Defending the supply chain

source: Electronics Sourcing news

Defence procurement presents many supply chain challenges, with extended product lifecycles and zero design flexibility. Director of industry marketing Europe, defence, aerospace and space in Europe, Lee Thompson, explains how TTI can help.

The defence sector places very specific demands on its supply base, not only in terms of the high performance of components specified, but also on its supply chain and logistics solutions. To address this issue, a decade ago, TTI created a focused European defence business unit. Now TTI is ISO 9001:2000 and AS9120 registered within its US and European operations. Not only this, TTI Europe is also IECQ registered to manage CECC product demands and JOSCAR accredited.

Long term agreements
Although defence procurement has improved over the past 10 years, the industry is still being challenged to maintain unrealistic cost down models and fixed pricing agreements that are sometimes close to unachievable. Cost reductions are possible if the system is flexible enough to accept a change in part number or better still, a change in technology, but most defence systems are fixed and require a ‘build-to-print model.’ This makes taking cost out of legacy products virtually impossible. Long term agreements are possible, but in some cases, TTI sees requests for 10 years and beyond. We believe that such agreements are only practical for up to three years, with regular reviews including improvements to the supply chain process and discussions about what might be possible to help reduce costs.

COTs Plus components are having a positive impact and TTI can advise on best-in-class supplier solutions. Our key defence suppliers are in tune with this approach and when new technology is introduced, such as Kemet’s hi-rel polymer capacitor series, we are ready to provide design-in assistance.

Battling obsolescence
At the other end of the life-cycle, obsolescence is something TTI takes seriously. Our information system provides customers with monthly updates on obsolescence and product change notices. TTI then helps manage last time buys and in some cases, can hold long term inventory. Of course, there will never be a perfect solution to obsolescence, but to ensure that counterfeit components do not enter the supply chain, TTI only ever buys through franchise agreements.

TTI’s combined franchise portfolio comprises major manufacturers plus key specialist lines, with a broad and deep inventory of mil spec, ESA and commercial off the shelf products. Dedicated sales and support teams complete the package, along with business systems that can manage the demands of strategic multinational customers. Over the past five years, TTI has also developed its European value added connector assembly capability. We provide cutting services for tubing, wire and cable, offering lengths that are tailored to specific requirements for ease-of-use, rapid installation and cost-savings.

On TTI’s booth at DSEI, special focus will be given to Kemet’s approach to component miniaturisation with new capacitor technologies for demanding applications as well as Honeywell’s switches, proximity sensors and linear variable displacement transducers for aerospace and military applications. Other highlights include products from Vishay’s Sfernice division, which provides highly reliable long-life position sensors with cost-efficient design. A range of plastic, wirewound potentiometer and magnetic encoders also enable Vishay to deliver custom solutions for missiles, fighter aircraft, optronic devices and radar.

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