BAE Systems: Shipping automation and the paperless export office
Case study

BAE Systems: Shipping automation and the paperless export office

BAE Systems uses AEB software to generate and archive export and shipping documentation for prestige aircraft system projects such as Hawk, Eurofighter, and F-35 Joint Strike Fighter (JSF).

About BAE Systems

BAE Systems is an international company engaged in the development, delivery, and support of advanced defence and aerospace systems in the air, on land, at sea, and in space. The Company designs, manufactures, and supports military aircraft, combat vehicles, surface ships, submarines, radar, avionics, communications, electronics, and guided weapon systems. It is a pioneer in technology with a heritage stretching back hundreds of years and is at the forefront of innovation, working to develop the next generation of intelligent defence systems. BAE Systems has major operations across five continents and customers in some 130 countries.

Successful implementation project wins prestigious award

Software from AEB has enabled the CS&S team to obtain real-time visibility of shipment information and keep tighter controls on shipment costs. In 2005, the AEB software project project was awarded the prestigious Chairman’s Bronze Award for Innovation from BAE Systems in recognition of the significant improvement in business processes that the solution has helped to bring about. Ian Womersley, Export Control Team Group Leader, has said that: “The system has provided a complete solution for the creation and electronic storage of export documentation while minimizing data entry and providing our customers with up-to-date statistics and shipment information.”

When BAE Systems’ CS&S were faced with a substantial projected increase in the level of exports they handled for production projects, it was clear that their existing systems, procedures, processes and resources weren‘t adequate to meet the future workload. They therefore looked for a new solution to meet their current and future requirements and opted for a solution from AEB’s Export Management portfolio.

The company’s Customer Solutions & Support (CS&S) business uses an AEB’s Export Management system to help it fulfil its role in providing tailored through-life support and service solutions for current and future defence systems. This includes the worldwide export of major components, spares and repaired items for various aircraft systems.

New software enables radical changes to business processes

The introduction of the new system enabled the CS&S Export Control Team to restructure their management of export shipments and significantly increase efficiency. In a recent magazine article, Ian Womersley, Export Control Team Group Leader, said: “The system gave us the opportunity to radically change our processes.” This was a very important step for the team as they had substantial export commitments to meet.

The core of the ASSIST4 system implemented with BAE Systems’ CS&S business is focused on producing and storing Shipping and Export Filing documentation. One of the key requirements of BAE Systems was that the software should be able to generate the full range of Customs, commercial and transportation documents necessary for their business and that the documentation could be stored electronically in a non-editable format.

Following an analysis of BAE Systems’ requirements a software solution was implemented that included elements of AEB’s Shipping, Export Filing, Statistics and Document Management System range of functionality.

Working towards a paperless office

All Shipping and Export Filing documentation can now be produced in a short space of time and each document is populated with the necessary export licence information where appropriate. Significantly, each document is then automatically stored in non-editable optical format in AEB’s Document Management System. Retrieving, displaying and printing any of these documents at a later date is simple and can be done in a matter of seconds from any PC on the network.

Documents that haven’t originated in AEB’s software (e.g. airway bills) can also be scanned into the system and stored with appropriate search indices. As all the documents can be stored for many years in revision-secure format (meaning that they can’t be edited once saved in the archive), the CS&S team were recently able to secure an agreement from HM Customs that paper documentation would no longer need to be retained - a great step forward towards the paperless office!

Automatic processes to reduce time-consuming manual entry

As part of the software from AEB that was implemented, BAE Systems are also making use of the Communication Management System (ACMS). This particular module is a sophisticated data conversion hub which can take data from any one system and convert it into a format that can be understood by another. 

For BAE Systems, this has enabled the company to take Intrastat and product data from the AEB Export Management package and output this data in a format that can be read into their import system. Previously, this had been a time-consuming manual process. Crucially, this now all runs automatically without the need for user intervention.

Moving ahead with Phase II

Given the success of the original implementation it will come as no surprise that BAE Systems have opted to build on the AEB solution portfolio to meet some of their other business requirements. In the upcoming Phase II project, the company is looking to add modules from the area of Carrier Connect, Transport & Freight Management, and Export License Management modules to the existing system.

With the commencement of Phase II, BAE Systems has demonstrated its continued trust in AEB’s business solutions. The enhanced system will undoubtedly extend the CS&S team’s capabilities to meet the future challenges of supporting prestige export contracts in a complex business environment.