Connecting South Carolina’s Aerospace Cluster
An update written from the SC Aerospace team to the SC Aerospace cluster
Our team at the SC Council on Competitiveness and the SC Department of Commerce gets more excited each day about how fast the aerospace industry is growing in South Carolina. Wayne and I have visited 30 existing aerospace firms in our state since October 2014. You have opened your doors to us, provided tours of your facilities, shared the challenges that keep you awake at night, as well as your ideas of how we can continue to advance the aerospace industry in our state. We take those ideas with us and continue to build on the strong foundation you created for aerospace in South Carolina.
Already, we are seeing great progress in the strengthening of the supply chain with an increase of AS9100 certifications. We are continuing our series of networking events connecting the supply and support chain throughout the year. Building on that connectivity, we are thrilled to announce the development of an updated website with a GIS asset map to be launched late summer of this year.
Strengthening the supply chain
The supply chain is getting stronger. One of the items we look at on an annual basis is the number of firms in South Carolina that have achieved AS9100 certification. Last year, there were 73 firms in South Carolina who were AS9100 certified. As of February 2015, that number had grown to 85. This shows our firms are positioning themselves for future opportunities within the aerospace sector.
In addition to looking at South Carolina’s data, we also looked at other states in the southeast. The percentage of firms achieving the AS9100 certification was greater in our state than any other in the southeast. While the total number of certifications lags behind some other southeastern states, we are closing the gap fast. We believe South Carolina’s aerospace cluster will have 100 firms with the certification by the end of 2015.
If your company is interested in exploring this certification and the process to achieve it, reach out to the South Carolina Manufacturing Extension Partnership, which has helped a number of firms through the process.
Website & GIS mapping tool
Many of you have visited the SC Aerospace web site and some of your firms may be featured on the site. We are currently working to make enhancements to the site, including the addition of an interactive GIS asset map.
The map will include a searchable data base of South Carolina companies by location, quality certification, and other filters, with the ability to export the data into multiple formats. Basic company information is provided by Dun & Bradstreet, but companies will be able to complete a more in-depth profile. We also plan to include education and training assets, military related aviation assets, and airport assets. We look forward to launching the improvements later this summer.
In April we will host the next quarterly SC Aerospace Networking Event specifically for aerospace firms. Our industry leaders will hear about the Trident Tech Aeronautical Studies Center that is on the planning board and also about how the South Carolina Research Authority can assist the sector.
Also in April we will host a gathering of the stakeholder organizations who are engaged in the development of the industry from an academic and infrastructure perspective. There are many tremendous organizations who care deeply about advancing the aerospace sector and we are thrilled to be able to convene them around a table to share ideas and plan for the future.
We have learned something from each of our visits, and we look forward to visiting more firms throughout the year and connecting you with opportunities along the way.