC) in Dayton, Ohio hosted the 2014 Airbus Supplier Summit on September 15, 2014. The summit was an opportunity for companies to learn why they fit in the Airbus supply-chain. Andres Budo, Director of Procurement for Airbus Americas, told attendees that Airbus spent over $14 billion in the U.S. in 2013, with a goal to increase procurement exponentially by 2020. Currently, Airbus is working with over 400 suppliers in the United States. What does this mean for manufacturers and fabricators in the composites supply-chain? There could be business development opportunities for your company with this expansion.
The summit kicked off with an overview by Airbus’ North American leadership on where the company is growing and how to do business with them. However, the real value of the summit came during the panel discussion with Tier 1 suppliers, GE Aviation, Goodrich—UTAS, Parker Aerospace and RTI International Metals. Attendees heard firsthand that breaking into the Airbus supply-chain is a complex and often a significant investment for a supplier. For first time suppliers, especially small companies that are seen as Tier 2 or Tier 3 suppliers, working with an existing Tier 1 (or even an existing Tier 2) is a good starting point. Industry certification is also key, as panel participants commented on their experience applying and observing the GRESS (General Requirements for Equipment Systems Suppliers) system for Airbus.
B2B meetings for attendees to speak with Airbus and its Tier 1 suppliers took place in the afternoon. Attendees were matched with Airbus or a Tier 1 supplier depending on where their company fits within the Airbus supply-chain; in other words, speed-dating for business development.
The NCC is a key partner for companies in the composites supply-chain. With more than 200,000 square feet for prototype development and manufacturing, offices, lab and shop areas, as well as an expansive conference center, NCC is committed to the ongoing exploration of advanced manufacturing technologies to provide industry with high performance materials that last longer and cost less. ACMA is entering into a strategic partnership with NCC to help its members in areas ranging from research & technology projects to hands-on training. More information on this strategic partnership can be found on ACMA’s website: www.acmanet.org.