My last Client is a SMB. It's Leadership team is a "Special Forces" kind of team of Aerospace Manufacturing Veterans.
in 2007 they came up with a revolutionary idea to manufacture the key part of a widebody aircraft wing. The idea is simple, but effective, allowing the cut down of scraps and reworks to a virtual zero.
Since day one this team has patented the idea, to protect its value from national and international competitors.
After an initial tuning, they have been able to make a working prototype of the machinery that confirmed the feasibility. They also have been able to extend the results of their test to larger parts, using state of the art numerical symulations.
They are all set and ready to serve the big player of the aerospace industry, but they have encountered an "intial friction" to the adoption of their innovative solution.
This prompted them to look for a bit of help: someone who could help strategize this complex sales scenario...
Despit the fact that the Aerospace sector is under an unprecedent growth, the number of players has colapsed in the last few years, shrinking the number of Clients you can sell your solution. A SMB will have difficulty to enter the sector, because there is not a sector. There are a couple of teams, and therefore just a couple of decision makers. One each.
This means that it is quite difficult to find a "first mover" willing to bet on your idea to beat the competition. There is not real competition on resources. It also means that to sell to this players you have to be in line with their positioning on the market, because their decision will be made more on their company culture than on your business case.
Your communication should consider
the 4 key B2B Positions
This seams in contraddiction with what I wrote just above. But is not. The decision "places" have boiled down just to two clients. But the people involved into the decision itself has increased tenfold. The reason is explained into this post I made some time ago "why you need AI in your decision making", but in nutshell the point is that today the efficiency is built by aligning tousand of small factors. Each one of these factors is a KPI assigned to a different person. So the purchasing decision now is made by crowds and not by teams or leaders.
Why you need AI in your decision makin
Even if half of all the Airplanes today are built by a single Company, the key problem with Aerospace Manufacturing has remained the same: You cannot leverage economies of scale.
Labour costs still makes the largest part of the Aerospace companies P&L, and the search for efficiency still relies on Learning Curves: the ability of the operations team to find smarter ways to get the same result without injecting further capital costs, every time a new plane moves along the assembly line phases.
Our offer should respond
to one of the 4 needs of the market
The romantic vew of the pioneer risking his life to achieve new records into the sky race, has long gone. Aerospace people has been always fighting risk with the right attitude: doing their best to "take" risks, more than to "avoid" risks. Today this is a bit less so. Several people into the industry have been affected by the "Giant corporation syndrome". A peculiar desease that infects employees when they 1) have limited understanding of their specific role within the big organization, 2) know that the world beyond the company gate is made of a different bread: one that most probably does not taste "aeronautical", 3) think to work for the world monopolists...and monopolists don't fail. The symptomes of this desease are a tendency to stick with the best practice, even if someone can bring a solution with a steaper learning curve.
Get ready to overcome the 12 Resistances
Better: Regulations have been complicated. The willingness to protect passengers life (and company reputation) has made explode the rules to be followed. This in turn has reduced the number of people that can really navigate the seas of norms to bring innovation on board. Innovation is always defeated by bureaucracy... Unless it anticipate it, writing the new rules of the game. To understand how, you can use Patent Mining techniques to search the industry's technological trajectories evolution.
To add Patent Mining to your competitive arsenal:
These (and a few more constrains) have to be taken into account before to move into the Aerospace marketplace. Today however, there is a factor playing in favore of the new entrant. Demand Growth. The unprecedent demand for flights is putting the supply chain of the big players under stress. Capacity is thight and a this opens a window of opportunity for new suppliers. There will be times when the Clients will prune down the vendor list again, but now we have to "carpe diem"... shape our go to market strategy in the best way to surf the growth and maximize profitability.
There are not silver bullets, but we have learned a few lessons that help make the most out of your single shot.
Yes, I screamed in horror more than 1 time,
looking back to my mistakes...
To talk about this, contact me at the numbers below.
Flavio Tosi is an expert in designing marketing plans targeting the Aerospace, Energy and Oil & Gas industries.
He is part of the Aerospace community, being one of the promoter of EUROAVIA Alumni, the network of aerospace professionals who have been members of EUROAVIA, the European Aerospace Students Associations, to whom Flavio belongs since 1987.
His ideas about innovation go to market have been adopeted by SMBs in Italy, USA and UK, leading to successeful acquisitions, companies turnaround and the adoption of emerging technologies.
To know more about Flavio and his go-to-market coaching methodology:
If you liked this article, please consider to donate to the "Young Dreamers Fund", that I use to sponsor Aerospace Students Associations like:
EUROAVIA - European Association of Aeronautical and Astronautical students -
SKYWARDS - Rocketry students associations of Politecnico di Milano -
SPACE-UP - the third Space Un-Conference University of Pisa -
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