The "Extended Enterprise" introduces an optimised way of working with Airbus and its supply chain

A key element in the company's evolving relationship with suppliers, Airbus' new "Extended Enterprise" approach will lead to more efficient development and production for the A350 XWB and future aircraft.

18 November 2009 Feature story

The A350 XWB programme is providing the baseline for Airbus' new "Extended Enterprise" relationship with suppliers, in which harmonised processes, methods and tools will lead to more efficient development and production for this jetliner - as well as for the company's future aircraft.

A total of 22 suppliers have joined the Extended Enterprise activity to date, representing 41 work packages for the A350 XWB. Participants include Europe's DAHER-SOCATA, GKN Aerospace, Labinal, Premium Aerotech and SABCA; Rockwell Collins and Spirit Aerospace in the U.S.; and Korea Aerospace Industries in Asia.

"The Extended Enterprise will be a key enabler for success through optimised and efficient data exchange, which is based on common processes and tools that are now being shared with our partners," explained Klaus Richter, Airbus Executive Vice President - Procurement. "This will lead to a leaner and more reliable partnership, supported by a reinforced collaborative mindset."

Speaking to representatives of more than 240 companies at the 2009 global Supplier Conference in Munich, Germany, Richter said the Extended Enterprise is a key element of Airbus' evolving relationship with suppliers that will make the company and its supply chain more responsive, efficient and reactive.

These improvements are vital in today's environment, when meeting programme schedules and responding to the market's changing requirements are more important than ever.

"Flexibility is critical in meeting the challenges ahead of us, including the ability to be ready for production rate adaptations that are as smooth as possible," explained Airbus President & Chief Executive Officer Tom Enders. "We appreciate the cooperation that our suppliers have already demonstrated, and look forward to continued successes that will make the Extended Enterprise an even larger reality, rather than just a concept."

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