Aerospace Industry Support Initiative
The Aerospace Industry Support Initiative (AISI) is a South African government initiative managed through the Department of Trade, Industry and Competition (the dtic) with the express aim of improving the competitiveness of local businesses in the aeronautics, space, defence and marine sectors.
AISI takes its strategic direction from government’s objectives, with specific emphasis on the industrialisation and localisation of technology and technology-based supplier development and, ultimately, ensuring integration with global supply chains. The dtic uses the CSIR and its position in the National System of Innovation as an independent and strategic directed research and development entity to give industry access to national expertise and infrastructure to improve its capabilities and offerings.
Focused programme-level interventions
Established in 2006, AISI achieves impact in industry through focused programme-level interventions. The programmes are designed to assist industry to improve and acquire new and advanced capabilities that, in turn, enable improved competitiveness. Collaboration between the local industry and AISI is a key element in improving competitiveness and establishing a global footprint in the advanced manufacturing environment. Over time, AISI has supported over 100 companies, directly and indirectly, as benefitting organisations. This has been achieved through the following programmes:
- Technology-based Supplier Development
The AISI’s Technology-based Supplier Development intervention provides enabling mechanisms to assist industry to improve productivity, implement quality management systems to obtain certification, and optimise operations and integration into global supply chains. These interventions are implemented with the specific aim of broadening the industrial base by encouraging original equipment manufacturers, integrators and sub-systems suppliers to work with Small, Medium and Micro Enterprises (SMMEs) and lower tier suppliers on technology programmes.
- Industry Development and Technology Support
This programme focuses on advancing production innovation such as the use of advanced manufacturing and other 4IR technologies to build more durable, compact and efficient products. Access to new and existing processes, products and methods is also facilitated to ensure that beneficiaries develop products and services that enable them to exploit multiple market opportunities.
This includes testing, evaluating and prototyping, using CSIR experts and facilities. Integrators and sub-system suppliers are encouraged to include SMMEs and lower tier suppliers in their supply chains to enable the continuous transfer of knowledge, expertise, capabilities and technologies and, in doing so, broaden the industrial base.
- Coordination, promotion and awareness
AISI plays a pivotal role in coordinating activities in and promoting awareness of the aerospace sector in South Africa. A flagship event is the annual Aeronautical Society of South Africa Conference, which brings together local industry players to showcase projects and associated impact achieved in the year.
- Sector Strategic Support Initiatives
AISI implements, oversees and contributes projects of national interest through this programme. This includes the development of the Commercial Aviation Industry Development Strategy, the hosting of the Joint Aerospace Steering Committee and contributing to the development of the Aerospace and Defence Masterplan, at operational and strategic levels.
Marine Manufacturing, Associated Services and other Manufacturing Industries Supplier Development Programme
The Marine Manufacturing and Repairs Supplier Development Programme was initiated in 2019 on behalf of the dtic to assist small enterprises to achieve accreditation and compliance with marine standards for their products and services.
The programme assists suppliers in ship- and boatbuilding, maintenance and repair, and the associated services industry to enhance their visibility within local and global supply chains and increase their competitiveness. The ship and vessel manufacturing and repair sector has significant scope to achieve growth and job creation in the local economy. The sector was designated for local procurement and public working vessel procurement to have at least 60% of local content to support component manufacturers. However, very few local suppliers have the required accreditation and components are still being sourced from abroad, which prevents the local industry from developing and benefitting.
The programme focuses on strengthening the sector’s stance in the manufacturing supply chain by achieving the required accreditation and contributing to the localisation of marine technologies and products. The programme focuses on two interventions, namely, support for marine standards and accreditation and support for technology enhancement. The marine standards and accreditation intervention was created to address the need for local companies to supply approved and certified products and services to designated public procurement in the ship- and boatbuilding industry. The technology enhancement intervention aims to help suppliers enter new markets or enhance existing market positions in the marine and related industries. This approach is replicable in other sectors.