ALTEN has carved out a solid position on the demanding aeronautics, space, and defense market. As always, the company continues to look ahead, making sure it has the skills needed today and those that will be in demand tomorrow to continue to deliver the support its customers have come to expect.
Pierre Bonhomme, Executive Vice President ALTEN Technology France, UK, and Northern Germany and Patrick Boulongne, Director of Business Development, told ALTEN Mag more about the main pillars of the company’s strategy.
All industrial companies share one goal: do more with less. Competitiveness is a challenge across the board. These companies are expecting a higher level of engagement from their suppliers, with work packages, part of delivery outsourced on ALTEN’s premises, and, potentially, work sent to nearshore and offshore ALTEN Delivery Centers.
Part of ALTEN’s strategy to form strong partnerships with its customers is a high level of engagement: “Airbus wanted our support ramping up production to keep its commitments to its customers. Our customers are no longer just looking for good engineers to round out their teams or add capacity. They want broader engagement, and they expect the teams we assign to their projects to be self-starters. Today our customers’ challenges are our challenges.”
The capacity to hire quickly and efficiently is becoming more and more crucial, as is the capacity to train people. We also have to innovate end-to-end approaches, change our processes, and create synergies to improve our performance and the performance we bring to our customers.
Digital transformation is one of the industry’s central growth drivers. It concerns all facets of the organization: big data is being used to develop the cockpit of the future, where a single pilot backed up by an artificial intelligence copilot will fly the plane. Wi-Fi will be available on all planes. Tens of millions of sensors will be installed on each plane to support maintenance. Private planes will be Uberized. Data platforms will give rise to new services. All industry stakeholders will have to get up to speed on big data, AI, data science, cybersecurity, Agile methods, and more.
“ALTEN possesses technical know-how in our customers’ industries, plus the IT/digital technology skills to face these challenges. We are playing a central role in organizations’ digital transformation. For our customers, we are the catalyst for this transformation,” said Mr Bonhomme. “Our capacity to find innovative solutions positions us to very rapidly develop business cases and bring our customers productivity increases.”
Companies’ needs are substantial, and the shortage of specialized engineers is worldwide. At ALTEN, it is strategic for us not only to attract senior and high-potential candidates, but also to develop the talents we already have.
Cybersecurity has become a high-demand skillset, and specialists are still rare.
In the defense industry, for example, drones are creating new demand. “The ‘Europe of Defense’ is emerging,” said Mr Boulongne. “ALTEN’s European positioning makes it the ideal partner to support companies seeking multi-country solutions.”
Developing our existing talents on this specific aspect of digital technology is crucial to us being able to respond to the huge demand we are seeing. According to experts, revenue on the cybersecurity market is expected to double by 2020. The fact that it is not an employer’s market makes it even more challenging.
“Most of our customers on this market are in Europe, where we have carved out a position of leadership on a broad range of services. ALTEN also has operations in the United States and Canada and has made inroads into Asia, mainly in India, which is a very emerging market. Although the number of market players there is small, they invest heavily. The opportunities for growth in Europe and in these other markets are substantial, strategic, and very exciting.”
Pierre Bonhomme, Executive Vice President, ALTEN
“All of the aircraft manufacturers want to make more efficient planes. This means planes that use less fuel, that have a smaller environmental footprint, and that do not create as much noise pollution. So, they want more fuel-efficient, greener, quieter planes. Environmental standards are getting more stringent. Manufacturers have to comply with increasing requirements for the common good,” said Mr Bonhomme.
The global move toward sustainable development impacts the aeronautics industry in several ways. Environmental and economic interests are converging. A plane that uses less fuel is better for the planet and for business. So, the environment is strategic, especially for the aircraft engine manufacturers we support.
With substantial order backlogs, long delivery times, and huge penalties for delays, industry stakeholders are consolidating in order to reduce costs. “Today the challenge is to ramp up manufacturing and deliver with the expected level of quality,” said Mr Boulongne.
ALTEN’s customers are hungry for success stories from our projects in the automotive industry when it comes time to modernize their production tools.
All market stakeholders (Safran, Thales, UTC, etc.) are making huge investments in the supply chain. Many of them will need to modernize their production and logistics tools and change the way they work. The shift to “Factory 4.0” is the only way that these companies can keep up with demand, and digital transformation is not an option.
Innovation is crucial to industry stakeholders, with the short-term objective of improving product performance and shortening time to market. In the medium-term, the main goal is to develop future products and services.
ALTEN’s aeronautics, space, and defense business plays a central role. In 2018 the company consolidated its Innovation Division and created an in-house network of ALTEN Labs to investigate specific topics like big data, artificial intelligence, PLM, virtual reality, and UX/UI.
“ALTEN Labs drive the innovations that will shape our projects and improve our customers’ performance,” said Mr Bonhomme.
ALTEN is capable of recruiting the necessary skillsets and setting up project teams quickly and efficiently. “Given our customers’ complex processes and the fact that they are delegating more and more, our flexibility, responsiveness, and global footprint are decisive advantages,” said Mr Bonhomme.
ALTEN’s recruitment units in France and internationally constantly strive to identify the candidates whose skills best respond to our customers’ new needs. At the same time, the company’s ambitious in-house training strategy addresses fields where there is a shortage of brainpower.
As an employer, the company has cultivated a very strong brand image. ALTEN engineers are given substantial responsibility early on in their careers. They routinely move up into management positions, are given the opportunity to work toward a specific career plan, and are assigned to a wide variety of projects in different countries for different customers. Therefore, turnover is low. ALTEN also creates a “social life” within the company. So, ALTEN’s customers can count on the best profiles for their projects at all times.
A comprehensive approach
ALTEN has made substantial investments in broadening its end-to-end service lineup and in integrating digital transformation into its customers’ industrial environments. The company takes a comprehensive approach to organizations and their processes. Maintenance is one area that illustrates what the company is doing. ALTEN offers end-to-end services, from gathering aircraft status data to working with airlines on predictive maintenance and more, positioning the company to manage all aspects of maintenance on aging fleets.
The Business Development Division implements teams to interface with customers worldwide. The Technical Division ensures on-time and on-quality delivery. At ALTEN, being where the company’s customers are is a priority.