In order to cope with a downturn in sales, aeronautical giant Airbus Helicopters is undergoing a major digital transformation. Online tech magazine L’Usine digitale gave an overview of the “digital transition” the company is launching…
The results reported last week by Airbus Helicopters, the world’s leading civil helicopter manufacturer, were unequivocal: the group’s sales are the lowest they’ve been in eight years.
In a difficult market, with customer orders currently suffering from the effect of falling oil prices, Airbus is planning a major structural change, with a distinctly digitally-oriented strategic focus. Whilst the details are being kept secret for the moment, one thing is certain:
“The digital strategy we’ll be unveiling in a few months will be one of the company’s key elements”
CEO Guillaume Faury told l’Usine digitale.
E-services to “transform customer relationships”
Services currently account for 42% of Airbus Helicopters’ revenue, and this figure is set to rise further. Profit for this area of business often outstrips that of helicopter sales, with manufacturers often being forced to cut profit margins in order to boost orders.
E-services are sure to be central to Airbus Helicopters’ strategic transition:
“They will completely change our relationship with our clients in terms of exchanging information, spare parts and technical data”
explains Faury. The company plans to set up a permanent web connection with all its clients and launch a digital after-sales service to facilitate aircraft maintenance.
Predictive maintenance: a powerful performance driver
Airbus Helicopters’ boss also announced another digital project that will play a key role in its new strategy: predictive maintenance. It plans to manage the helicopters’ technical data in such a way as to
“anticipate orders for spare parts, improve the helicopters’ performance, reduce fuel consumption and ultimately optimise availability,”
says Dominique Maudet, Executive Sales Director for Services at Airbus Helicopters.
Adapting to new clients via digital technology
“Our clients have changed; we should change the way we operate too,”
say Airbus Helicopters: the new digital strategy will affect the whole company organisation. R&D, Marketing and Communication in particular will have to keep pace with the changing clientele.
Airbus Helicopters officially unveiled its digital plans just after Safran announced it had created a dedicated Big Data entity – further proof that the aeronautical industry is undergoing a major digital transformation.
Photo credit : Christian – Airbus cockpit (Flickr.com / Licence CC BY-ND 2.0)