Aircraft, Engine & Parts Manufacturing In the US: A Leaner, Quicker & Brighter Future

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The aircraft, engine and parts manufacturing industry is climbing due to rising fleet replacement and global air travel, which is driving demand for more commercial aircraft and associated parts.

Key Statistics Snapshot according to IBISWORLD:

key statistics 2018

Market Shares for key US players:

The Boeing Comp 33.9%
GE Aviation 8.5%
Lockheed Martin Corporation 7.7%
United Technologies Corporation 6.7%

Airlines around the world are seeking to upgrade their fleet to newer, more fuel-efficient models. In particular, economic growth in the U.S. and in emerging markets has increased global air travel traffic and enticed airlines to expand their fleets. Year-over-year passenger travel growth for the past five years has averaged 6.2 percent. Low air fares, higher living standards with a growing middle class in large emerging markets, and the growth of tourism and travel relative to total consumer spending in major economies are all driving strength in the demand for air travel.[1] As a result, Boeing and Airbus have surplus demand for aircraft, with combined backlog orders of over 9,000 commercial aircraft.

Breakdown of the total US revenue of $240 B

breakdown of 240B

Key External Drivers:

  • Demand from air transportation
  • Federal funding for defense
  • Non-Nato defense spending
  • Trade-weighted index (The trade-weighted index (TWI) measures the value of the US dollar against the currencies of its largest trading partners. A decreasing TWI leads to lower export prices and higher import prices.

The United States is prepared to soak up this demand. The U.S. is the largest aircraft manufacturer in the world, and is home to the leading companies in the large commercial aircraft, combat aircraft, helicopters, unmanned aerial vehicles and engines segments. In the commercial aircraft segment, Boeing dominates, as it is the only U.S. manufacturer of medium to large size airliners. Since U.S. companies like Boeing hold such a strong market position, any increase in demand by international airlines for new aircraft typically leads to increased demand for U.S. planes.

In a 2015 PwC report, the U.S. was ranked as the top location for commercial aircraft manufacturing. Countries were ranked on several variables, including costs, industry size, and infrastructure/stability/talent. The U.S. ranked first out of 142 countries, despite only moderate grades in the cost and infrastructure/stability/talent categories, because it’s the largest in terms of industry size.

U.S. companies are seeing enormous opportunities to partner with foreign firms in hopes of gaining market shares in new regions. U.S. manufacturers across the supply chain – from makers of engines to electronics and communications systems to airframe parts – have already made quick strides to partner with emerging aviation manufacturers, but this looks to be simply the beginning of a much more globalized industry.

Expansion in global markets carries numerous risks, including but not limited to intellectual property protection, talent recruitment, training, and retention.

Finding a right partner for manufacturing in dollars might be a huge opportunity to drive your global business further.

COGNEGY has successfully worked with foreign companies in advanced industries who want to enter the U.S. marketplace. COGNEGY’s Atlanta, Washington, Philadelphia locations, staff of C-level executives and extensive experience provides foreign firms with a hands-on, trusted partner well versed in the local business climate to map out an partner search and acquisition or a customized plan for corporate growth.

Please contact COGNEGY with any questions you might have: e-mail phil.jafflin@cognegy.com  or call +1 (404) 917-7100 extension 903

 

[1] Boeing Current Market Outlook, 2017-2036, page 7

[2] http://usblogs.pwc.com/industrialinsights/2014/01/20/globalization-pressures-lessons-from-the-us-aircraft-industry/

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Competitive Manufacturing

Summary
How things change… A new BCG study released on April 25, 2014 throws away out-of-date perceptions on which countries have the lowest manufacturing costs. If China is still ranked #1 in terms of global competitiveness, its position is now under pressure with the United States a close second. The world is not divided anymore between “low cost” emerging countries and “expensive” advanced economies.
What does it mean for investors and decision makers? Where should your next production plant be located?

Manufacturing Cost Competitiveness (MCC)
BCG’s study tracked 25 major exporting countries, accounting for close to 90 percent of global exports of manufactured goods. Their MCC index is built on four pillars of manufacturing competitiveness: wages, productivity growth, energy costs and currency exchange rates. Adjustments were made to take into account other drivers influencing a nation’s competitive position, such as available infrastructure, security issues, ease of doing business, corruption level…

Ranking and evolution
Apart from China and the USA, the final Top Ten MCC ranking includes the U.K. (4), the Netherlands (6), Belgium (9) and France (10) but this “photo finish” doesn’t tell the full story. A clearer picture is offered when classifying the countries in four categories, reflecting the trend of their competitive position. Highlights:

   Under Pressure: Rapidly deteriorating competitiveness affects Brazil, Russia, China, Poland, Czech Republic…
   Losing Ground: High cost countries coping with rising energy costs, high wage costs and no productivity gains. Belgium, France, Italy, Sweden…
   Holding Steady: Countries maintaining their position relative to the global leaders: Netherlands, U.K., India, Indonesia.
   Rising Stars: Increased competitiveness with gains in all four index components: U.S.A., Mexico

Click here for the press release on the BCG study.

What are the implications for business leaders?
The first message is that decision makers need to keep track and adjust to dramatic and rapid changes. Old (as in ten-years-old) perceptions stand in the way of new realities. “Overall costs in the USA are 10 to 25 percent lower than those of the world’s ten leading goods-exporting nations other than China”, the report says, and on par with Eastern Europe.
Entrepreneurs do not move their production facilities based on the latest trend or hype. Such a move has huge implications, is very costly and requires an economic horizon of at least one, usually two decades. This is true for medium sized firms as much as for global corporations.
This is why managers and investors should base such a strategic decision on solid cost structure evidence and the analysis of long term trends. Just like when buying shares on the stock exchange, if you follow the mainstream opinion, your late move is likely to end up in painful losses.

Where should your production plant be located?
Whether looking at added capacity or transplanting production, the decision of where your new plant should be built is obviously the subject of a careful strategic analysis. You will make a first selection of countries where wages, energy costs, productivity and currency all point in the right direction, and where the other drivers (ease of doing business, infrastructure, stability, rule of law…) are consistently positive.
Each firm is however a unique case, only partially influenced by macroeconomics. After all, your first concern is with your market, your customers, your people and your identity. This is why you will also want to consider a broad range of company-specific criteria, such as:

  • Competitive sourcing and efficient supply chain
  • Location and dynamics (growth, innovation) of your main markets
  • Availability of skilled labor and qualified specialists
  • Ease of adjustment to the local culture
  • Global market prestige and local market access
  • Access to local funding.

Building a production plant in a distant, foreign country, is a major strategic decision, one that might ensure growth and profitability for decades to come, if done right. When deciding where to move, take a new look at today’s evidence and tomorrow’s evolution, not at yesterday’s performance.