'The customer is king' may seem an obvious statement for any company trying to sell its products, but aviation industry organisations have forgotten that for too long, says Bob Johnson, president and CEO of AlliedSignal Aerospace.
What he describes as "the four walls mentality" meant that aerospace companies had "an inside-out approach" to new products. New products tended to be introduced because the technical capabilities existed to manufacture them, not because customers asked for them.
And companies such as AlliedSignal tended to have a focus based around their products or individual sites; that meant that different components of a company tended to be poor at talking to each other.
With four different AlliedSignal Aerospace businesses operating in the same market, there were times when they were tripping over themselves. The recent reorganisation means there is now more emphasis on sharing best practice.
Another bad effect of this four walls mentality, says Johnson, was that customers found themselves having to navigate their way through three or four of the company's autonomous business units to find what they needed. "We think that's something we ought to do for them."
With that in mind, single points of contact have been created for individual customers - staff who understand their particular needs.
To further simplify the organisation: "We've also taken out layers that previously existed within the four businesses."
That has obviously meant redundancies, but "I think good companies export good people. A lot of people who have left have gone on to become CEOs and the like."
This process of making the organisation leaner will mean perhaps half as many AlliedSignal Aerospace personnel attending major air shows like Paris in future, "but we will be there with a more integrated message".
Johnson is a strong believer in a previously unachievable goal for many companies, the 'paperless office'.
"We believe the future is paperless," he says firmly.
He believes that technology has improved to the point where this goal is in sight, although he accepts that strong leadership will still be required to push through such a programme.
He has similarly strong feelings on the subject of e-commerce: "Within two years, we would like to be an eBusiness model for other people in our industry," he says.
Source: Flight Daily News