Fokker Aerostructures

    Fokker Aerostructures has the art of flying as its vision: to help customers build safer and more durable airplanes with the latest techniques and innovations. Fokker Aerostructures, a business unit of Fokker Technologies, designs, develops and manufactures lightweight aircraft parts and has manufacturing bases in the Netherlands, Romania, the United States and Mexico.


    Remaining ahead of the competition from Asia

    The company has to cope with strong competion from Asia where they are able to produce more cheaply. Henk Smit, IT director at Fokker Aerostructures, adds: “Fokker does not want to compete on price, but rather on quality, speed, durability and flexibility. To achieve this we must be able to rely continuously on the interfacing between the ERP and PDM systems which automate the production processes, the financial applications, the administration as well as the milling machines and robots. Due to the continuous changes it is neither possible nor the done thing these days to keep building such interfaces manually. This is too labour intensive and error prone but, more importantly, too inflexible. Working with just one system is not an option either nowadays. We concluded that we could not continue without an integration software as the time to market becomes too long, allowing competitors to gain a head start.”


    What motivates you to work at Fokker as IT Director?

    “What motivates me? Working in the most interesting corporate environment there is. I come from the services sector and it is refreshing to see that you can contribute to the creation of a tangible product. You are completely involved in the core business of the company and that is very satisfying. Quality and technological innovation are paramount at all levels. I have an enormously responsible position but it doesn’t feel as such. People here eat and sleep Fokker. It has been a real family for more than 100 years.”


    Challenges at the globalization level

    The challenges of Fokker Aerostructures lie in the area of globalization and cooperation between the branches and suppliers worldwide. “We work with a variety of systems, both our own as well as those of our aircraft parts OEMs. All our systems must connect seamlessly for our production processes to run as efficiently as possible and enable us to serve our customers at the highest level” continues Henk Smit.


    BizTalk solution

    Fokker uses BizTalk to organize the data exchange between the ERP and the PDM system. Henk Smit says: “BizTalk is a stable solution that has yielded the desired time savings and flexibility. Since its implementation new systems can be connected faster within the existing IT landscape.”


    Axon Olympus as integration partner

    “We were looking for a partner with the same core values in its DNA; pragmatic, fast and flexible. Large consultancy companies have various layers around their business processes making it impossible for them to act quickly. The larger the partner, the larger the conditions which need to be taken into consideration. Axon Olympus rapidly realized where our challenges lay and acted immediately upon these.”


    “Additionally the consultants at Axon Olympus possess a high knowledge level on integration and implementation with Microsoft BizTalk and offer good and clear advice.” continues Mr. Smit. “They have good powers of persuasion and during the test phase proved able to respond to the complexity of our infrastructure. As I am a techie myself we were able to discuss directly from the solution angle and not from the product angle. In the end we are buying a solution and Axon Olympus understands this very well”.