Bombardier’s decision in 2002 to focus on improving and supporting its business jets, rather than developing new aircraft, is building momentum, says president Pierre Beaudoin. “After 10 years designing aircraft, we had to get the team focused on aircraft reliability. We are seeing the work pay off.”


Although the company is launching two derivative aircraft here at the show, another all-new jet like the Learjet 45, Challenger 300 or Global Express looks unlikely for now. “I feel we have developed a very strong line,” says Beaudoin. “We do not need to do an all-new aircraft to stay in front.”

Instead, Bombardier is investing heavily in customer support, which has lagged that provided by the industry’s leaders. “We have reorganized into business units focused on the customers, with general managers for Global, Challenger and Learjet, and their number one item is reliability,” he says.
While its engineers got to work solving reliability issues, Bombardier began revamping its parts distribution.

“It takes some time to do it properly, to build the right system,” says Beaudoin. One measure of the improvement: inventory accuracy, 80% in January 2004, is now 99.3%. Another: the average time to deliver parts to an aircraft on ground is now just 10h.

The major step came earlier this year with the opening of “superwarehouses” in Chicago and Frankfurt. Off-the-shelf fill rate – an industry measure of the ability to fulfill a customer’s order – has improved from 81% in January 2004 to 95%. Fill rate on the top 10 Global parts most likely to fail was 65% six months ago. Now it is 100% on nine out of the 10 parts, Beaudoin says.

“I’m not quite happy with the consistency,” he says. “There are days when we still fall apart. But every day is getting better.” The momentum is building, says Beaudoin. “Now we have opened Chicago and Frankfurt, we have the backbone in place, and we lead the industry in parts distribution.”

Bombardier is also increasing the number of field service representatives supporting operators, and now has 80 worldwide. And, after focusing on building up its own service centers, which now operate 24h a day, the company is expanding its network of authorized service representatives.

“When we started focusing on customer support three years ago, we did not go for the quick fix,” Beaudoin says. “We have been building the right foundation.”

Source: Flight Daily News