Airbus’ failure to share knowledge and
collaborate among its multinational companies in recent years will cost the
aircraft maker a staggering euro 4.8 billion ($7 billion) over the next
four years according to a new report from Basex.Such failures stem from many sources, including fragmentation across
national boundaries, a lack of managerial insight, an inability to listen
to its customers, and an unwillingness to invest in the latest software.
If Airbus is ever to regain financial stability, it must focus on
building a knowledge-sharing infrastructure that supports enterprise-wide
collaboration, rather than try to balance competing European interests,
according to the report, “Airbus Hits Turbulence: How Knowledge Sharing
Failures Cost Airbus Euro 4.8 Billion.”
Airbus, which recently delivered the first A380 superjumbo to Singapore
Airlines, has faced repeated delays due to software and IT issues as well
as cost overruns in the project, which is now two years behind schedule and
50 percent over budget.
Far from being a unified company, Airbus’ management and production
teams span many European companies. The company is first now taking steps
to unify these groups but the Basex report asks whether it is a question of
too little, too late.
“Managers need to accept that the knowledge economy is moving at a
faster pace than we realize,” said Jonathan B. Spira, chief analyst at
Basex and a principal author of the report. “The Airbus case is the first
to put a hard figure on knowledge mismanagement and knowledge sharing