Fortune Favors the Brave

June 13, 2024

Anyone who has worked in the aerospace sector for as long as I have will tell you that it is a relentless cycle of adversity and triumph; with countless highs, lows and everything in between. Looking back upon the past thirty years, I can feel proud of not only our own company's achievements and adaptations but the industry as a whole. It has not been easy, yet we are still here as strong as ever. One thing I’ve learned throughout my career has been that those who confront the tough times and make brave but intelligent business decisions are often those who can maintain a steady flight through the unexpected turbulence this industry likes to throw our way. Granted, having Lady Luck in your corner occasionally, also helps.

Speaking of this unexpected turbulence, the COVID-19 pandemic certainly saw the fasten seatbelts sign come on for many of us. This was true for our company as much as anyone else, not least because we had commissioned a new facility and announced two new product solutions just before the pandemic brought the industry to a standstill. However, as COVID struck, my country’s president called for manufacturers to ‘be brave’ and trust that the government would provide support for innovation and advancement of the industry, giving us that extra inspiration to continue with our plans.

Fueled by the president’s words, we pressed on with the construction of our new facility and moved forward with the new product solutions. We also followed other companies in choosing to overstock materials, enabling us to respond more swiftly upon the industry’s recovery. Our thinking was to put customer satisfaction and business retention above all else, taking a hit on cash flow as a necessary concession.

Meanwhile, staffing was a major issue during the pandemic, not just in aerospace but in every sector, with redundancies and furloughs putting a strain on workers and their families across the globe. While cutting headcount may have been the easy thing to do, for many companies it has proven to be a short-term solution that has led to a longer-term problem in recruitment and staff shortages in the industry. It’s not unreasonable to assume that those companies which boldly chose to retain their staff during the slowdown of operations are now facing fewer challenges in this department.

The benefits of making bold choices such as overstocking and retaining staff are now also supported by our government, which has recently awarded funding to develop new product solutions and invest in advanced manufacturing technologies. Such grants recognize the ambitions of manufacturers to support innovation and accelerate the transformation of key industry sectors while proving the president’s words were more than just empty rhetoric.

With the pandemic now behind us, the future looks much brighter for most of us. As far as JPB Système 2024 will see us begin to transition to our new headquarters and production facility. Built on an advanced Industry 4.0-enabled platform, the new building embodies our vision for the future and supports our drive to innovate and diversify for years to come. This success, along with our 60% growth and 60 new hires since 2019, would not have been possible without taking calculated risks and making the occasional bold business decision.

There is no one-size-fits-all answer for business disruptions; every problem will require careful thought and evaluation before proceeding with a solution. However, if recent experiences are anything to go by, there is still truth in the old saying that fortune favors the brave.

About the Author

Damien Marc

Damien Marc is President of JPB Système a leading manufacturer of efficiency-enhancing technology solutions for aerospace, aeronautic and other industries, and supplier to the likes of Safran, Pratt & Whitney, GE and Rolls-Royce.