A hundred of managers and representatives of the aerospace business areas have got together in Seville in the frame of the II Aerospace Business Seminar organized by the Aerospace Andalusian Cluster Hélice and the Instituto Internacional San Telmo inside the joint work frame and collaboration that both entities have had since 2008. Supported and participated by the OEM Airbus Military and two of the three Spanish Tier 1 Alestis and Aciturri, the meeting has been useful to sound out opinion about the situation at international level and to begin to see the opportunities and challenges the Andalusian auxiliary industry faces. The Andalusian industry contributed 17% to the Andalusian industrial GDP in 2010. Its turnover has continued to grow despite the complicated international economical situation.

The participants have pointed out as some of the most urgent challenges the necessity of boosting a national coordinated strategy integrating all the Spanish aerospace players, these are, enterprises, tractors, Tier 1 and auxiliary enterprises, technology centres, business organizations, Academia and Public Research Entities, Trade Unions and Administration. The relationships with the Administration should be marked by a continued commitment to support institutionally the industry. A coordinated answer from a sole entity to be endowed with such competences, independently from legislatures and political times: “because time and strategies cover a temporary space much wider and projects are managed long and medium term in the global industry” as the attendants have said at the meeting.

In this sense, contractors and managers have also coincided in demanding the Government a bigger sensitiveness. The aerospace industry should be also considered a “strategic sector”. It has a great repercussion in terms of technology development, stable jobs and wealth creation and also it is one of the few sectors which have continued growing despite the slowdown. Like this, experts have estimated that due to the workloads and deliveries in the next few years, turnover will grow between 60% and 70% from now to 2015. Employment will grow by 50%.

In the course of the round table, Alberto Gutiérrez, Airbus Military’s Head of Operations has stated the impact of globalization in the aerospace market. Gutiérrez has pointed out that more than a threat it can be seen as an opportunity for mostly suppliers. This begins by Tier 1, since the appearance of new integrators in South-East Asia emerging countries, like China or India, will enable them to diversify business and enlarge its sphere of activity. On the other side, he has highlighted that this process of globalization increases the geographic mobility of professionals. It shouldn’t be understood as a “brain drain” but a great opportunity to boost networking at international level and to make workers know new work methodologies and particularities from the productive system of these countries. Later, once they are back they will be able to apply this knowledge in Spain and Andalusia.

Diego García, Alestis Aerospace’s Chief Operating Officer has spoken about the growing competitiveness in Andalusia. He has pointed out that the current situation is demanding the tractor companies to be so. Actually, among the main challenges for the aerospace companies at international level there will be to keep its level of business in a more competitive scenario, where the emerging countries are playing the more and more leading roles. To face this, it’s essential to invest in R&D and knowledge of the most added value areas, aimed at placing ahead the European companies in a market where China and India will start to compete offering similar but lower prices products.

Francisco Fernández, Aciturri’s president, has also stated that the new scenario of the auxiliary industry will come marked by the entrance of new competitors, although thanks to the increment of integrators, new opportunities will be also open. He has also pointed out that the three Spanish Tier 1 have important capacities in terms of design, calculation, test, manufacture, assembly and post-sales, “which gives us capacity to give added value and generate new knowledge in a market where staying is not enough anymore, we have to keep growing”.

In this sense, other of the bigger challenges of the industry requires the supply chain to become a “greasing machine” and coordinated among its integrants. Like this, communication will flow among all the links and the know-how control and the added value activities will be guaranteed.

Actually, to treat these concerns in depth the seminar included a second part where attendants analysed a specific successful case –the one by the textile firm Zara, which has revolutionized the way of understanding the supply chain. This can be a good example to help focusing management with the aerospace suppliers.