Desktop Engineering Blog

How to Manage Aerospace Supply Chains using Software

Posted by Geoff Haines on 10-Oct-2019 12:00:00

Aerospace Dassault Systemes CATIA software


A commercial jet aircraft has millions of individual parts and a supply chain that covers multiple tiers, from raw materials to the finished product.

It’s the supply chain that can be spread across numerous companies globally, specialising in different parts and components. To complicate things further, each component might be part of a subset that is being developed by a different supplier, and so compatibility issues between parts may surface.

With such a complex supply chain it’s easy for things to wrong, especially when you consider the thousands of people who might be involved in the development of a new aircraft.

By using a software package that improves communication, eliminates design and development errors, speeds up time to market and reduces costs along the way, managing the supply chain becomes much more efficient.

Getting the software right

With so many players in a supply chain, there is a good chance that multiple software types are in use and in theory this is fine, until the process advances to the next stage.

If the suppliers and companies involved in the supply chain can’t easily communicate in terms of the software they’re using, things slow down. Another issue with software is when different suppliers are using different design methods. If some are using 2D drawings for referencing, and others are using 3D designs, there can be confusion when trying to work between suppliers.

A mistake or misunderstanding on one 2D drawing part of the design can mean multiple changes along the supply chain costing time and money.  But with a unified software approach, you can eliminate these issues as the referencing won’t vary between suppliers. 

In theory, a unified software approach is a great idea, but in practice, it’s a lot of work to make sure everyone is happy with the software approach being taken.

The aerospace manufacturer managing the supply chain needs to consider every aspect of the different tiers of the supply chain to get the decision right. Only when this has been decided can a more unified approach to the software in the supply chain be taken.



Commercial jet: CATIA 3D Master in Aerospace

Communication has already been mentioned a few times times and for a good reason; it holds the supply chain together. 

Whilst it isn’t necessary for every supplier to be talking to every other supplier, they should be working closely with those that their product, part or design will go on to affect or indeed be affected by.

For example, if a supplier is designing a small part of the wing to certain specifications, that design has to meet the set standards and be easily understandable to the supplier who will eventually manufacture the part.


How does software improve communication?

By choosing the right software package for everyone to use in the supply chain, there is more cohesion in what’s being created and passed on to different stages of the supply chain.

Communication errors, such as misinterpreting 2D drawing annotations, can be cut out by choosing to use a software package that uses 3D designs for referencing.

By eliminating these errors, managing the supply chain becomes easier as there is less back and forth between suppliers to get small changes edited and fixed. In the long run, it saves time and money.



The 3DEXPERIENCE Platform software package by Dassault Systèmes gives a lot of the benefits mentioned. CATIA takes the 3D Master approach to make sure mistakes are cut out in the design and development phase and ENOVIA ensures unified data referencing for all designers. This in turn reduces the time it takes for design data to be synchronised. And for designers, any designers working on a certain component or subset can see the latest version in minutes, no matter where they are.

3DEXPERIENCE Platform 2019x


DELMIA is then used to prepare the manufacturing stage of the supply chain and SIMULIA is used for the stress testing and simulation of different aircraft parts such as non-linear stress analysis on the wings.

This 3DEXPERIENCE software solution can help manage the aerospace supply chain from small suppliers right through to the main aircraft manufacturer. This is achieved through better communication, a unified design and manufacturing approach and reducing the overall time to market.



Dassault Systemes CATIA 3D Master whitepaper - read it here

Learn how CATIA 3D Master can help you reduce drawing errors and increase product quality. 

With strong competition in today's business environment, it's vital to bring products to market with high quality at a fast pace.

This whitepaper will give you a detailed picture of how the 3D Master approach can benefit your product design and development process, including;

  • Reducing errors in drawings
  • Lowering manufacturing costs
  • Improving ROI



Why not get in touch and see how you can trial  3DEXPERIENCE on the cloud for 3 months >>



Topics: 3DEXPERIENCE, Dassault Systemes, Aerospace, CATIA