VisibleThread – Language Analysis Platform

Case Study: How AIRBUS use VisibleThread in their proposal process

Is improving quality, efficiency, teamwork and making a substantial cost savings per bid important to you and your team? In this case study with AIRBUS, André Zobolski, Head of Commercial & Contracts for Space Systems, discusses how VisibleThread is used among the Program Mgmt., Commercial Contracts, Legal, Engineering, Bid & Quality Teams
3 min read

Aoife Keane

Customer Marketing Specialist

About AIRBUS

AIRBUS is the European leader in the Defense and Space sector, with a team of 33,000 employees worldwide. Their diverse product portfolio ranges from the aircrafts to cyberspace. They enable their customers to solve complex challenges with the solutions they offer. In 2021, AIRBUS saw €52.1 Billion in Revenue and had an order intake of €13.7 billion.

Project Overview

AIRBUS underwent a Digital Transformation Program. The goal of this program was to improve quality, efficiency, and teamwork company wide. André’s focus was on optimizing their proposal and contract review process. This is a costly and time-consuming process that can be prone to error. With multiple stakeholders involved this can impact compliance and affect the likelihood of winning new business.

Challenges

André highlighted two challenges AIRBUS faced in their organization before adopting VT as their quality improvement platform.

1. Customer & Portfolio Mix

AIRBUS have a diverse product portfolio of platforms, systems, and services. Every year AIRBUS completes between 1,500 and 2,000 proposals, ranging from 20 to 3,000+ pages. These complex proposals are worked across multiple teams of subject matter experts that bring a different perspective and context to the response. As a result, consistency and a single tone of voice can become an issue at this scale.

2. Internal Organizational Complexity & Security Requirements

AIRBUS has a large portion of its business in the defense market on government contracts. They have several IT infrastructures and firewalls to meet national projects security requirements and restrictions. As a result of this, AIRBUS would require a solution that can run on-premise. An on-premise solution would allow them to run across multiple servers for each national and international organization.

The Solution

André began their Digital Transformation Program by rolling out VT Docs and VT Writer to a group of 120
team members. The focus was on improving their existing processes. Their bid and proposal writing process is completed by diverse teams. André involved members from programs, procurement, engineering, bid managers, commercial contracts, legal, and quality teams to test the new solutions. 

André worked with the VT Customer Success team to support onboarding to ensure the adoption of these
new solutions was a success. They helped customize their setup through webinars and workshops. This collaboration and open communication played a key role in the adoption of the software. It allowed for the discovery of many more use cases from different user groups.

Using VT Docs, the team at AIRBUS began shredding RFPs to generate compliance matrices and assigning responsibilities to teams. This reduced time significantly compared to their previous manual process. This also helped remove errors and issues with risk and compliance. VT Docs enabled the AIRBUS team to build custom dictionaries. This improved the quality of proposals. As a result, helping them quickly identify particular intellectual property e.g., data rights assertions and security terms.

By using VT Writer, the solution enabled them to save both time and money by supporting them with the proofreading process in-house. The AIRBUS team consisted of primarily non-native English speakers. Prior to VT Writer, this process was always sourced externally.

The Impact

3 months into the rollout André completed a business case analysis. He surveyed his team members and assessed the overall business value of introducing VisibleThread.

Business Value: 

André noted that during the RFP evaluation & shredding process, to analyze the customer requirements they estimate they can save 2 work weeks. In addition, within the proposal space, the bid core team can save between 2 – 4 hours per week easily. Overall, they saw an average efficiency gain of 4 hours per user per month across the 120 team members who used VisibleThread.

AIRBUS now saves between $50k-100k per bid in the final proofreading stage of proposal responses. Prior to VisibleThread, AIRBUS outsourced this sequential step due to requiring abbreviations and grammar to be reviewed. This was necessary as many team members are non-native English speakers.

Employee Feedback:

They found it very intuitive and easy to work with. The team noted an immediate efficiency gain for specific tasks due to the automation of previously manual tasks. They also explained that teamwork improved in the bid process. They could now shred RFPs / large documents and structure them in a clear way to dispatch work to the relevant team members.

Conclusion

Having proven the business value of VisibleThread against its Digital Transformation goals, AIRBUS signed a 3-year term with VisibleThread with the aim of expanding their user base to 250+ licenses. This success of this project has shown bid teams within other areas of the organization as well as higher management the value and worthwhile investment in the software