Measuring suppliers’ performance towards industrial excellence

| minute read


Speed, Agility, Simplicity”. Airbus’s official communication campaign for 2015 reflects the ambitions of one of the world’s leading aircraft manufacturers: to ensure supply chain de-risking, while having the ability to meet ramp-up – generating cost savings throughout the group supply chain, and encouraging supplier innovation and maturity. As such, Sopra Steria Consulting collaborates with Airbus Procurement Operations to improve the Airbus supply chain – enabling its strategic suppliers and meeting its increased delivery commitment.

The challenge

The Airbus industrial model to assemble aircraft is that of an extended enterprise – with 80% of components bought from external suppliers. A reliable supply chain is an absolute must for at least two reasons: firstly to achieve industrial ramp-up in order to meet demand; secondly to secure new industrial programmes such as A330 development, A350 ramp-up, and A320neo entry into service.

In this scheme, Airbus Procurement has the objective to eradicate issues and disruptions by improving three main processes: deliver on quality, time and cost; contribute to operational efficiency; and drive suppliers’ continuous improvement.

The solution

Sopra Steria consulting has signed a 3-year contract with Airbus to improve supply chain performance measurement, reduce lead time and the cost to manage quality issues, and manage concessions the front desk with suppliers.

A key initiative also involves supporting the Airbus Supply Chain Quality Improvement Programme (SQIP). The programme’s main objective is to empower strategic suppliers with collaborative methods, and offer the tools to reduce missing parts, simplify audit and assessments, and favour continuous improvement. This global service covers a wide range of Aircraft components: aerostructure, cabin, equipment, material and parts, and propulsion – representing more than 8000 suppliers.

To achieve such ambitious goals, we designed an efficient governance and organisation, we’re engaging partners, and we’re providing Airbus with multi-location delivery. This operating model relies on a flexible, scalable and open catalogue, offering standardised items with pre-defined prices – which cover 90% of business needs and allows for a reduction in administrative workload.

This new industrialised way of working is truly collaborative. It combines mixed competences around a stable core team, able to bring flexible services in a short response time, and provide Airbus Procurement managers with tailored trainings.

Here’s a summary of what we’ve achieved so far:

  • Organised a robust transition phase, supported by dedicated skills and competencies to secure business continuity.
  • Secured the reliability of Key Performance Indicators (KPIs), thanks to our knowledge of procurement business specificities, business intelligence, SAP and lean skills.
  • Simplified and industrialised processes through a constant re-use of tools and methods from various procurement commodities, as illustrated for the Transfer of Work.
  • Enabled continuous improvement and streamlining, relying on Supplier managers’ feedback to enhance KPIs.
  • Supported the SQIP project to enhance collaboration and performance among a network of 48 strategic suppliers.

The results

After one year of service, Sopra Steria consulting has significantly contributed to providing dashboards of KPIs to help Airbus managers’ decision-making, which has enabled us to:

  • Reach higher standards of supply chain reliability with enhanced “transfer of work” towards new suppliers
  • Accelerate collaboration within the supply chain network
  • Improve supplier performance with 94% on time delivery and a 20% decrease of non-conformities
  • Make progress towards industrial maturity, with 16% of suppliers now out of the critical zone
  • Achieve visibility and transparency for Airbus managers on their budget – in-line with Airbus procurement objectives of cost optimisation – by using our bundle of service models

Supply chain function efficiency is one of the major competitive advantages of a company. So, the measurement of its performance is key to understanding any underlying issues, eradicating repetitive problems, and improving and sustaining its efficiency.

What I can rely on from Sopra Steria is consulting support for improving our efficiency through a harmonised and cost-controlled KPI process, while reaching higher standards of data quality. The business model of Airbus has evolved, and a higher return on investment is required by our shareholders. 

Isabelle SCIANNAMEA, Airbus SAS Procurement Operations Head of Strategy, Methods & Process