We Must Think Outside the Cockpit to Develop

2022 was a year of change for most of us. A year of challenges and trials, but also a year of success. At GKN Aerospace Norway, we set big goals that year; goals that were reached, and goals we will take to new heights in 2023.

Because that is where we belong – up in the heights.

GKN Aerospace Norway has been and is still in a very exciting period. The industry of aircraft is constantly developing. It is strategically important that the company continues to change in 2023. As a company in change, our goals of maintaining quality and content are clear.

If we are to develop, we must dare to think outside the “cockpit”, or box if you will.

Henrik Willgohs & Martin Ramfjord

To tell you a little about our goals and outlook for the coming year, we had a chat with Martin Ramfjord, Chief Financial Officer, and Henrik Willgohs, VP of Procurement & Supply Chain, here at GKN Aerospace Norway (GAN).

Goals and Challenges in 2023

The last few years have been characterized by a lack of access to materials and increased prices.

Electricity prices are higher. Fuel prices as well. Increased housing interest and food budget; we all feel the changes in our everyday life. Some companies do not see the day of tomorrow. Others barely keep their heads above water. Companies on a global basis are in transition. Due to clauses in most of our contracts, the price increases are generally manageable for GAN. Access to materials, on the other hand, is another story.

The challenging material access we see globally affects the industry in several areas. If we don’t have access to materials, we won’t be able to produce anything either. This affects sales directly, and we, therefore, had to find measures that counteract these effects.

It requires some wise minds and good collaboration. At GAN, we have close to 350 employees and gathered them all into one collaborative arena where we addressed goals and measures.

An Arena for Setting Goals, Discussion and Task Allocation

On Friday, January 13th, 2023, we shut down the entire production and gathered all our employees for a strategy meeting. Close to 350 wise minds worked across departments and subjects to discuss how we will achieve our goals for 2023.

In a large company, it’s easy to find yourself working in your own little bubble. Collaboration across departments is underrated – it’s about relations and understanding, knowledge and breaking patterns. If we are to meet the challenges we face, we must do just that – break a pattern. This way we gain understanding and the knowledge we need to tackle the challenges.

The most important goals from this meeting are those that contribute to solving the challenges we face, including limited access to materials. We have worked with goals and actions that support parts arriving in finished goods warehouses and being sent to our customers. This involves securing materials, improving quality in production, increasing the efficiency of our operators, and even better monitoring of our machines.

Fixed Delivery of Subcomponents

If we are to develop and achieve our goals, we must invest. And that in competence. Competence makes us more sustainable and competitive.

After the covid crisis, we see a rapid improvement in the industry. Many customers see us as a strategic partner to help with increased delivery of aircraft engines. For GAN, this means more than a 50% increased volume in the workshop over two years, as well as a number of new products to be developed and qualified.

Recently, GAN won fixed delivery of subcomponents. Subcomponents are integral parts for the exhaust case on 2 different engines.

What is a case? Read more about what we do at GKN Aerospace Norway here!

The 2 engines are on aircrafts you are probably familiar with – the Boeing 787 and the Airbus 220. The most important factor in this is the opportunities these hours open up. As of today, subcomponents account for almost 25% of our hours. We divide our costs by hours. This means that some of the contribution reduces the hourly cost and some give us increased competence and resources to further develop the business.

In pure numbers, subcomponents provide 40-50,000 production hours and a turnover of over 30 million dollars per year.

A great start to 2023, you might say!

Good Prospects in 2023

One of our goals for 2023 is to reduce business risk. Based on this, and other goals, we make important investments such as friction welding, super polishing, multitask mill/turn machines and washing machines for our cases, a new ventilation system, and a new logistics layout.

These investments give the company increased security, increased commitment through improved everyday life, improved product quality, new capabilities, increased competitiveness, increased capacity, and higher turnover.

A good starting point for the coming year. Follow along through the year!

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