From small to big: in August of 1996, eight Hamburg, Germany-based small and medium-sized suppliers (SMS) to the big players Airbus, Boeing and Lufthansa Technik decided to bundle their activities by founding Hanse-Aerospace. Meanwhile, 160 companies have become members of the association, employing 14,000 staff and turning over €2 billion annually in the field of space and aviation. Last Friday, the member company’s leading managers flocked to Hamburg’s soccer arena ‘Volksparkstadion’ to celebrate their association’s 20th anniversary.
There was a lot of shoulder clapping, an exuberant atmosphere and a positive prevailing mood among the 150-plus attendees who had gathered at one of the large stadium lounges to attend the
celebration. Within only 20 years, Hanse-Aerospace has managed to become an indispensable part of the supply chain of major aircraft manufacturers, maintenance, repair and overhaul companies but
also to sell their innovative products to a growing number of commercial airlines. “In each commercial passenger or cargo jetliner operating today you can find technology invented and produced by
a member of Hanse-Aerospace,” exclaimed Board Member Andreas Sedlmayr of the German Aerospace Industries Association.
The group represents a large number of companies that offer services and products covering almost the entire spectrum of aviation, from flight deck instruments, special valves and pipes or lighting systems to entire cabin interiors. Their secret of success: Hanse SMS members are commercially independent, but combine their skills when offering clients like Airbus or Boeing single-source solutions. Meanwhile, the association’s relation with their first-tier customers is based on equal footing to the benefit of both sides as daily business practices document.
Below, we document important statements delivered by speakers and attendees at Hanse-Aerospace’s 20th anniversary:
Frank Horch, Senator of Economy and Transport, Hamburg
The aviation and aerospace industry has developed into one of the most dynamic and labour-intensive business sectors in Hamburg, showing a lot of drive, technical innovation and progress. Within this context, the contribution made by the small and mid-sized suppliers professionally orchestrated by their association Hanse-Aerospace is of enormous value. The group has succeeded in bringing together different actors and interests for the common benefit of all participants. Since long, the members have demonstrated not only great commitment spurred by an innovative spirit, but also a lot of creativity. The latest result of this forward-driving thinking and acting is a new App (avipeo.com) to share professional knowledge, connect with aviation professionals worldwide and find business partners for engaging in new projects. In summary I can say that 20 years of Hanse-Aerospace is a real success story.”
Jochen Zuraw, Director Aerospace Central Europe, DB Schenker Logistics
As DB Schenker we joined Hanse-Aerospace back in 2010 for the simple reason that we wanted to get as close as possible to our existing clients that produce and send aerospace components around the world and approach potential new customers. In addition, we expected to gain knowledge about future trends in aviation and their impacts on the global supply chain as well as related logistics processes. We are not just a passive member, benefitting from developments tabled by the association but participate actively in working groups or cooperate directly at selected trade fairs. Generally speaking, I can say that knowing decision makers personally is sometimes of help for establishing business relations.
Joerg Manthey, Chairman Hanseatic Engineering & Consulting Association – HECAS
Since some time now, both associations HECAS and Hanse-Aerospace enjoy a very amicable relationship based on mutual respect and cooperation. While we consider ourselves being the specialist for engineering services Hanse-Aerospace members are primarily engaged in developing cabin systems. Information between both organizations is exchanged continuously at board level meetings. HECAS and Hanse-Aerospace are driven by the aim to bundle the individual interests of their member firms for optimizing the collaborations of suppliers with Airbus, Lufthansa Technik and other valued customers. Let me add to this that the doors of Hamburg’s city government is always open if we have a special request or case that needs to be discussed. This political backing gives us a sense of appreciation.
Andreas Wetjen, VP Procurement, Airbus Operations GmbH
From day one, Hanse-Aerospace members proved to be reliable Airbus suppliers, driven by creativity, flexibility and best-in-class mentality. Meanwhile, we are facing the fourth industrial revolution, where cyber-physical systems monitor physical processes and communicate with each other as well as humans in real time. This smart production revolution will greatly affect the supply chains, thus the relationship between our company and our subcontractors. I like to assess that Airbus offers concepts and support for promising future cooperation.
Andreas Sedlmayr, Member of the Board of Directors, German Aerospace Industries Association – BDLI
From the very beginning, the relation between both our associations have been close and have even intensified until today. Our partnership was always fair and constructive, despite occasional controversial standpoints. But our common focus was always to drive our industry forward. In Germany, there is hardly any industry as successful as aviation and aerospace. It is multifaceted, international, fascinating and complex as proven by Airbus that relies on 7,000 suppliers who produce a large number of the one million components each of the aircraft manufacturer’s jetliners contains.
Since decades, Hamburg and the metropolitan region is one of most important and highly innovate centers of the aviation industry. Of the 1,700 aircraft produced anywhere in the world last year, 300 were assembled in Hamburg. This corresponds to 17 percent of the global production of aircraft. An amazing figure compared to the output of German carmakers that account for only 7 percent of the global production of automobiles. Hanse-Aerospace has contributed greatly to the success of our industry.
Uwe Groening, Founder and Honorary Chairman, Hanse-Aerospace
The famous aviation pioneer Hugo Junkers once said: Our goal is to bring people and nations closer together. It is exactly this objective that also has become Hanse-Aerospace’s guiding principle. We started in 1996 with eight companies and grew to 160 members until today. Our motto is borrowed from soccer: together we stand, divided we fall. As individual supplier you have little chances to capture major work packages at Airbus or others. However, when acting as association you are better recognized by the big ones like LH Technik, Airbus or Boeing, making it easier to get the business at the end of the day, provided your product is competitive.
Meanwhile, our member companies are major contributors to the success of this industry in Hamburg and Germany. By value, 67 percent of all exports leaving this city are aircraft and components for the aviation industry. More than 40,000 people are working in this dynamic field.
But standstill is regression. We are facing new challenges with China, Japan, Brazil and Russia pushing new aircraft project ahead for taking a slice of the cake. Wages in China for instance are much lower than those in Germany. So we have to be faster and develop smarter solutions, offering clients service excellency to stay in business in the years ahead. I’m sure we have the experience, the competencies and the knowledge to master these challenges. Hence, I am certain that Hanse-Aerospace can look forward to a promising future.