Eurocopter will accelerate its SHAPE efficiency improvement program in the face of the slow recovery in the civil helicopter market following the global financial crisis, and an “increasingly challenging” competitive environment, announcing efficiency improvements and job cuts, but also new research and development spending.
Eurocopter says cutting 400 jobs in support function areas will save €200m annually, while plans to open a new integrated engineering centre at its Donauwörth, Germany, facility by 2012 will result in further efficiencies. The German Helicopter System House will integrate Eurocopter’s development, production and support of civil and military helicopters activities currently undertaken at Donauwörth and Ottobrunn. Eurocopter is also studying relocating its rotorblade factory and sales activities at La Courneuve in Paris to a new site at nearby Le Bourget Airport, subject to approval from French authorities.
Nonetheless, the world’s largest civil helicopter manufacturer has also announced plans to invest more than €1.3bn in research and development through to 2014 for new helicopter programs and an improved product support program. In addition, a further €1bn will be spent to improve the company’s competitiveness, worldwide presence and global support and services. The new spending is expected to create an additional 400 positions for engineers and technicians in France and Germany.
“Our SHAPE program is all about investing in customer solutions that will strengthen our competitive position, improving our processes, and creating a better, leaner organisation,” said Eurocopter group president and CEO Lutz Bertling. “This transformation plan is vital for Eurocopter to ensure its leadership in the helicopter marketplace.”
Eurocopter says its SHAPE program, launched last October, addresses six key areas – investing, savings, improvements, simplificatons, people and engagement, and customers.