Combating the Challenges of Complexity in Aerospace and Defence

14 June 2017

No.4 Hamilton Place, London

18:30 - 20:00 

The burgeoning complexity and inter-dependency within and between systems is one of the greatest challenges facing the A&D sector. Driven by the persistent Internet of Things, increasing specialisation, and the vast volumes of accruing data; complex networks of inter-dependency are continually evolving between all aspects of organisations, products, systems, data-silos, disciplines, and operations.

This fundamental inter-connectedness means that it is no longer advisable, nor plausible to view anything in isolation. Failing to effectively manage complexity is resulting in A&D organisations and Defence Forces becoming increasingly susceptible to hidden and compounding risks; which can have significant, if not critical, impacts upon their operational performance, budgets, and safety.

A&D programmes are immensely complex. Aircraft projects for example can take over a decade from inception to successful first flight. Systems engineering, design and integration processes are increasingly demanding, with typically 250K+ critical load cases requiring analysis for civil aircraft certification. In turn, the vast inter-dependencies between operations, production, sustainment, cyber-security, and fiscal management all require the collaboration of multiple stakeholders, partners and allies. An effective methodology to successfully manage and deliver such complex, time/budget/safety-critical programmes is long overdue.

This seminar will consider these issues, and how UK software company BOXARR is empowering organisations to manage such challenges, at ‘real-world’ massive-scale. BOXARR stitches together human expertise with data mapped from sources across the enterprise to form dynamic digital knowledgebases. These “DigitalTapestries” incorporate powerful tools for collaboratively modelling, visualising, processing, simulating, analysing the multi-contextual inter-dependencies across programmes - e.g. strategy, budget, planning, people, product, engineering, process, production, supply-chain, sustainment & lifecycle - mitigating risk, and optimising performance.

The seminar will include a demonstration of BOXARR’s innovative solution to collaborative complex systems management, as well as case studies of applications and success stories across the A&D sectors; within both industry and Defence Forces.

The seminar will be followed by a Q&A session, and a drinks reception sponsored by:

Speaker Details

Dr Rob Smith, Chief Technology Officer, BOXARR

Rob has PhD in Engineering Science and Mechanics, and became a tenured Aerospace Engineering professor at the University of Alabama.

Rob was Director of the Intelligent Computing Systems Centre at The University of the West of England from 1997 until 2005 and remains a Senior Research Fellow in Computer Science at University College London.

Rob has conducted research projects for the U.S. Army Strategic Defense Command, Los Alamos National Laboratory, Oak Ridge National Laboratories, NASA, Boeing, NSF, EPSRC, The European Union, DERA, British Aerospace, Airbus, British Telecom, The Bank of England, and The UK Competitive Market Authority. 

He is a former Associate Editor of The IEEE Transactions on Evolutionary Computation, a current Associate Editor of the journal Evolutionary Computation, and he serves on the editorial boards of several other journals. 

Rob is a Co-Founder of BOXARR.

David Casey, Deloitte

David has 27 years leadership and project management experience in the Army, and is now a Senior Manager in Deloitte, working on the Defence account.

Since 2012 he specialised in managing projects for procuring equipment and then managing that equipment in-service. For 3 years from 2012 David ran the Army’s in-service equipment, including its extensive armoured and protected mobility fleets, and led the Army’s part of the project to sell the Defence Support Group generating a receipt of £140M. Most recently he led a team in DE&S managing multiple projects delivering equipment into service and supporting wider projects with specialists in Engineering, Risk, and Through Life Support, gaining a thorough understanding of Through Life Capability Management.

Stephen Gregory, Airbus

Stephen Gregory has worked in three manufacturing sectors (Metals, Telecoms and Aerospace) over the last 25 years and is currently a Senior Supplier Development Manager at Airbus actively working to improve Airbus suppliers and their supply chains.

Steve is currently developing the Airbus Sub Tiers and is actively promoting use of SC21 within the UK SME supply chain as a self-starting method for companies to become active competitors in global Aerospace markets.

As part of the SC21 programme Steve is working with other Primes to create Aerospace Clusters of Excellence (ACE) focused on bringing together supply chain companies for mutual development and benchmarking opportunities as well as to improve competitiveness and profitability. Steve is also working on the new SC21 Competitiveness and Growth supplier development programme which will be part of the forthcoming pan industry National Manufacturing Competitiveness Levels (NMCL).

An advocate of lean manufacturing Steve has deployed the techniques as an Operations Manager in 2 SME’s with very lucrative success before joining Airbus. Practical knowledge and experience is backed by Fellowship in Manufacturing Management and MBA qualifications.


No.4 Hamilton Place, London

Royal Aeronautical Society HQ

No.4 Hamilton Place