THE aerospace and defence sector in the south-east stands at a pivotal point — balancing enormous opportunities with massive threats.
That is the view of Ross Bradley, executive director of the Farnborough Aerospace Consortium.
Mr Bradley has 35 years experience in the aerospace industry to bring to his new post, and recently spent time as managing director of the Eurofighter Typhoon Aircraft Programme at BAE Systems.
He has witnessed the key issues from the inside.
Now his challenge is to use his experience and knowledge to help more aerospace and defence suppliers in the south-east create a real impact on a global scale.
He said: "Our region is home to high value leading edge com-panies with the potential to create big opportunities.
"But these same businesses could also face considerable difficulties if we do not embrace the strategic direction of the industry's big players."
Supply chain efficiencies are at the top of the agenda and among Mr Bradley's first priorities is to harness the funding and expertise that currently resides in numerous industry-led organisations and regional government agencies to create collaborative opportunities of FAC members.
He added: "This doesn't just mean focusing on the south-east. We must be alive to the strategic direction of aerospace and defence on a global scale and then reflect this in the support that FAC gives to member companies. Collaboration can be on a regional, national or international scale."
Mr Bradley comes to the FAC post with a reputation established within BAE for effectively leading and implementing change in diverse and challenging environments.
His experience at senior executive level in the design and delivery of high performance, client-focused supply chain solutions made him a particularly attractive candidate to the Farnborough Aerospace Consortium — an organisation whose members primarily comprise high technology aerospace companies in the south-east of England.
FAC aims to make substantial contribution to the competitiveness and business success of its members.
It also promotes the role of the south-east aerospace industry as a key contributor to the region's economy.
These goals are achieved through targeted programmes in association with partner organisations, such as the South East England Develop-ment Agency (SEEDA), which promote market and technology access, supplier networking, education and training.
Mr Bradley's first task will be to set the immediate priorities for the organisation.
These are likely to focus around:
- Improving market intelligence to members
- Identifying the strategic direction of the sector and the prime contractors
- Creating opportunities by breaking down barriers between the UK an US
- Harnessing the region's supply chain development support
Following that, he promises a determined approach to delivery.
He said: "For aerospace and defence to prosper in the south-east, we need a fresh strategic focus that reaches from the local to the global.
"Small and medium sized businesses need to collaborate more effectively to create the visibility that enables them to participate in future major contracts by offering prime contractors the solutions they seek."