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Introduction To Bae Systems Information Technology Essay

Paper Type: Free Essay Subject: Information Technology
Wordcount: 4624 words Published: 1st Jan 2015

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BAE Systems is a global company engaged in the development, delivery and support of advanced defence and aerospace systems. In 2008 they were the second-largest global defence company. (Siemens 2008)

The company is composed of about 107,000 employees worldwide. They are the United Kingdom’s largest engineering and manufacturing company and its largest manufacturing exporter. They deliver a full range of products and services for air, land and naval forces, as well as advanced electronics, security, information technology solutions and customer support services. BAE SYSTEMS lies at the heart of Britain’s scientific and information technology “knowledge-based” economy.

BAE has seven home markets – Australia, India, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, Sweden, UK and the US. The company is divided into four operating groups

Land and Armaments provides development, Figure 1 sales by operating group

design, production, through-life support and

upgrades for various military vehicles, weapon

systems and munition.

Source: BAE systems annual report 2009

Electronics, Intelligence and Support designs, produces and services systems/subsystems for a wide range of military and commercial applications.(BAE 2010)

Programmes and support is the group’s UK-based air and naval activities, IT services and systems provider and the Integrated System. They supply security and integrated systems business solutions.

The International operating group comprises of the group’s businesses in Saudi Arabia and Australia together with 37.5 %interest in the pan-European MBDA joint venture, shareholdings in Saab and Air Astana.” (BAE 2010)

Figure 2 BAE systems competitors and market position.

Source: BAE systems annual report 2009

3. The defence industries business strategy

Business Strategy is the direction and scope that a business wants to take through a period of time. This strategy should achieve an advantage for the company through management of resources (within a challenging environment) to meet the markets need and to fulfil stakeholder expectations”(Johnson and Scholes 2006).

The overall business strategy for the industry is to maintain and win contracts by providing unrivalled customer value through innovative high quality products in all key market segments. In order to do this efficient inventory management, supply chain management and aftersales logistics is needed.

BAE systems business strategy

Figure 3 BAE systems overall business strategy

Source: BAE systems annual report 2009

The main group strategy is to deliver commitment through customer focus, programme execution, responsible behaviour and total performance.

Their goal is to Meet 2010 financial targets, and set challenging and realistic longer-term plans to maintain and win contracts. They plan to do this by enhancing programme execution through cost performance and by focussing on customers through schedule performance. They aim to Grow their Electronics, Intelligence & Support business through internal optimisation, acquisitions and improved efficiency.

BAE systems core business is integrating complex defence systems at the cutting edge of advanced technology. None of there businesses, works in isolation. They all work in unison. Instead of simple products, they develop defence systems, that have the engineering complexity of which far out-strips any other activity in the UK and requires rare and exceptional skills.

Additionally the defence industry is increasingly driven by a IT-based, networked world in which knowledge, built from shared information and the use of common decision-making processes, are key to success. The technological challenge is not only to develop and integrate systems within platforms and weapons, but to interlink the various systems in a real-time, world-spanning web of information, allowing forces to control with precision the speed and direction of operations from a highly skilled national manufacturing base. It is extremely important to build equipment and software efficiently within budget and to customer expectations ensuring maximum shareholder return and profit.

BAE systems do this through using a:

Production system that supports Through-life support and maintenance of products for 50+ years

A system that allows production to meet Customers’ demands for faster response and shorter cycle times

Budget pressure to manage initial PLM investment and on-going costs

Defence industry E business strategy

E-business strategy is the use of internet based tools to support company business processes, that better enable them to meet their objectives, allows them to set the allocation of resources to meet business objectives and aids them in making the proper strategic actions to compete within the market. Additionally it aids them in planning future development for the organization.

Ebusiness Within the defence industry entails supply chain management, providing client logistics, internal and external collaborative commerce, secure product data management, efficient enterprise and resource management software. To have a competitive edge within this industry it is particularly important to have the right ERP and PDM/PLM software.

Table 1 Comparison of characteristics of ERP and PLM



Execution focused

Innovation Focused

Repeated transactions

Designing, creating, iterating and revising

Steady State

Manages and promotes change

Inventory/ Order Lifecycles

Product lifecycles

Well, controlled defined business processes

Disciplined, but flexible design processes

Simple BOM Hierachy

Complex design relationships, systems view (Mechanical, electrical and software)

BOM to procured part/ Assembly level

Full product structure to component or raw material level.

Released versions

Product iterations, revisions and decision history

Central theme of control

Central themes of speed and managed creativity

Order/ supply/ Demand focused

Design/ Requirements/ Configuration/ project/ Program focused

Rigid data model

Flexible Data structure

Structured Data

Documents, structured and unstructured information, Metadata

Hierarchical Data relationships

Dynamically related, networked Data relationships

Data Mining

Knowledge search and retrieval, geometric search

Text-based with static 2D and 3D images

Visual, 3D models, simulation, Animation

How can a defence company gain a business advantage through E business strategy.

A company can gain business advantages through a good E business strategy, this entails bringing manufacturing costs down through proper supply chain/resource management , speeding up manufacturing and lowering development costs. Through higher process efficiency and integration. Supplying proper logistics for products which helps ensure proper customer service and satisfaction. Furthermore a good E business strategy integrates all connected businesses that may specialise in particular market segments and facilitates internal and external international industry collaboration producing innovative products. Which all works together to bring products to the market faster ,at a lower cost, establishes brand image and maximise profits. We will use BAE systems as an example to show this. Within manufacturing the Ebusiness strategy can best be described by the porters value chain for competitive advantage.

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BAE systems Ebusiness strategy

BAE systems is a global network of businesses each with dispersed design teams and complex new products always being produced. Product data management (PDM) plays an important part in this. In order to function at a high quality level in this highly competitive industry BAE systems took on a new business model. The availability service business model:

The availability service model is managing the availability of military assets, shared ownership and risk. In which the main issues of asset and inventory cost management are solved through better supply chain management, procurement and predictability of costs. This model requires a shift in attention to Through Life Costs of products. Through-life costs of products are the resources needed to maintain a piece of equipment throughout its life cycle and this can be dependant on the complexity involved in its design. This service model shares parallels in lean management within the automotive industry and the aircraft engine design sector.

Many components of the defence industry are suppliers, partners and customers aswell as competitors. Companies can act as both suppliers and contractors, and a significant range of processes may be outsourced. BAE’s old business model was too weak it was based around large contract procurement which left the company its business industry in the UK venerable as Procurement decisions were sporadic. Meaning if an organization lost capability it might be 5 years before the next contract, by which time the skills could be lost to other sectors. (Sparrow et al 2008). As an integrated suite of equipment management was developed, they switched to an availability contract business model. This meant BAE Systems could take on the management of customer’s assets, and reduce their cost of procurement almost immediately.

The most expensive aspect of military platforms are rarely the acquisition cost but are the ongoing support and maintenance of contracts. Through life begins from concept design, assessment and demonstration, through manufacture and migration to the initial service, in-service support and transition out of service. (sparrow et al 2008).

Proper logistic management through an E business strategy would be advantages to any company within this industry as it would give them a competitive edge.

In order to build such high technology products efficiently effective PDM product life cycle management systems were needed BAE old system, Enovia PM, could not do this.

The new business model meant support during the in-service phase of a product (E.G. aircraft.) Traditionally, this was done by the Royal Air Force; however under the new management model the aircraft solutions business provide configuration-driven, through-life maintenance, repair and operational support that start as soon as a product is delivered to the customer. (Siemens 2010) They hope to export this model to wider parts of the business in Air, Land and Sea.

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This business strategy entails electronic integration from a Teamcenter hub leading to tighter supplier integration; faster reviews and changes. Collapsed lead times; lower development costs. In my own opinion the BAE E business strategy is basically the integration of systems and production departments throughout their big network to bring down overall production cost, assist product innovation whilst maintaining customer service.

BAE systems use Siemens Teamcenter PLM software to meet their Ebusiness strategy.

What is PLM and Teamcenter

Product lifecycle management (PLM) is the extension of product Data management (PDM). PDM takes software technologies as the basis and uses the product as the core. PDM unifies the management of data, processes and resources relative to product manufacture. It regulates product lifecycle management, ensuring the coherence and traceability of product data. It aids in giving the correct information to the proper personnel by the correct modes. Teamcenter is a PLM platform originally developed by UGS Corporation it was acquired in 2007 by Siemens forming the Siemens PLM software business unit. The Teamcenter software is a leader in the PLM solution field. It is based on the web and adopts the idea of J2EE framework mixed with different software modules. Its business logic operates independently from clients and servers. Teamcenter brings the convenience of exploitation, maintenance and use of products present in a company’s portfolio. The advantage it brings is enhancing the extension ability of the systems it integrates with by allowing a company to meet complex demands associated with the enterprise business logic of production normally associated with particular industries ( such as aviation and automobiles) allowing users to conveniently collaborate on the design of a product under international conditions. It is successful used by a number of international corporations.


In today’s highly competitive global market place the relentless pressures to deliver innovative products have brought about opportunities and challenges to utilize PLM systems that are able properly manage the complexity of high tech product development processes (Fig 4).

Source: Wildeman 2008 Product life – cycle management applications. As a result discrete-based manufacturing industries such as the automotive, defence and aerospace utilize PLM systems. They have proven the importance of centralizing documents, design images and records to support common reference. Shown the value of collaboration and accelerated change processes across global engineering team. PLM software is firmly embedded in their IT ecosystems and assists with processes such as project management, portfolio management, manufacturing process management and direct material sourcing. (Wildeman 2008) The relevance of Teamcenter in the PLM market will later be discussed when discussing other applications

Teamcenter architecture

Teamcenter is a large scale software application that provides various process solutions. It mainly consists of the following systems: Teamcenter integrator, Teamcenter requirement, Teamcenter engineering, Teamcenter manufacturing, Teamcenter project, Teamcenter community and Teamcenter visualisation.

Table 2. Teamcenter software architecture

Software application


Teamcenter integrator

Teamcenter integrator uses the web as the center where it obtains information from heterogeneous enterprise information systems that is used in business solutions. It integrates product information from all systems helping value chain participants visit the product data seamlessly.

Teamcenter requirement

Teamcenter requirement helps companies adjust product design according to the request of the customer, market, laws and regulations. It ensures the product keeps consistent with technology demands that are always changing. It maximizes the potential developmental success of the product in the market. It provides engineering, demand track, report generation and document management

Teamcenter enterprise.

Teamcenter enterprise is a e-commerce solution based on the web. It provides a collaborative environment for design engineers, customer’s, suppliers and other companies such as engine suppliers. Core members of the enterprise value chain can bring forward the innovation solutions in different product phases, critique production design and actively participate in automation business processes. Enterprise unlocks scattered product information where it is managed through the information vault where access can be actively controlled.

Teamcenter engineering

Teamcenter engineering provides functions such as PDM and 3D visualisation in a collaborative environment. Engineering teams can closely (seamlessly) integrate their knowledge with design data and models that are created by different types of computer aided design systems (CAD) such as NX, AutoCAD, and CATIA.

Teamcenter manufacturing

Teamcenter manufacturing is based on the on Teamcenter engineering software. Teamcenter manufacture manages the data from teamcenter engineering which is orientated to the lifecycle process.

Teamcenter project

Teamcenter project simultaneously coverts complex production projects into manageable missions which are then designated to the appropriate resource (teams) allowing collaboration between teams within the company and supply chain partners. (Liu et al 2008)

Teamcenter community

Is a B2B solution that provides online collaboration between different departments within an organisation such as engineering and administration. It allows companies to gain applied knowledge from value chains that can be directly applied in design and development. It supports e-stock ensuring suppliers can appropriately meet the demands of manufacturing companies and supply them with the best components. Suppliers can participate early in design and production eliminating the chance of works being repeated as well as gaining the best parts for the lowest price. This helps cut production cost and reduces the time to the market.

Teamcenter visualisation

Teamcenter visualisation allows the end product configuration to be seen and tested in a virtual environment. This allows company members scattered in different regions to mutually check a focused problem early in the design period. (Liu et al 2008)

Teamcenter provides basic functions for PLM, Teamcenter is comprised of industry, domain, and business solutions. Domain solutions consist of file, configuration and change management. Industry solutions cover best experiences, convention, common terms, the format of files and provides validated templates. The business solution provides company information.

It consists of client tier, web tier, enterprise tier and a resource tier. Utilizing Microsoft.net frame work, UDDI, JSP, soap as well as pure web architecture. It uses Common Object Request Broker Architecture (CORBA) which enables it to understand multiple computer languages allowing it to support multiple software platforms (fig7).

How is teamcenter integrated with other systems

Figure 8 specific narrow sense architecture showing Teamcenters integration capabilities.

This can best be seen through its narrow sense architecture it is comprised of four layers (fig 8). The application system layer provides software integration and encapsulation functions for Computer-aided technologies (CAX), data interface for IT systems and office software. The Teamcenter application has application tools integration (ATI), file management (FM), basic condition management (BCM), product structure management (PSM), configuration management (CM) and work flow management. The Teamcenter basic framework has foundation service and digital process logic. The software and hardware layer provide system services such as data bases and operating systems.

It is not unusual for Teamcenter to be integrated with ERP systems table one shows how both systems compliment each other. PLM has relevance for business units directly involved in design, development, sales, finance or accounting this is where ERP integration comes in. SAP is well known for their tools in the areas of Manufacturing Execution Systems (MES), Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP), Supply Customer Relations Management (CRM) and supply chain management (SCM). With Many companies using SAP to allow them to manage these core processes efficiently. The benefit of SAP is it handles large number of transactions, high volumes of data, and the availability of essential performance data allowing companies to make rapid decision-making in regards to key management factors such as financial budgets. Teamcenter is an open platform allows the integration of business-critical ERP, MES, CRM and SCM solutions from other suppliers which has partly contributed to its success. Such a application is Teamcenter Gateway for SAP (T4S) which allows integration.

Advantage of Teamcenter

Teamcenter provides tools that give targeted support for manufacturing processes, the design of the products and ensure the competitiveness of the company by allowing the intelligent reuse of data. Assisting companies gain a long-term competitive advantage by helping them achieve the best results. This is done through improving the efficiency of processes and tools which have been adapted to provide the best possible support for the tasks in question. EG innovative products. This has resulted in Teamcenter being one of the world’s leading PLM systems which has numerous global installations in a wide range of industries.

Alternatives to Teamcenter

Table 3 PLM vendors for discrete industry solutions





Dassault Systemes

ENVOIA MatrixOne

Very flexible applications

Leads on its PDM functionality such as product data vaulting, item classification and BOM structure management. However it loses out on a lack of integration between its systems such as simulia.


IFS Applications

Specialised processes for engineer to order manufacturing environments

It has many specialised engineering features such as engineer to order manufacturing and engineering register that locks documents. It also has ERP financial integrations.



Wide database of Process based manufacturers

Differentiated PLM functionality with a deep support of core PDM requirements such as material specification and material sourcing. It weakness is a lack of technology partnerships to extend its reach to other market segments.


Agile PLM

Extensive ERP knowledge applications and integration similar to arch-rival SAP

Leads other vendors in terms of support of PDM requirements through a configurable data model, work speed and security based collaboration activities.



Supports all PDM functionality

Supports all aspects PDM for discrete based manufacturing and covers select areas extended PLM processes. It losses out on functionality when compared to more mature PLM leaders. its target market is product engineers.



Extensive ERP knowledge applications and integration similar to arch-rival Oracle

Supports extended PLM processes such as ideation, portfolio / project management functionality and material sourcing through levels of ERP integration. This varies with client, best for clients who extensively use SAP in their system



Wide range of functionality, software integration and software solutions. Dominates the market

Offers advanced support for core PLM requirements such as an integrated bill of materials (BOM), bill of process data and embedded visualisation. The Key differentiator is its PLM strategy of shared and common components, software and into a unified architecture.

There are many different PLM vendors table 3 shows all the dominant vendors and their applications and what approaches they use, which tends to vary with what the client needs from PLM. Teamcenter is the leader in PLM software because it offers the largest integration capabilities software solutions and functionality. It is closely followed by Dassault systemes (Wildeman 2008).

Figure 9 PLM vendor market positions

Figure 9 shows PLM application positions in regards to strategy, current offering and market leaders the data is taken from Wildeman 2008.

What are other companies and industries doing for Teamcenter

The majority of aerospace and defence industry companies use Siemens teamcenter for their PLM. In the last decade there has been an increase in the complexity of engines, satellites, weaponry, aircraft and other defence systems. To the point where some designs consist of millions of parts. This level of complexity created design and manufacturing challenges. Aswell an increase in pressure to aggressively reduce production and support costs. This was done by synchronizing the activities and workflows of complex products. This produced software that could innovate; and develop a secure, controlled and synchronized environment across the lifecyle and the total value chain such as Teamcenter. Teamcenter acts as a virtual enterprise that can consist of globally distributed design teams and operating sites. These virtual enterprises require collaboration (e-commerce) between global partners and their suppliers to accelerate innovation (B2B), reduce time-to-market and optimize resources. This give companies using this software a competitive edge transforming them into digital manufacturing environments. You cannot be a leader in this industry without using this software.

The future for Teamcenter

The most current version of Teamcenter is Teamcenter 8 which was released in 2009. Teamcenter is currently a market leader in PLM however current competitors are improving their products and integrating them with ERP, examples of such vendors are SAP and Oracle. In order to maintain its leadership position Teamcenter must improve application integration and application inefficiencies such as linking product data from CAD and CAM designs. An example of software inefficiency is its failure to link product lines, Normally before data is added to Teamcenter it needs to be sorted appropriately in order to fit the proper reporting structures to the system. Data links are not automatically established between line and data Teamcenters failure to link product lines limits it scope. An example of integration inefficiency is teamcenter integration problems which occur in B2B collaborations between manufacturers and suppliers. These integration problems can only be solved through the reconfiguration of machine or product changes by individuals with a large amount of user knowledge. Third parties and companies need to be trained properly with this system. If certain individuals are not properly trained this can slow down the PLM process as design formats between parties need to be agreed before the final design is incorporated into Teamcenter. This occurs typically in lines that use collaborations between external designers. Additionally reliance on human judgement when it comes to the reconfiguration process in which CAD/ CAM data needs to be analysed as a newly designed systems need to be reconfigured to properly support products. Can be problematic as mistakes can be made that result in increases in product manufacturing. Teamcenter must increase software integration and line design inefficiencies in order to stay a leader. Additionally it would be beneficial if Teamcenter could be expanded more into different markets such as biotechnology drug development. (Raza et al 2010)


Teamcenters further integration in the BAE system business will be beneficial for has for BAE as it will help them meet their business strategy & keep a competitive edge however the system will only be as effective as the people who use it. As with most e business solutions it is important that all members who use this system whether they are internal or external are trained properly. It is likely that as technology improves so will PLM solutions and they will usher new product innovations within the industries they are used in. It is my own opinion that PLM can have a very big impact on other sectors such as drug discovery in pharmaceuticals.


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