Marcelle Nethersole speaks to the Senior Vice President, Programmes and Operations at GKN Aerospace.

What is the core business of GKN Aerospace?

GKN Aerospace is the world’s leading multi-technology tier-1 aerospace supplier.
As a global company serving the world’s leading aircraft manufacturers, we develop, build and supply an extensive range of advanced aerospace systems, components and technologies for use in aircraft ranging from helicopters and business jets to the most used single-aisle aircraft and the largest passenger planes in the world.

We are also a market leader in aerostructures, engine systems, transparencies and wiring systems.
Our customers include leading aerospace and defence companies like Airbus, BAE Systems, Boeing, GE, Gulfstream, Lockheed Martin, Rolls-Royce, Pratt & Whitney and many more.

Gavin Wesson

What does it mean to be able to supply your services around the world?

We operate in 15 countries at 60 locations around the world including Europe, the USA, Asia and Africa.
Using leading technologies like lightweight composites, additive manufacturing, innovative engine systems and smart transparencies, we support our customers to reduce emissions and weight on the aircraft and enhance passenger comfort.
We harness our considerable technology and manufacturing resources to supply the highest quality systems, structures, components and services.

What does 2017 hold for GKN?

We see additive manufacturing as an important technology for the future of aerospace and we expect this technology to grow and advance further in 2017.
Also this year, our customers’ new aircraft with GKN products and technologies on board, will enter into service or are expected to make their first flights; that will make us very proud.

What training do you supply to your staff?

Worldwide we employ 17,000 people; in the UK it is about 4,000.

We believe that lifelong learning is the future for all our employees and we provide all types of training to support that, ranging from on-the-job craftsmanship-related training to leadership and engagement.

What does a typical day involve for you in your role and what challenges do you face?

GKN Aerospace has grown significantly, including very successful acquisitions, and we are now market leaders in a range of aerospace technology, from aerostructures and engine systems, to aircraft wiring and transparencies.

As the business has grown, and our global footprint and number of manufacturing facilities has increased, my focus is on how we take best practice and deploy it across our expanded global business consistently.

We are standardising our ways of working with a consistent approach to life-cycle management and programme performance, with focus on delivering to our customers.

I have just returned from the GKN Training Academy, where we are training all of our global programme managers in the new standards. This will not only ensure consistent deployment across all of our 60 locations but also transform performance.

It’s the same approach in our operations, with focus on digital technologies.

Technology is transforming our world and we need to harness the benefits it can bring to our operations. Here, we are focused on how we make data available at the point of use, real-time and interactive, allowing our operations to identity what’s needed and be empowered to act instantly.

As I travel around our sites, I am always filled with real confidence in our future and encouraged by the great people we have in GKN and their enthusiasm and pride in what they do.