Technology is the common theme running through many of the challenges the aerospace and defence industry is facing today, according to John Schmidt, global head of aerospace and defence for Accenture.

“Take the example of workforce, we have tremendous challenges in workforce – we had challenges in workforce before Covid, but they were a little bit different to what we see today. In some cases, things are getting a little bit better – we’re seeing attrition coming down – but we also have a tremendous number of new people coming in. If we look at the demographics, we’re seeing smaller cohorts coming forward in North America and Europe, which means we’re going to have fewer people to choose in the future, so technology is an important part of that,” he explained.

Schmidt believes that AI will be an important technology to solve those workforce challenges, allowing humans to “do more with less, using AI enablement”.

Supply chain is also another challenge facing the industry, but Accenture’s Commercial Aerospace Insight Report suggests this will improve over the next 12-18 months. “That’s not a huge surprise if we also think about the rates that Airbus and Boeing are putting out there, and if they hold to those rates, as they come up it will make it easier to get back to what we would call maybe the ‘new normal’ in supply chain,” Schmidt explained.

Sustainability is also at the forefront of the industry’s mind, and there is work to be done if it is to achieve its 2050 goals. It will require a multifaceted approach, combining the development of products and operational methods with data collection to track sustainability. “It’s going to be a full package if we want a chance at hitting those 2050 goals,” Schmidt concluded.

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