Workplace transformation: before and after COVID-19
As we come to the close of January 2021, Business Chief EMEA reflects on the workplace environment prior to the impact of COVID-19 back in March 2020, and looks forward to the emerging trends in 2021 and how the aerospace industry has evolved due to COVID-19.
Honeywell and the workplace environment prior to the outbreak of COVID-19
“Prior to COVID-19, our local support team had a strong physical presence at customers’ sites along with frequent leadership visits at our key customers’ location,” began Elie Khatami, Customer Support VP, EMEAI, Honeywell Aerospace. “However, aligned with the current situation, we have adapted to a virtual presence but our focus on customer satisfaction remains the same. In fact, our focus has increased even more because we believe during these unprecedented times our customers need us more than ever.”
One of the key highlights for Honeywell Aerospace prior to the outbreak of COVID-19 included the company’s Annual Operator Conference. “While we can’t wait to see our customers again at our conference, until then we will continue to share our product improvements, advancements and updates via webinars/podcasts. Lastly, we used to organise our Technical Coordination Meetings, product training and others at our site which is now virtual,” adds Khatami.
Being a technology leader in the aerospace industry, Khatami explains that Honeywell Aerospace offers a diverse product and services portfolio covering engines and power systems, wheels and brakes, avionics, and electrical and mechanical components, to help make flying safer and smarter. When it comes to the company’s technology focuses and strategies prior to the outbreak of COVID-19, Khatami explains that “Honeywell Aerospace is committed to our long-term goal of becoming one of the world’s leading software industrial companies by integrating products and services through connected technologies.”
Finally three key trends that Khatami experienced prior to COVID-19 included:
1. Connected offerings for flight operations, flight efficiency and connected maintenance from a single user interface driving sustainability, optimising operations, and reducing costs with advanced analytics.
2. Cost savings via applications such as Honeywell Forge which has been implemented globally across a diverse range of airlines and aircraft, providing an immediate impact.
3. Improved customer experience by identifying growth opportunities and understanding the needs of customers in order to offer the best solutions.
Honeywell and the workplace environment’s transformation following the outbreak of COVID-19
In comparison to the industry prior to COVID-19, Khatami explains that “the pandemic had an overwhelming effect across all industries, and we are prepared to adapt to changes and drive our strategy as situations demand.”
During the ongoing pandemic, Honeywell Aerospace has had to reduce face-to-face interaction with its customers, “however we are making sure that we are always available for our customers for whatever they need, when they need and where they need,” adds Khatami. “We have increased customer touch points by means of virtual platforms and our technical support engineers are always on standby to remotely connect and troubleshoot any technical issue.”
Listening to its customers, Honeywell Aerospace has also implemented changes to the way customers can interact with the company with the introduction of its new Hub, which is manned 24/7.
“Some of the employees in this Hub are highly experienced with more than 20 years of experience. We have housed them together in a single operations center at least until we are allowed to return to site but till then it includes our Technical Field Service Engineers, AOG fulfilment team, Honeywell Connected team and Technical Pilots. This will allow much faster collaboration internally to resolve customer issues quicker,” says Khatami.
In addition to these measures taken, Honeywell Aerospace took actions to reduce multiple contact numbers down to one. “We are also working on a ‘single’ case that will be used for all customer issues negating the need for a customer to have multiple interactions with different Honeywell teams. We will also continue our focus towards digitisation of order management via machine-to-machine with fewer manual intervention to increase efficiency and speed. Our much improved, easy to navigate and award-winning portal is an example of enhanced customer experience which we will continue to improve,”adds Khatami.
Reflecting on what it believes to be core technology focuses and strategies now - compared to prior to COVID-19 - Khatami comments that “core technology focus and strategies remain in place, which is being further strengthened by bringing new technologies from our safety and hygiene side of the business.”
With speed to market being of the essence, Honeywell introduced its Honeywell UV Treatment System shortly after the pandemic set in. Airlines who have already deployed the UV Treatment System include JetBlue, Azul Airlines and Qatar Airways. “In clinical studies, ultraviolet light has been found to be capable of significantly reducing certain viruses and bacteria when properly applied at prescribed levels. The Honeywell UV Treatment System can treat an aircraft cabin in less than 10 minutes for just a few dollars per flight for midsize to large airline fleets.”
Finally three key trends that Khatami seeing in the industry following the outbreak of COVID-19 include:
1. Online tools which are becoming the norm, such as Honeywell Aerospace’s GoDirect Trade platform, “a one-stop online trading portal for new and used Aerospace products.”
2. Aircraft Hygiene products such as Honeywell Aerospace’s UV Treatment Systems that are both efficient and cost effective.
3. Growing demand for Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) which in response Honeywell Aerospace has launched an array of PPE that not only protects airports and airline workers, but airline passengers too. “Currently, we offer two versions of our Honeywell Safety Packs for air travel: one for passengers and one for the flight crew. To address growing demand for masks during the outbreak of Covid-19, we quickly ramped up production to make millions of the N95 masks in both the United States and India. Our facilities in Smithfield, Rhode Island and Phoenix in the US together produce more than 20 million N95 disposable masks monthly to combat COVID-19 in the US.”