04 December 2013

Airbus will do an “extreme vigilance” among the suppliers in the beginning of the series production of A350 in 2014.

The A350 program is in full rise. Didier Evrard, Head of Program points out that the beginning of the series production in 2014 requires extreme vigilance. In particular among the suppliers.

The head of the A350 Program Didier Evrard estimated that the program will soon arrive "in a delicate phase because, while production rises in cadence, flight tests and therefore development are not completed." Therefore we have to manage the risks of definition changes that might affect the aircraft in production and be very quick and reactive".

"We are in the phase of flight testing and we have already done more than 600 hours of flights, explains Didier Evrard. On the side of production, we are still in the start-up phase and the rate is for the moment of a unit per month. This phase will end mid 2014 and need therefore to ensure the rise of production rates and achieve a reliable series production". He said that by the end of 2014 the production rate will be close to 3 aircraft per month.

"The production of an aircraft is the problem of resource-planning", summarized Didier Evrard. Considering also that during the ramp-up of the production, many developments related to the design of the parts must be taken into account.

The critical point: the supply chain and its multiple suppliers. There are nearly 400 Tier 1 and 2 for the A350 XWB. To ensure this ramp up. Airbus has implemented a battery of 4 indicators that allow to know the level of reliability of suppliers. They are related to the management, engineering, the quality of production processes and the supply chain.

Additionally Airbus has also set up a team of 50 people responsible for the smooth running of the process within the suppliers. "Those Tier 2 are the most sensitive to monitor by Airbus”, said the Head of the program. We required to the Tier1s to ensure that their own suppliers of rank 1 are ready for the ramp-up".

What happens in case of defaults? The team will implement a “transformation plan”: "they travel to the supplier to ensure training and the support addressing and anticipating the issues", said Didier Evrard. This was held with Spirit. 'We had to put in place 10 transformation plans,' added Didier Evrard.

Based on the article “Pour le patron de l’Airbus A350, "le programme entre dans une phase délicate" published in L´Usine Novelle

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