Editorial / Summer 2015

Sustainable aviation: It’s all about innovation!

By Rolf Doerpinghaus

Okay: Every sale on which you earn more than you have already invested might be a good one. But sales, as smart as they may be, should basically be regarded as day-by-day business. Even the smartest sale is not smart enough to ensure that your company will still be in business the day after tomorrow.

Sustainable business development means much more than improving sales figures. The history of aviation is full of great names – now mostly seen in a museum. The difference between those who have disappeared from today’s market and those who succeed can be attributed quite frequently to an advantage in terms of performance, technology, and costs, or some combination of these factors.

To put it in a nutshell: Sustainability makes the difference!

In a constantly changing business environment customers love bargains, but the love even more good and innovative products and services that help them to secure and to improve their future business. In order to pass on to your customers, products and services that provide them with a competitive edge, you have to develop your own competitive, briefly speaking sustainable edge first.

The key to any competitive advantage is innovation. But innovation is as multifaceted as the world of aviation and aerospace itself. The special obstacle in aerospace is that innovations are not just a matter of new ideas, smart designs or available materials and technologies; it is the requirement of meeting complex rules and regulations, achieving certifications and meeting tough limits and deadlines. This process requires money and time and that makes innovation doubly expensive, especially when you come late to the market.

As difficult as it is to predict future market requirements there should be no doubt that future customers simply want ‘much more for less’. They will require sustainable, state of the art products and services for the best price they can get. And, most probably, they will have a choice.

Those who prepare tomorrow’s products, be it OEMs or suppliers, service providers or operators, have to consider new ways to increase quality and efficiency, to improve reliability and safety and to reduce fuel consumption, emissions and costs.

And if this weren’t enough, customers become increasingly critical. As they too want to succeed in tomorrow’s business environment, they too have to meet tomorrow’s business standards in terms of cost effectiveness, environmental qualities and last, but not least, in terms of more rigorous requirements for an improved sustainability.

Dreaming today about better products for tomorrow’s aviation and aerospace is no luxury, it’s a must!

Creative dreams, acted upon now, may be the best approach to understand how to ensure that your products and services will offer the unique selling propositions your customer will demand in the years to come.

Therefore, when it comes to future, more sustainable business, there is only one substitute for innovation: more innovation!