MAA: industry’s natural selection

Event | DCOThe Midlands Aerospace Alliance (MAA) was established in 2003 to support and represent the aerospace industry across the region, with help from Advantage West Midlands and the East Midlands Development Agency. The organisation is set to hold its first-ever conference, which organisers say will be a must for senior managers from UK aerospace supply chain companies who need to understand how the aerospace business environment will evolve. MOD DCB takes a look at what delegates can expect. 

The present continuous global growth in civil aerospace markets – so vital to the booming Midlands aerospace cluster – seems ‘impossibly perfect’, according to an eminent US aviation forecaster. Richard Aboulafia, Vice-President of Analysis for the Teal Group, warns that ‘current relentless growth’, especially in the airliner business, will stretch production capacity in the aerospace supply chain.

Aboulafia is one of three confirmed keynote speakers at the first Midlands Aerospace Alliance (MAA) annual conference ‘Aerospace futures, aerospace forecasts’, to be held on Wednesday 20 February 2013 at the Rolls-Royce Learning Development Centre in Derby.

“Beyond the short and mid term issues, there’s always a question mark hanging over how long growth can continue long term,” he says. The industry must both invest in new capacity and skills to cope with growing demand, and continue to scan the horizon for the risks that could disrupt this environment, the timing of these ‘inflection points’, and signs of whether the industry can eventually expect a hard or soft landing.

Other speakers include Robin Southwell, Chief Executive for UK Operations at EADS NV, the European aeronautics, defence and space company which owns Airbus; and Pernille Boisen, Chief Procurement Officer at Rolls-Royce.

“Our speakers are leaders in the industry and experts in their fields,” says MAA Chief Executive Andrew Mair. “They’ll be presenting the aerospace industry visions and aircraft production volumes that every aerospace supplier needs to know over the short, medium and long term horizons that are crucial to successful business strategy and planning. The next two years will be pivotal for the health of our industry. Senior managers from Midlands and UK aerospace supply chain companies will find it invaluable, as will anyone who needs to understand how the aerospace business environment will evolve.”

Pernille Boisen | MMARolls-Royce’s future vision

Understanding Rolls-Royce’s thinking about key trends in the global aerospace industry is critically important for UK suppliers looking to maintain or extend their relationships with the Derby engine-maker.

Conference delegates will be listening closely to Pernille Boisen when she offers a company view on the long-term implications for UK aerospace suppliers of these key global trends. Boisen will analyse what growth in the Middle East and Asia means for UK supply opportunities, and how Rolls-Royce sees the industry managing the current rapid increase in production volumes.

UK suppliers will be looking for clues as to the key strategic assets they need to develop – such as management capability, access to new technology and sub-tier supply chain management – and how they should set about doing so to play their part in the supply chains of the future.

Boisen joined Rolls-Royce in 2010 as Executive Vice-President – Indirect Purchasing after eight years with Novo Nordisk in Denmark, where she rose to Corporate Vice-President, Corporate Sourcing. She has also held significant purchasing, finance and business development roles within Carlsberg Breweries and the Danish Broadcasting Corporation.

The industry’s view of future opportunities

Each year, the ADS Export Focus Group produces a UK Aerospace International Strategy which identifies major opportunities for UK aerospace in international markets and recommends how these opportunities should be approached. 

Clive Lewis, Managing Partner of Achieving the Difference, provides data analysis and facilitation of the strategy development. He will be giving conference delegates a preview of the strategy before its launch at UKTI’s Exchange event in April.

“We collect and consolidate data for key aerospace programmes from ADS member companies to produce this industry view on global new-build opportunities,” says Lewis.

The 2013 strategy will for the first time include opportunities for Maintenance, Repair and Overhaul (MRO) and Military Upgrade programmes, thanks to data contributed by ICF SH&E and Flightglobal, respectively.

Although existing/traditional aerospace markets will remain important for UK industry, Lewis says the 2013 strategy will reveal how high-growth markets such as China, India and Brazil will drive global civil aerospace growth, and how significant military upgrade opportunities are spread throughout the United States, Europe, Russia, the Middle East and Asia.

‘Finance drives forecasting’

The forecasting industry has been transformed over the last decade because industrialists at every level have become ‘prisoners of third-party finance’, adds Richard Aboulafia. 

As a chief executive, ‘you might not feel you have a use for a forecast, but you’re beholden to someone who demands it,’ he says. The days of the privately held company are disappearing; capital now generally comes from somewhere else.