AIA Pushing Toward Industry eBusiness Standards
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The American Aerospace Industries Association and UK’s A|D|S recently announced new global standards for trading partner and electronic collaboration agreements between prime contractors and suppliers. It’s a small step toward a broader AIA vision, which includes a full portfolio of eBusiness related initiatives ranging from recommended standards and frameworks, to candidates, to initiatives being monitored by AIA.
The goal of having all key participants and trading partners “able to exchange information relative to product design, business relationships, transactions, and product support across an information backbone which is open and accessible to all.” is not unique to the aerospace industry. As the Internet boom and bubble accelerated, one of its main hopes was pinned on the emergence of industry trading portals that would create one set of connection standards/APIs, instead of high-cost, high-maintenance individual EDI links between firms. These portals failed for a variety of reasons, leaving much looser sets of industry initiatives and vendor-specific solutions to pick up the slack.
Globalization hit the defense and aerospace sectors later than others, given the national strategic importance of armaments industries. It’s definitely making itself felt on an array of fronts, however, which raises the importance of corresponding eBusiness frameworks. The F-35 program’s “digital thread” is a harbinger of wider things to come. In the case of the recent GTPA and GECA agreements…
The Global Trading Partner Agreement (GTPA) is designed to supplement existing agreements by providing researched contractual language for the electronic exchange of information between global trading partners.
The Global Electronic Collaboration Agreement (GECA) provides global parties with a common set of rules by which they agree to exchange collaborative electronic data, both domestically and across international boundaries.
These 2 basic agreement templates are especially useful to small and mid-size firms, however, and the hope is that standardization will allow for faster negotiations, lower legal costs, and improved global collaboration. As one can see, these are just initial steps, and many of the actual interconnections are covered by other AIA portfolio initiatives or other international efforts.