Best Aerospace and Defense Traceability Tools
Maintaining quality and safety in aerospace and defense operations is critical. Parts suppliers must adhere to a variety of regulatory requirements, often while also providing complete traceability for their products. The airline and defense industries are high-stakes sectors, where even a minor product failure can have serious consequences. In this post, we’ll review some best out of the best tools that can help establish and manage full traceability for the aerospace and defense market.
What is Traceability?
Traceability, in short, is the ability to track something (in this case: aerospace parts) through its entire journey. This could include its movement through the supply chain as well as any changes that are made to it along the way. For example, if a part is repaired or replaced, traceability would allow you to track that information and ensure that the new part meets all the necessary requirements.
Traceability in the Aerospace Industry
Aerospace traceability is especially important because of the potential consequences of a product failure. In such a high-stakes industry, it’s essential to be able to track parts and components throughout the supply chain. This way, if there is ever a problem with a part, you can quickly identify where it came from and take steps to prevent similar problems in the future.
There are many different ways to establish traceability within your organization. Here are five important methods:
- Use Barcodes or QR Codes: Barcodes and QR codes are an easy way to track items as they move through the supply chain. Simply scan the code at each stage of the process to automatically update your records.
- Implement Digital Tracking: Digital tracking systems can provide real-time visibility into the whereabouts of your products. This is especially useful for keeping track of high-value items or items that are time-sensitive.
- Keep Detailed Records: Maintaining accurate and up-to-date records is essential for traceability. Be sure to document all aspects of the manufacturing process, including any changes that are made along the way.
- Use RFID Tags: Radio frequency identification (RFID) tags are another option for tracking parts and components. These tags can be read automatically, which makes them a convenient way to track large quantities of items.
- Partner with Reputable Suppliers: Working with reputable suppliers is one of the best ways to ensure traceability in your supply chain. Make sure to partner with suppliers who have a proven track record of quality and compliance.
Why is Traceability Important?
There are many reasons why traceability is important in aerospace and defense operations. First and foremost, it’s a safety issue: being able to track parts helps identify potential problems before they cause serious damage or injury. Additionally, traceability can help reduce costs by making it easier to find replacement parts and streamline the repair process. Finally, it can improve customer satisfaction by ensuring that parts are repaired or replaced in a timely and efficient manner.
There are a few key ways to establish and maintain traceability in your aerospace and defense organization. First, you need to have accurate and up-to-date records of all your parts. This includes information on where each part is located, who is responsible for it, and its current condition. You also need to be able to track changes made to each part, such as repairs or replacements. Additionally, it’s important to have a system in place for labeling parts so that they can be easily identified throughout the supply chain.
Top Aerospace and Defense Traceability Tools
There are many software tools available to help manage aerospace and defense traceability. Here are a few of the top options:
Visure Solutions – Visure is one of the most trusted ALM platforms that is well known for its amazing services in requirements and traceability management for the aerospace and defense market. It helps enable digital engineering for aerospace and defense organizations. Visure helps you establish end-to-end traceability among various requirements, risks, tests, codes, and defects across multiple projects at a time. Visure further helps your team gain access to source code traceability by tracing requirements and tests to specific functions of your source code. Moreover, all this can easily be exported and used to generate reports for standard compliance audits. Visure is trusted by some top aerospace companies like Airbus, General Electronics (GE), Palomar, and DLR.
Siemens Polarion – Polarion is a well-known RM tool in the aerospace and defense industry. Polarion is highly admired for saving time and effort, improving quality, and ensuring safety for complex systems. Polarion guarantees end-to-end traceability between all the requirements and test cases ensuring the requirements and test cases are mapped to each other properly.
CodeBeamer – CodeBeamer is a tailor-made ALM tool by Intland Software for advanced products and software development. This tool comes up with pre-configured templates and compliance for Agile and DevOps-oriented organizations. CodeBeamer offers a unique workflow that helps in maintaining a collaborative work environment. The tool allows you to connect all the development tools in order to provide your team with a personalized central development hub.
Spira Teams – Spira Teams is another ALM platform that helps you in managing your requirements, releases, tests, issues, and tasks in a single integrated environment. It also offers an incorporated dashboard with important metrics of the project. Spira Teams also provides end-to-end traceability for all the requirements, test cases, defects, development work, and source code.
Tuleap – This is an ALM system that majorly facilitates agile methodologies, V-model, requirements management, and IT service management. This project management platform enables organizations to meet the required standards like CMMI and ITIL. Tuleap ensures end-to-end traceability from initial requirements to test campaigns and final deliveries. It connects all the requirements, test cases, and other artifacts to ensure full traceability.
Ways to Make Aerospace Traceability More Efficient
There are a few things you can do to make your aerospace traceability more efficient:
AS 9100 – Although AS 9100 certification is not mandatory, it is highly encouraged throughout the aerospace and defense industries. Many times, an aerospace supplier’s customers may play a role in influencing the company’s decision to become certified. For suppliers that sell parts to federal organizations such as NASA, this is especially true.
Real-Time Document Tracking – The necessity of being able to locate product information when necessary is one of the key principles of traceability. If there are any delays, it can result in equipment downtime and customers losing money. The average aerospace supplier must work with multiple industry partners, so it’s crucial to arrange document and part tracking to prevent any mistakes during transitions.
Prefer Modern Software Solutions – Modern ERP platforms offer significant advantages to aerospace manufacturers in terms of compliance, production, and quality management functions. In particular, they provide an important resource for purposes of traceability. With a modern ERP system, it is possible to manage supplier policies, coordinate regulatory requirements, and develop end-to-end traceability for each individual component within the manufacturing process.
System Audits Optimization – To keep their aerial products and abilities up to par, all aerospace companies must regularly check things through an audit. This is done not only to ensure they’re meeting specific regulatory requirements but also to verify that our ERP software functions and any other systems used for automating inventory and resource management are running as planned. Sometimes when you’re trying to optimize and improve something, it’s easy to gloss over the basics—which is why it’s important occasionally review (and enhance) your audit checklist. Doing this allows you more easily identify potential problem areas throughout the whole operation.
Future Emerging Technologies – Seemingly, the only thing that is certain for manufacturers is that technology will continue to change. With this in mind, new capabilities– such as blockchain– present themselves as a novel way of improving quality control via traceability throughout various supply chains. While it may be tempting to forego learning more about these technologies and innovations, doing so would likely set your company back significantly. As an aerospace manufacturer, you must stay updated on the latest developments and create plans not just for assessment but also implementation of what works best for your operation specifically.
Traceability is a critical requirement for the Aerospace and Defense industry. The Top Tools we’ve listed should help you manage aerospace traceability in your organization more efficiently. If you are not currently using a requirements management tool, we suggest you try Visure Requirements ALM Platform. Visure Requirements has been designed specifically for the Aerospace and Defense market and offers a Free 30-day trial so you can see how it can benefit your organization.