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Product portfolio management: A key factor of success in the aircraft engine manufacturing
industry is to get certified on new aircraft programs73 and maintain an active portfolio of
products. Therefore, Rolls-Royce is continuously working on new products. These engines are
developed in two ways 1) engines derived from existing models and platforms and 2) totally new
The company finds it cheaper and faster to develop engines from existing platforms7 4 . It also
uses engines developed from military programs such as the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter (where
R&D is financed by the government) as platforms from which commercial engines are
developed. Using this strategy, the company has been able to act on its declared principle of using its existing technology to produce engines for new aircraft programs. This also reduces the
supplier certification and testing process and hence reduces the development time of the engine.
As a result, very few completely new engines were required to be developed in recent years75.
Product development is another focus area where the company has set a goal to be able to be
develop derived engines in 24 months- and the new Trent 1000 engine to be used for Airbus
A380 has been developed in 24 months.
Facility and Capacity planning: The facility and capacity planning at the company is done in
accordance to the industry cycles. The company pursues to have the key capability to increase
and reduce its capacity and hence fixed overheads as demand rises and falls. This is done
through negotiated labor contracts that allow reduction in capacity, and also following JIT
principles with its suppliers.
Planning Systems and Technology: The industry and the company do not seem to use much of
Advanced Planning Systems and software76 . That is perhaps because the industry is not a high
unit volume industry which might face particularly taxing scheduling or distribution issues. The
products are highly engineered and the focus is on supplier collaboration software, which
integrates company and supplier’s operations. Further, in a highly regulated environment, the
ability to use conventional methods for optimizing is limited, which limits the use of APS
software. Rather, the potential for optimization lies in synchronizing material deliveries and
availability from suppliers. Overall, the industry looks at IT as an enabler, rather than a strategic
tool, and IT outsourcing is a growing trend77
71 Ibid
76 Interview with John Weiss, VP, i2 Technologies, March 2004
77 Interview with Pete Wiese, CSC, Practice Manager, Aerospace, Defense

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