Lufthansa Technik AG say it is significantly increasing its efforts in the area of product, service and technological developments by starting an innovation boost program. The investment in this area is to be quadrupled, from 50 million Euros over the past five years, to 200 million Euros over the next four years. Both, Lufthansa Technik’s conventional maintenance, repair and overhaul business, the company’s VIP and Executive Jet business will also benefit from this new approach.
“The development of product and service innovations is the key to open up new markets and to win new customers. The adoption of new materials and technologies offers great opportunities to further
reduce costs for our services, making them even more reliable and customized, hence more attractive for our customers”, said Walter Heerdt, senior VP Marketing and Sales, at Lufthansa Technik.
“We have made the experience that sometimes the market just doesn’t offer products to the liking of our customers or their delivery takes such long that it negatively influences the re-delivery of the
aircraft. With our approach, we will do our utmost to fill the gap between expectations and products presently available. With the enhanced, innovative products and ideas we are opening new opportunities for designers and engineers to create a cabin to the liking of the owners.”
Along with the financial investment, Lufthansa Technik has changed its organization to create an optimal base for its innovation activities. To strengthen innovation management, the department – Corporate Innovation Management and Product Development – has been set up. Under the leadership of Dr. Helge Sachs this department will promote, coordinate and control company-wide technology and product development projects and will be responsible for the increased central innovation budget. Additionally, the department will be responsible for the creation of standards and processes for innovation management and for the further development of the corporate innovation and technology roadmap.
Lufthansa Technik has also reorganized its activities in the development and production of cabin elements by bundling all of them into a new Product Division for Original Equipment Innovation. This step has created an organizational foundation for expanding the company’s position as a manufacturing operation.
The head of this new product division is Andrew Muirhead, one of the company’s most experienced innovation managers. Muirhead previously headed the Innovation Business Unit at Lufthansa Technik. He is leading a team of over 80 interdisciplinary employees – with more to come – as the consolidation process takes shape.
“We’ve set some very ambitious goals for the years ahead,” said Muirhead. “The aircraft cabin is one of the most significant factors in customer perception and product differentiation. The expectations are rising and innovation cycles are becoming shorter and shorter. That offers us a significant opportunity, because we understand the possibilities for implementing and integrating modern technology and systems into cabins and aircraft better than nearly any other company. With our own workshops and a worldwide network of partners, we have the potential to turn ideas into reality faster than others do. All of the company’s know-how in airline installations, VIP completion, flight operations and maintenance is utilized here in this new organization.”
All products offered by Lufthansa Technik as an original equipment manufacturer (OEM) will be developed, planned, manufactured and sold from the new product division. Innovative systems and products – such as nice®, niceview[TM], GuideU or the Patient Transport Unit (PTU) – have already been successfully introduced to the market, and others will follow as part of the planned expansion. By bundling all of Lufthansa Technik’s OEM products, the company will be able to efficiently and cost-effectively manage the know-how, development and planning processes, as well as the sales and customer support processes jointly.