The Aerospace and Defense industry is facing numerous challenges, especially in dealing with constrained demand and vulnerable supply chains. Find out how the Virtual Twin Experience is helping manufacturers overcome those challenges.
00:12 Therese Snow
Hi, and welcome to our DELMIA podcast, Global Operations on the Go. I'm your host, Therese Snow. Today, we're discussing leveraging the Virtual Twin Experience in the aerospace and defense industry. We're speaking with Adrian Wood, Director of Strategic Business Development at Dassault Systèmes DELMIA. Adrian, welcome.
00:33 Adrian Wood
Thank you for having me.
00:34 Therese Snow
Absolutely. So, the recent pandemic has caused the aerospace and defense industry to be facing numerous challenges, especially in dealing with constrained demand and vulnerable supply chains. Can you discuss some of these challenges?
00:50 Adrian Wood
Sure. So, these challenges were part and parcel of the aerospace industry already. But I think what happened in the last 18 months was they became magnified. So, constrained demand obviously came from a sudden drop in consumer travel. And that led to a shortage in the need of production. But it also had, for existing production, already in place, there were challenges with suppliers. They were suddenly unable to produce effectively due to social distancing or business challenges. And so there was a significant variability in general – drop in demand for the commercial side of aerospace anyway. And that combined with the fact that the supply chains, as you mentioned, they're vulnerable, that they're already very disconnected and very global in nature with multiple partners across the value network or contributing to production and assembly and supply.
So this, this lack of visibility to the entire supply chain operations combined with all of this variability, and drop in demand suddenly meant that most organizations were faced with a significant lack of control and understanding of exactly what was happening, how to react to it, what the impact was going to be, how they could make short-term operational changes to cope with it. And then of course, you had social distancing – the inability for operational companies to actually put people in place to manufacture and do assembly of airframes. And so there was a tremendous amount of variability and an inability to understand what was going to happen and what the impact of things that were happening, not just between partners in the supply chain, but internally at organizations, there are still many internal silos that sort of block the efficiency and effectiveness of operations in this industry.
02:42 Therese Snow
So how does digital transformation specifically help A&D manufacturers overcome these challenges?
02:49 Adrian Wood
So, it provides a transformation of the capabilities, primarily around visibility into what's happening and the prediction of how operations need to be scheduled in the future. And then agility, to react to changes that occur very rapidly. And by the way, always with a reduced cost in mind, so that we can perform and execute in a sustainable manner. So, it provides a next level of manufacturing capability and agility that is always essential. But it was particularly essential during situations like last year. And now companies are looking at that now, concerned about how they can prepare themselves if there's future disruption or changes.
03:38 Therese Snow
And DELMIA enables companies to realize sustainable business goals through the Virtual Twin Experience. Can you please shed some light on this?
03:47 Adrian Wood
Yeah, the Virtual Twin Experience is designed to be a mechanism that allows companies to experiment in the virtual world, and then execute flawlessly in the real world. And it combines capabilities of both. So, the ability to assess new products and strategies and address potential changes in production effectively, to reassess manufacturing strategies and to deal with changes in capacity or changes in supply and demand. And the ability to look at the network itself or the supply chain, to look at nearshoring or onshoring manufacturing, to still be able to fulfil demand despite disruption. So, it's a combination of the abilities to model what might happen in the virtual world and experiment with the models of the product and the facilities and the resources that they have at their disposal, so they can execute flawlessly and make sure that they're prepared for future production, but then also react as things happen in the real world to take that back into the Virtual Twin Experience and make changes to provide that level of agility.
04:50 Therese Snow
What capabilities can A&D manufacturers leverage by using the Virtual Twin Experience?
04:56 Adrian Wood
So, we provide capabilities across a broad spectrum of different timeframes as well as disciplines. So, from timeframe perspective, we can provide capabilities which are extremely strategic. So for example, experimenting with plant and line layouts so we can we can determine how to optimize physical space in line so we can still produce at rate. So that allows us to do virtual validation of the plans and production line designs, so we can figure out equipment commissioning constraints, whether, you know, whether there is an ROI, and investing in new equipment or facilities and how existing layouts and equipment can be leveraged. But we can also look at the digital manufacturing side. So, assembly process engineering, for example, how to optimize production processes to maximize efficiency, cost and quality.
This is all about improving the efficiency of manufacturing planning through things like product buildup visualization and assembly plan validation, so we can determine whether designs can be manufactured right first time, or how we can implement design changes effectively. We can also look at the supply and demand match as well. So sales and operations planning, for example, so how we can optimize production while managing constraints. So, it could be S&OP, where we look at, can we incorporate our business objectives into planning? Can we evaluate our supply chain effectively? But it's also tactical scheduling and planning as well. So, master production scheduling, finite capacity scheduling, so we can react quickly to changes and plan what's happening on a daily basis. So, there are a number of different ways that we can work on better planning and experimentation, and then of course, execution in the real world, how we provide digital continuity throughout the planning all the way to execution so that we can manufacture what we plan to effectively.
06:54 Therese Snow
Excellent. So, what are the benefits A&D manufacturers can obtain by leveraging the Virtual Twin Experience?
07:01 Adrian Wood
There's a number of different benefit areas that, if you remember, back to the basic challenges that we had about the lack of agility and the ability to provide visibility. So, that's part and parcel of it, it’s the ability to support rate on demand with lean operations to minimize risk and save money by, again, experimentation in the virtual world so that we can execute effectively in the real world. So, we've seen a number of different areas around productivity value. So, our customers have seen, for example, 60% increase in aircraft production, 20% lead time reduction, increase in basic operations throughput, the ability to test scenarios extensively in the virtual world and get to market faster. And as some of our customers have said, every hour of virtual testing saved is saving us 25 man hours of real-world time. And then cost and sustainability is another key part. So, reduction of inventory, planned inventory reduction, and then sustainability – reduction in errors and waste and scrap production as well.
08:03 Therese Snow
Now that's really, really interesting. So lastly, Adrian, how can our podcast listeners learn more about the Virtual Twin Experience?
08:11 Adrian Wood
Well, you can go to the DELMIA website at 3ds.com and learn more there. You can contact us, reach to us at www.3ds.com/contact-us. Or you can look at further details in the copy below, I'm sure for this podcast, which will show you. And the other thing I'll point out is that we also have a number of user communities that you could join as well on the DELMIA website. You can take a look at different forums where experts and customers and other technical experts are talking and discussing different aspects of the Virtual Twin Experience. And that's a great place for you to join and discuss the topics and challenges more with your peers.
08:51 Therese Snow
Absolutely, sounds like there's some great options for follow up. So thank you, Adrian, for providing these details.
08:59 Adrian Wood
Thanks very much.
09:00 Therese Snow
And thanks to our listeners for tuning in to Global Operations on the Go.