BAE Systems – one of the leading aerospace, defence, and security companies in the world – has launched a major IT transformation project in its UK Military Air & Information (MAI) division and selected software solution provider AEB as its partner to standardise and optimise global trade management systems.

In 2012, the MAI division of BAE Systems at the Warton and Samlesbury sites in Lancashire, United Kingdom, kicked-off a major project to enhance its existing global trade management system and thus the efficiency of its export controls compliance. The MAI’s export operation includes shipping of complete aircraft, spare parts, repair parts, and associated technology, and the size, scope, and complexity of the business required the launch of a transformation project – Project Saturn – with a new IT system at its core.

BAE Systems selected solution provider AEB to help drive forward BAE Systems’ objective of implementing a best in class export controls compliance programme, including US ITAR and UK controls. Building on a successful, 10-year business partnership, BAE Systems engaged AEB to enhance its export controls IT systems by implementing the latest functionalities from AEB’s ASSIST4 Compliance & Risk Management software suite.

The project is structured into three discrete phases, and the first two stages have been successfully completed. About 60 users across the BAE Systems sites in Warton, Samlesbury, and some Royal Air Force bases are already working with AEB’s software solutions. The third phase is due to go live in 2017 and will include US ITAR export control functionalities.

Tony Croughan, MAI’s Head of Programme – Business Transformation, said: "When managing controlled material, we have a responsibility to our customers, suppliers, and regulators. Compliance with export control requirements is of the utmost importance for us at BAE Systems. Processes are often subject to frequently changing legislation, and with this transformation project, we are enhancing our global trade management operations through maximising the levels of standardisation and efficient deployment of modern toolsets. Following MAI’s COTS ("commercial off the shelf") strategy, this also involves the elimination of individually tailored workflows and customised IT applications as far as possible to reach the highest levels of process optimisation and process automation."

For deployment in MAI, BAE Systems selected AEB’s products ASSIST4 UK and US ITAR Licence Management, ASSIST4 UK and US Technology Transfers, and ASSIST4 UK Customs NES from the ASSIST4 Compliance & Risk Management suite. The new products complement the AEB solutions that already successfully support the BAE Systems MAI business: ASSIST4 Despatch, ASSIST4 Export Documentation, ASSIST4 Freight Cost Management, and ASSIST4 Carrier Integration.

Tony Croughan explains: "Selecting the right partners for major modernisation projects like Project Saturn is essential and many standard requirements must be met. There were many aspects that made it clear for us that AEB was the right choice going forward, such as mature integration capabilities with our ERP systems and other information management toolsets, and the readiness to develop new standard IT modules in line with emerging requirements. And of course it is of continued benefit for us to work with solution experts who are familiar with the BAE Systems business and who have integrated well into our in-house project teams."

AEB’s solutions support BAE Systems’ goals to efficiently manage export controls of current MAI volumes and cater for future growth at the same time; to ensure compliance with the latest trade control obligations, including those under the ongoing US Export Control Reform (ECR); and to minimise compliance risk across the MAI division.

Benefits of the AEB solutions include faster processes, more efficient workflows, better data accuracy, and improved accessibility through enhanced web services. BAE Systems estimates a return on investment within 5 years of the purchase order date, and is currently discussing options to implement further AEB functionality to support efficient US EAR compliance.