How to Stay Competitive in the A&D Industry – Insights from Boeing

June 19, 2017  Competitive Intelligence
  • Boeing senior executives decided to engage in a “strategy refresh” due to three primary drivers. 

  • Competitive Intelligence (CI) serves as a critical tool to support companies in the A&D community facing similar challenges.

  • CI is essential for identifying new business opportunities and gaining a competitive advantage in an increasingly crowded field.


Cipher’s Director of Research, Fred Hoffman, recently attended Defense One’s Global Business Briefing with Boeing. At the event, Leanne Caret, CEO of Boeing’s Defense, Space & Security (BDS), provided some key insights into Boeing’s strategy for staying ahead in an industry with fierce competition and well-established competitors.

Caret began the conversation by characterizing 2016 as “a banner year” for BDS, with every production line increasing its output. Despite this, Boeing senior executives decided to engage in what Caret described as a “strategy refresh” due to three primary drivers: The changing nature of global threats, the stiffening of competition, and the need to operate at an accelerated pace of business.

In this post, we address each of these drivers and identify ways in which Competitive Intelligence (CI) serves as a critical tool to support companies in the A&D community facing similar challenges.

  The Changing Nature of Global Threats

The world is an increasingly dangerous place. China is establishing a military foothold on artificial islands it has been constructing in the South China Sea. Russia and China continue to invest money in military technology research and new equipment. ISIS and other terror groups continue to devise low-tech techniques to negate the capabilities of hi-tech adversaries in the West. North Korea’s Kim Jong Un is increasingly petulant. Each of these threats necessitate different capabilities for the U.S. military and require new, innovative solutions from the A&D companies that supply them.

  Stiff Competition

Boeing, the world’s largest defense exporter, faces competition not only from its traditional business competitors, but also with some new, as well as some resurgent, players competing in the global defense market. Since 2009, South Korean arms exports increased over 1,000% since 2009. Between 2005 and 2013, defense-related exports more than doubled from Russia, a country which combined with the U.S. accounts for more than half of global arms exports; China, France, and Germany round out the list of the top five arms exporting nations.

  The Need to Operate at an Accelerated Pace

Excessive bureaucracy can bog down communications, decision-making, and reaction time. According to Caret, BDS’s recently announced decision to eliminate 50 executive positions was due to a recognized need to become more proactive, agile and responsive.

CASE STUDY: Developing a go-to-market strategy for a cyber threat analytics tool. A Cipher client, one of the world’s largest aerospace and defense companies, acquired a powerful cyber threat analytics tool that supports advanced functions in an emerging area of cyber security. Cipher completed a market assessment to determine the best go-to-market strategy for the product. Find out how.

  Applicability of Competitive Intelligence

Leaders in the A&D industry, such as Boeing and others, recognize that agility is essential for rapidly responding to emerging opportunities; CI is essential for identifying those opportunities and gaining the competitive advantage necessary for success in an increasingly crowded field. Organizations that move quickly into new markets are more likely to be successful when they invest in CI to reduce uncertainty around competitors and future market trends. CI seeks to deliver clarity by providing actionable insights about a company’s market, customers, and competitors to facilitate the decision-making and forward-thinking strategic processes of an organization. 

According to Caret, Boeing’s decision to change up their strategy was not driven by losses, but rather Boeing’s failure to win more business. This is a message we frequently convey to our consulting clients: “Business as usual,” often results in little business in the future. To remain competitive, companies in every industry need to foster a culture of innovation that encourages employees to question processes and implement changes that will drive the business forward. CI supports innovation by providing greater customer understanding, monitoring for disruptive innovation (products, processes, and business models) as well as market trends.

If growth has stagnated at your organization, our team of expert researchers and consultants is ready to help you refresh and future-proof your strategy. Contact us today to learn more about our Market Entry, Customer Insights, Trend & Disruption Monitoring, and Innovation & Strategic Decision-Making Support services.


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Insights from Fred Hoffman, Director of Research at Cipher - Following a 30-year career as an intelligence collector and information operations practitioner in the US Army and multiple civilian intelligence organizations, Fred now draws upon his broad experience in worldwide intelligence collection, information operations, corporate personnel and intellectual property protection to support both government and commercial clients.

 

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