SIMPLIFYING THE COMPLEX BUSINESS OF PARTS - ONE OPERATOR AT A TIME

By P&WC CUSTOMER SERVICE
Mar. 21, 2019 | | 4 min read

Shipping over 1,900 engine parts and components daily is a complex logistical process. Airtime discovered how P&WC Component Solutions makes it all work so customers get their orders when and where they’re needed.

DELIVERING PARTS AS FAST AS POSSIBLE

P&WC Component Solutions serves customers all over the world, from operators with a single aircraft to airlines with large fleets. Based in Muskegon, Michigan, the aftermarket parts distributor is supported by satellite offices in Poland and Singapore and five warehouses in different regions around the globe.

“With more than 13,000 operators and 64,000 engines in service, our customer base is incredibly diverse and the potential scenarios we must anticipate are almost endless,” says Susan Armstrong, Digital Strategy Specialist. “However, our mission is clear: we’re here to get customers whatever they need as quickly as possible. We’ve even recently chartered an airplane to make sure parts were delivered on time!”

Fulfilling that mission requires seamlessly coordinating many complex “moving parts” in both the literal and figurative sense. With 10,000 customer requests per month covering a vast array of engine models, mission types and operating environments, the amount of data being analyzed and moving through the system is massive. In the P&WC Component Solutions database alone, there are more than 45,000 fields capturing pertinent information enabling the team to make it simpler and faster for customers to receive parts where and when they need them.

For customers facing an aircraft on ground (AOG) situation, our goal is to streamline and expedite the process – from the moment they contact us to the minute the part reaches them to create a seamless customer experience.

Kari TerMolen, Customer Service Supervisor

PRE-FILLED PURCHASE ORDERS

When customers call P&WC Component Solutions to request a part, they need to send a purchase order (PO) to set the process in motion. Sometimes, however, that’s easier said than done, as Kari TerMolen, Customer Service Supervisor, explains.

“An agricultural operator might call us from the middle of a field during crop spraying season. They need a replacement part to get the aircraft back on line and resume their work. But they don’t have a computer handy to fill out and send us a PO right away, and they don’t want to wait until they’re back in their office to start the process,” she explains.

P&WC Component Solutions created a pre-filled purchase order system. Once the customer has explained the situation, an agent fills in the PO form on their behalf and emails it to them to review on their smartphone. All they have to do then is email their consent.

PROACTIVE STOCKING OF PARTS

Naturally, the closer parts are to a customer’s location, the faster they can be delivered when needed. To help optimize the available inventory at each site, P&WC Component Solutions harnesses digital analytics and data mining to optimize parts inventory and logistics to better serve the customer.

“Last year, we introduced new business intelligence tools that allow us to drill down into a vast amount of data and make it easier to identify and visualize part ordering trends,” says Susan.

The insights gained from these tools—combined with new software, automation and algorithms that predict needs by region—have enabled P&WC Component Solutions to shift to a more proactive parts stocking strategy.

Digital analytics gives us the power to analyze where parts are needed and ensure they’re in the right location at the right time. We’re using this data to anticipate what our customers need before they even tell us.

Susan Armstrong, Digital Strategy Specialist, P&WC Component Solutions

ITS ALL ABOUT THE DATA

The custom-designed business intelligence tools track a wide range of metrics, such as AOG times and on-time delivery status. By analyzing this data by engine line, region, part or customer, P&WC Component Solutions can offer more tailored support.

Kari recalls a typical example of how business intelligence is used on a daily basis to enhance service. It involved shipping some parts from the Singapore warehouse to a customer in India.

“Tracking showed us the shipment would take 10 days to arrive using the customer’s preferred shipper, which is quite a long time. We used our business intelligence tools to drill into delivery data from Singapore to India and found that it would be faster to use a different shipper,” she explains. “That allowed us to offer the customer a different option.”

TAKING A MORE DYNAMIC APPROACH

Along with leveraging the latest technology, the company is also making changes to its service-level support strategies. This includes the introduction of dynamic employee “playbooks” for AOG support personnel that give them the decision-making power to manage a range of scenarios so that they can take direct and immediate action to support the customer.

While these changes may not always be visible to customers who engage with P&WC Component Solutions’ front-line personnel, they are reaping the benefits in the form of steadily decreasing AOG times.

We’re using digital tools to simplify our team’s jobs and make information more accessible. In everything we do, our ultimate aim is to be a strategic partner for our customer.

Susan Armstrong, Digital Strategy Specialist, P&WC Component Solutions

To read more about what P&WC is doing to deliver world-class customer service aligned with operators’ needs, read our feature Needs Are Evolving: Tailored Services Bring Sweeping Change.