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Airbus presents new organisation to its European Works Council


Airbus presented its new organisation to its European Works Council (ECA) and to the French Comité d’Entreprise. This new, simplified and streamlined organisation aims at better integrating and rationalising the company on a trans-national basis, with clearer interfaces and strong transversal processes. This should make it more efficient and productive, and therefore better able to face the challenges ahead. This organisation gives clear priority to operational activities and programmes It follows the announcement on Power 8 made on 28th February 2007, and will boost its implementation.

In order to fully integrate the functions at Airbus, trans-national organisations are being implemented for industrial Operations, Programmes and Procurement. They will also support the “extended enterprise” which is to include key partners and suppliers. The role of Engineering, led by Patrick Gavin, is to concentrate on the design offices, aircraft integration and architecture, research and technology, the flight test centre and related activities, as well as all activities related to Airworthiness. Their work will be managed in a trans-national fashion, with reinforced technical authority and the strengthening of the “aircraft architect” role.

Also, as announced in February, the Head of “Operations” Gerald Weber will oversee four Centres of Excellence (CoE), which are now fully trans-national and are organised around complete aircraft elements, rather than on a national basis. The CoEs cover Fuselage and Cabin headed by Rüdiger Fuchs, Wing and Pylon Brian Fleet, Aft Fuselage and Empennage Manuel Hita-Romero and Aerostructures Bertrand George. The CoE “Aerostructures” will oversee the sites of Nordenham, Varel, Laupheim, Nantes, Meaulte and St Nazaire (Ville). “Fuselage” will be in charge of parts of Hamburg, Toulouse, Bremen, as well as St Nazaire (Gron) and Buxtehude. The CoE “Wing & Pylon” has responsibility over Filton, Broughton, St Eloi and part of Bremen, while the CoE “Aft fuselage and Empennage” works with Hamburg, Stade, Getafe, Puerto Real and Illescas.

The Head of Operations is assisted by Bertrand George as Deputy who is also in charge of all industrial processes. This includes the selection of the best tools, methods and practices to be implemented in a harmonised way throughout the Centres of Excellence, thereby generating synergies that increase efficiency and reduce costs.

“Programmes”, lead by Tom Williams is the global point of contact with the customers for all non-commercial aspects. This includes the responsibility over the Final Assembly Lines (FALs) including Cabin Installation, which is where the customer requests are built in. Cabin definition by the customers also comes under the “Programmes” responsibility, as well as the overall programme management processes, which are being reinforced. In this context “Programmes” is to get firm commitments from the CoEs about their deliverables with the authority to intervene, as needed.

The new structure also foresees the integration into one single organisation of some key functions such as Finance and Human Resources. National obligations will however continue to be met through the “national representatives” who will head the four national companies legally required to manage social relations, tax obligations, amongst other national issues, though they will have no operational role.

Procurement will also be organised trans-nationally, around “commodities”, with goods being purchased from one place for the whole company rather than on a national basis. This is in line with Airbus’ objective to reduce the number of “1st Tier” suppliers, and will hence allow to better manage and control the overall supply chain.

“The objective is to make Airbus a real ’architect and integrator’ in airliner development, manufacturing and support,” said Airbus President and Chief Executive Officer Louis Gallois. “All functions are to work trans-nationally in a single integrated company. Also, our relationship with suppliers should evolve into a true partnership, in order to build together a real extended enterprise, hereby gaining further synergies. I am convinced that this new streamlined organisation will generate the dynamism, and the efficiency and productivity gains our teams need to make Airbus a truly leading company able to satisfy best its customers”, he added.

After all required social processes have been fulfilled and final details have been worked out, the new organisation should be ready for implementation by early September this year. The simplification of the organisation should also contribute to the implementation of the Power 8 programme


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