How to embrace disruption in the aerospace industry
Published: 29th July 2020
Disruption. It happens every day in manufacturing, making doing business increasingly complicated and uncertain, costing businesses money and damaging reputations. Chris Ford, managing director at Ford Aerospace, explains how the company has embraced disruption and turned it to their advantage.
While disruption is nothing new, the economic turmoil we have all experienced to help prevent the spread of Covid-19 has had a devastating impact on certain industries, and now more than ever, we have to adapt to it or risk becoming irrelevant.
The aviation sector in particular is facing a new kind of disruption having to navigate unchartered territory in an increasingly complex world, as well as juggling lower revenues with the need to invest in cleaner air travel.
We have seen aircraft grounded due to Covid-19 restrictions, job losses and calls for more Government support all exacerbated by a constant barrage of news fuelled by uncertainty.
As a business operating within the aerospace supply chain in the North East of England, we have had to come up with new ways of thinking to ride out the pandemic.
We have changed the way we communicate with our internal and external stakeholders, including employees and customers and it has taken a collaborative effort to do this. It’s not just the digitalisation of our communications strategy that we have had to implement though: the agility and ability to diversify – two major foundations of our business – have come to the fore during the pandemic.
As disruption continues to grip the business world, agility, adaptability and diversification are fast-becoming the greatest assets we have.
Manufacturing products for other markets and building alliances with new companies is nothing new to us, but in the current climate it’s more important than ever to be able to find opportunities
Practice makes perfect
At Ford Engineering Group, we have been helping customers for more than a century across many different sectors, including rail, earth-moving machinery and automotive. We initially entered the aerospace industry almost four decades ago after spotting a gap in the market place for high precision laminate shim components for OEMs.
Since then we have continued to invest in high precision engineering and machining capability to stay ahead of the curve which has resulted in a strong reputation in the industry for producing first-class components and mechanical assemblies at an affordable price.
Setting an example
Our focus has always been on simple cost-effective solutions to meet customer needs to ensure we remain one of the best in class suppliers. Our core capabilities mean that we can offer a diverse range of services to our customers – no matter how big or small a job is – and this has proved a powerful catalyst for growth.
We now produce a huge range of precision machined, pressed, and laser-cut components as well as Ford branded Easipeel laminated products for a range of different businesses within the supply chain. We have even developed a unique method of producing thin gauge shims through our low-cost tooling capability.
From an industry recognition standpoint, our family-run business has also received several accolades over the years. The uptick in the popularity of our services always comes down to own thing – the customer relationships we have fostered.
What lies ahead
In today’s business world, new technologies and markets are emerging all the time as well as new requirements. As global specialists, we have never just relied solely on one area of the business and instead we have spent many years diversifying into other sectors.
We now operate in the defence, marine, automotive, electronics and power and energy sectors among others, using exactly the same USPs and principles we set out with all those years ago. That’s what has helped us cope with the challenges posed by this pandemic.
Relationships are crucial in times of crisis and it’s the relationships in a whole range of sectors that have paid dividends during the Coronavirus pandemic. As we get used to this new normal, we are now embracing the biggest disruption to our business we have ever seen. Our commitment however to the industry remains the same, to deliver exceptional levels of performance, service and quality to our customers.