Lufthansa Technik has announced that it is quadrupling its investment in product, service and technological development through an innovation boost programme that will see expenditure rise from €50 million over the past five years, to €200 million over the next four years. Lufthansa Technik’s conventional MRO business, and its 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 customised, hence more attractive for our customers”, said Walter Heerdt, SVP of 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,” Heerdt added.
Along with the financial investment, Lufthansa Technik has changed its organisation to create an optimal base for its innovation activities. To strengthen innovation management, the Corporate Innovation Management and Product Development department 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 reorganised 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 organisational 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 organisation.”