3 Tips for Choosing a Reliable A&D Supply Chain Partner

3 Tips for Choosing a Reliable A&D Supply Chain Partner

The aerospace and defense (A&D) industry is undergoing rapid changes due to rising demand and technological innovations. While the uptick in demand is great news for defense contractors, the aerospace industry, and their suppliers, it also brings unique supply chain challenges.  How do you choose a reliable supply chain partner who can maintain a rapid-fire pace while staying current with ongoing innovations, changing requirements, and increasing quality expectations?

Your business depends on its suppliers, so we’ve compiled a brief list of key tips for choosing a supply chain partner that’s trustworthy, quality-oriented, and production focused.


Tip #1: Choose a Responsive and Tech Savvy Supply Chain Partner


Long lead times are one of the most reported supply chain challenges in the aerospace and defense industry. Supply disruptions result in delivery failures that have dire consequences for A&D companies, such as penalties, cancellations, and cost overruns.

Deloitte research estimates that over the next 20 years there will be a commercial aircraft order backlog of about 38,000 aircraft to be produced globally.

Considering this projection, no A&D company, aerospace supply chain, defense contractor, or even subcontractor can afford subpar performance due to supply chain delays and long lead times.

You need a responsive supply chain partner.

Vet your prospects. Don’t rely on name alone, a rock-bottom bid, or a 30-year-old reputation. What’s the company doing, now? What’s their track record today?

Do your homework and learn how well they’re keeping up with the changing markets and increased demands of the A&D industry.

If you find that a supplier’s most recent work has been sluggish, fraught with delays, or showing a long backlog, then they’re probably not the supply chain partner you’re looking for.

You need a tech-savvy supply chain partner.

Lacking technology is one of the biggest reasons today’s supply chains have slowed their pace. You’ll want to identify innovative companies who’re nimble enough to adopt technologies that increase efficiency and transparency.

Tech-minded supply chain partners stay current with technological developments in the A&D sector. Therefore, repositioning yourself to align with companies that are both reliable and innovative will help you overcome new challenges and increase your market share and competitive edge.


Tip #2: Choose a Supply Chain Partner Who Provides Custom Services


If a company displays an inability (or unwillingness) to respond to customized needs, then they’re probably not the reliable supply chain partner you’re looking for in today’s market.


As standards and industry innovation continue to rise, your company will need increased flexibility. You’ll want a supply chain partner who can quickly respond by introducing new services or making modifications to current ones.


It’s important to find out what they’ve accomplished for their most recent customers. Will they be ready and willing to adapt to your company’s changing needs? Can they produce custom or complex components efficiently when needed?


Companies with a long reputation for customization and specialty services typically offer greater attention to detail that’s especially useful for custom engineering or improved inventory management. You’ll want that type of company on your team.


Tip #3: Choose a Supply Chain Partner with a Track Record of Quality


This tip might seem obvious – and it is. But it’s no secret that quality is growing increasingly scarce in the aerospace supply chain and A&D sector. It’s another alarming cause of supply chain disruptions and backlogs.

Many companies today hold to low standards and produce equally low-quality products. You’ll come out ahead of the pack if you obtain reliable supply chain partners with a track record of quality.

Never take quality for granted. Even well-known, well-respected companies fail in this area too often.

Here are several factors to investigate before making your final decision on a quality supply chain partner:

  • What type of quality control standards and systems do they have in place right now?
  • Are they using technologies that add transparency and efficiency to the process?
  • What’s their record on traceability? Can they provide accurate traceability documentation?
  • Are they successful in high-performance processing?

A little targeted research upfront can save you tons of time and money down the road.

Learn More About etaGLOBAL’S Supply Chain Solutions


Aerospace companies and defense contractors can no longer coast when it comes to their supply chain partners. Now is the time to reevaluate your relationships and position your company for long-term success in an evolving market.

At etaGlobal, not only do we understand what it takes to succeed, we strive to embody that success.

We’re a responsive, tech-savvy A&D supply chain that provides both customized and quality products for your critical projects.

Contact us with questions or to learn more about our services.