Aerospace Companies Struggle To Cut Costs, Improve

 - July 12, 2012, 10:20 AM

New research from consultancy firm Accenture has found that manufacturers of commercial aircraft need to improve their performance in three key areas. The research, based on interviews with aerospace manufacturing and airline executives, revealed that 91 percent of manufacturers said they need to further reduce costs to provide these services; 78 percent said they need to increase customer satisfaction; and 69 percent cited a need for improved service quality.

In addition, a new Accenture report, titled Aerospace–Aircraft in-Service Support Survey: a Drive for the Full-Service Offering–investigates the growing movement toward “total fleet management,” in which airlines designate one or several manufacturers to maintain their entire active fleets. The study also found significant concerns related to skills management. When asked to rank the main challenges they face, two thirds of manufacturers cited possessing the “right skills where and when needed” as their top choice. Half of respondents chose “ensuring on-going training to meet customer demand and technology requirements,” while 47 percent complained of a skills shortage.

The research revealed a disconnect between manufacturers and airlines in their definitions of best-in-class, aircraft in-service offerings. For example, airlines that indicated their desire to move to total fleet support models expect those services to cover their entire product lines, new and old. By contrast, only half of manufacturers intend to provide such wide-ranging coverage.

“The race to become an end-to-end, in-service support provider has begun and it’s clear manufacturers have a long way to go to make this happen,” said Damien Lasou, managing director of Accenture’s Aerospace and Defense practice.