Action Stations: Aerospace & Defence Masterplan implementation imminent


South Africa’s Aerospace & Defence (A&D) Masterplan is moving forward, with the Department of Public Enterprises issuing a request for proposals (RFP) for the coordination and reporting on the implementation of the Masterplan.

The Minister of Public Enterprises has been tasked by Cabinet to oversee the implementation of the A&D Masterplan. The critical vision of the A&D Masterplan is to re-purpose the aerospace and defence industry to improve South African lives for generations to come.

This means that the A&D Masterplan could be a mechanism to free the industry of some shackles. Freedom can be achieved when one overcomes fear. Franklin D Roosevelt famously stated that “The only thing we have to fear is fear itself – nameless, unreasoning, unjustified terror which paralyzes needed efforts to convert retreat into advance”. This was part of a speech made at the peak of the Great Depression, when unemployment was at over 25% in the US. A brave speech used to kick off his primary task of putting people to work. Roosevelt stated “This is no unsolvable problem if we face it wisely and courageously.” Roosevelt was confident because he knew that in order to overcome fear one must identify the sources of the fear.  He had done his planning and identified the sources of fear.

In South Africa we do like a plan, not so much implement. It does seem like the powers that be have decided to take planning to implementation.

For this writer, the boldest statement in the A&D Masterplan is the following made in the introduction. “A game changing vision, encompassing a vision of an Entrepreneurial State and focussed collaborative action to move forward into growth, is supported.”

The A&D Masterplan has done sterling work in analysing the A&D industry environment and providing plans that address the sources of the fear. These sources of fear are captured in the four pillars of action in the A&D Masterplan.

Future industry repurposing will be achieved through the deployment of the four pillars to tackle the sector fears:

  1. An increase in market access;
  2. Localisation;
  3. Increase in industry competitiveness; and
  4. Human capital development and inclusion

It is time for industry role players to re-familiarise themselves with the contents of the detailed Masterplan tables. Each of the pillars is presented with goals, tasks, outcomes, and responsibilities.

According to the A&D Masterplan, the platform for the Masterplan implementation process is the Executive Oversight Committee (EOC) which focuses on unblocking, growth and performance measurement pertaining to implementation of the Masterplan strategies. The EOC also provides the leadership needed to take the Masterplan forward into the future as actions are implemented and new decisions are made.

I would suggest that the EOC roleplayers be carefully considered. The EOC needs to be populated with a majority entrepreneurial team that understands the domains of merging opportunity identification with opportunity exploitation. With an entrepreneurial team, the current key objectives would not be stretch goals. My stretch goal would be to achieve $5 billion annual sales within 5 years, or exceed Turkey’s A&D market share within 5 years.

The A&D Masterplan currently provides more details in the Aerospace domain. The true expansion in the A&D segment is in the Defence and related industry. The Task Teams need to include a higher element of SA Defence Industry roleplayers in order to develop feasible action plans for immediate action.

The A&D Masterplan may not be perfect, but at least cabinet has taken a decision to support the Aerospace and Defence industry.

Can SADI get behind this initiative to build an environment to make future generations proud?

Let’s get this ship ready for unlocking opportunity.

Action Stations!

Written by James Kerr, Orion Consulting CC, which provides Market Entry Strategy and Bid & Proposal services to the Aerospace & Defence related industry and assists international SME mission system product suppliers to gain traction in South Africa. Kerr has assisted various companies to enter, or expand footprint in, the defence industry with air, land and naval systems. He also served as a navigator, and completed an engineering degree, while in the South African Air Force for 13 years.