Infor Wins Big at BAE Systems Military Air

One industry where the Infor LN enterprise resource planning (ERP) product is undergoing a renaissance of sorts is automotive. Another industry would be complex manufacturing in the aerospace and defense (A&D) sector. Most recently, the aerospace giant BAE Systems Military Air & Information (MAI) has revealed plans to rationalize its ERP arsenal using Infor LN, which will be rolled out across the United Kingdom as the corporate ERP standard and is expected to go live in 2015.

Reportedly, the company currently has several ERP systems and supports more than a hundred applications. In addition to using Infor LN as its core ERP system, BAE Systems MAI will implement Infor BI and Infor Enterprise Performance Management to handle analysis and reporting, all of which will be integrated using Infor's light middleware framework Infor ION. The solution will be applied across the BAE Systems MAI organization, including on programs such as Typhoon, Hawk, and F-35 Lightning II.

BAE Systems MAI is a long-standing customer of Infor, going back to its original Baan manufacturing solution in the mid 90s. It was a highly customized evolution stemming from the Baan’s Boeing days (i.e., Boeing was Baan’s quintessential customer). The whole Typhoon/JSF (Joint Strike Fighter) assembly line is driven from this highly customized Baan solution, but it appears that Baan’s Infor LN incarnation now has plenty of A&D manufacturing functionality out of the box.

MAI needed to consolidate its manufacturing ERP, from Typhoon through to JSF, and one of the reasons for sticking with Infor was likely the desire to minimize any disruption to the Typhoon and F-35 rate production. In the latter case, rear fuselage assembly will reportedly shortly be ramped up to one per day.

It wouldn’t surprise me if major Tier 1 ERP vendors were defeated in this deal by Infor. IFS might also come to mind here; IFS has historically been used as a “front office” and “field service” solution within BAE Systems. But this was a contest on pure manufacturing functionality, not in IFS’ traditional “BAE Systems space,” and therefore not a competitive bid.
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