Press Release

Aerojet: Innovation Drives Opportunity as Defense Budgets are Cut

By SpaceRef Editor
December 21, 2010
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Interview with: John Schumacher, Vice President – Washington Operations, Aerojet

“There has been and will continue to be a leaning of budgets, but they are still significant, providing opportunities to the companies that are innovating and offering good products at the right prices,” says John Schumacher, Vice President – Washington Operations at Aerojet. To take advantage of this, it is critical to incorporate sustainability at all levels, innovate and optimize production. A speaker at the marcus evans Aerospace & Defense Manufacturing Summit 2011, in Hollywood, Florida, February 9-11, Schumacher discusses Aerojet’s approach to production optimization for staying competitive in the marketplace.

What initiatives to improve operational efficiency and productivity have you implemented?

John Schumacher: “We have looked at lean manufacturing processes and streamlining facilities to significantly reduce overhead costs, and make our products more affordable, while still bringing innovation to the market. We have worked on keeping an R&D component through production component – people to create and design new systems, iterate off of old ones and translate that to manufacturing and production capabilities.

Production optimization and bringing in new capabilities are the challenges that the aerospace and defense manufacturing sector will need to address in the coming year.”

How do you stay competitive in the marketplace?

John Schumacher: “We work at staying close to the customer, trying to understand their requirements and presenting new ideas that could make a big difference in their offerings. Due to tremendous cost pressures, we are continuously working to improve all of our processes.”

What opportunities are arising out of the greening of aerospace and defense manufacturing?

John Schumacher: “Sustainability is a key component of our industry. We are looking at the entire product lifecycle; from the chemicals and materials we use, how much power we need, what the customer wants and the transport systems we have in place. It is critical to incorporate sustainability at all levels.”

How are you preparing for a future with defense budget cuts?

John Schumacher: “There has been and will continue to be a leaning of budgets, but they are still significant, offering opportunities to the companies that are innovating and offering good products at the right prices.”

What long-term strategies would you recommend?

John Schumacher: “The best thing we can do is to push for competition and innovation in our marketplace. There have been discussions on the need to have only one provider for certain products, but I think our challenge is to establish an environment where there are at least two competitors thereby keeping the competition in research, development and production alive and innovative.”

Summit Website: www.aerospacedefensesummit.com/JSBW

SpaceRef staff editor.