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GKN Seeks Simplification

Changes by the British component company include cutting around 5% of its workforce.

The trend towards simplification among aviation OEMs has continued with the confirmation of a major restructuring at GKN Aerospace.

The British manufacturer follows Rolls-Royce, French group Safran and United Technologies in announcing a rationalization of its business units--with GKN arguably going further than all the above.

In its new structure GKN will consolidate its four divisions--aerostructures, engines, special technologies and aftermarket--into a single integrated business, cutting around 1,000 management and support roles, or about 5% of its workforce, in the process.

“This is a fundamental transformation of the business and it is the right move for the long-term as we move into a more coherent business structure,” said Hans Büthker, chief executive officer of GKN Aerospace.

The reorganization will occur over the next two years as GKN tries to benefit from synergies between its businesses and eliminate overlapping support functions. 

“We will be better able to standardize our processes and internal systems, and therefore drive up operational performance,” added Büthker.

GKN Aerospace reported a statutory loss of £44 million on revenue of £2.5 billion for 2018.

Following its takeover by private equity firm Melrose, the company was accused of neglecting its British manufacturing base with a plan to close a Birmingham, UK manufacturing plant.

It is unclear where the latest job cuts will fall--GKN Aerospace has 50 manufacturing sites across 15 countries--but concerns about UK jobs and the impact of Brexit were somewhat allayed earlier this year when GKN announced plans for a new £32 million technology centre in Bristol to support future Airbus wing manufacturing.

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