How a 3PL Can Optimize the Aerospace Supply Chain

It can be said that the aerospace supply chain is every bit as complicated as the structure of an aircraft.  Just as an aircraft contains thousands of co-dependent parts – ranging from gigantic to minuscule – the supply chains of aerospace and defense manufacturers is full of operations large and small that shape the successful creation of these awe-inspiring products.

For some of those operations, more manufacturers are entrusting them to third-party logistics (3PL) providers in order to reduce on-hand inventory, improve efficiency, and improve cash flow.

3PL capabilities for the aerospace supply chain

engine-small-2  Reduce on-hand inventory.  A 3PL provider can allow you to free-up space in your plant by warehousing consumable parts and packaging at a nearby supplier hub.  It can than perform “just in time” delivery of these materials as they are needed or on a pre-determined schedule.

Improve efficiency.  3PLs that provide kitting solutions can consolidate parts into a kit and delivery it to a specific point in the production line.  This allows assembly workers to focus on their more important production-related tasks.

Improve cashflow.  Typically, your logistics partners simply store the inventory you have bought and ship them to you based on production signals. But some 3PLs can do much more, including buying parts inventory on your behalf. The way that vendor-managed inventory (VMI) works is simple: the 3PL procures the materials, stores them, manages the inventory, and invoices you only for the parts you need, when you need them.

Putting it all together: a case study

A large manufacturer of safety products for commercial and military vehicles and aircraft approached Kanban Logistics with a need to free up some floor space in its North Carolina manufacturing plant. Upon realizing the extent of Kanban’s capabilities, however, that simple request for warehousing space expanded into a request for a comprehensive inbound logistics solution, including inventory management, kitting, sub-assembly, packaging and transportation.

  • Kanban stores all parts used in the final product and provides the exact number of parts required for each day’s production run.
  • Kanban creates kits for end customers and ships them directly, saving the manufacturer the time, space and costs of building kits at the factory. Quality assurance is performed by members of the client’s quality team, who maintain an office within Kanban’s facility.
  • Flat boxes are assembled, and specialized foam inserts are placed in the boxes at the Kanban warehouse, then shipped to the factory. As units are completed, workers simply insert them into the ready boxes and seal them, freeing up significant space and labor.
  • Finished units are sent back to Kanban for storage and order fulfillment. Kanban maintains the required hazmat certifications to handle the product and arranges outbound transportation using the client’s pre-approved carriers.

Kanban quality for your aerospace supply chain

Kanban is both AS9100- and ISO:9001:2015-certified, which is a reflection of our commitment to quality, safety, and reliability.  Our operations are also in full compliance with C-TPAT and ITAR.  With Kanban’s aerospace and defense logistics services, you have the comfort of knowing that your 3PL will perform every aspect of each of these services in line with an exacting set of standards that apply across every one of its facilities and among every one of its associates.

To learn more about how Kanban can optimize your aerospace supply chain, contact us today.