T he customer-centric, rather than product-  centric approach driven in by    Honeywell boss Rob Gillette is paying   dividends. Garrett Mikita, President, Honeywell Air Transport and Regional, says that the company’s attitude to customer service is now “borderline fanatical”.

“We issue around 200 voice of the customer (VOC) feedback cards every quarter that ask ‘how are we doing?’” says Mikita. “We ask to be rated according to reliability, delivery, responsiveness and value and we try to model our customer support around the responses and also look at global themes.

“Our customers said they wanted better trained, more technical people in the field and we have done that. They wanted product support and engineering to be centrally situated and we’ve done that too,” Mikita says. “Over the full year to the end of Q1 2007 we saw a 30% improvement in the VOC metrics worldwide. That’s important, as it has allowed us to win back customers and retain existing ones – over the past year we have had a 90% win rate on our aftermarket airline business.”

He adds that Honeywell is not totally happy with where it is, but he is pleased with progress. “I think the economy is helping us too. When you start to think about what is happening in China and India you see that these are places we needed to in,” he says.

Honeywell has recruited new technical support and business people in the regions and made sure that it has pre-positioned inventory too. In the US, Honeywell has worked with Northwest, Delta, and US Airways through their difficult times. “All three of those customers voice their gratitude to Honeywell for supporting them,” he says. “We gave a lot of guidance on how they could take significant costs out of their operations.”

Honeywell is also winning new customers through making aircraft fly more efficiently. “It isn’t just about combustor technology. Our precision navigation systems are driving fuel efficiency,” says Mikita. “And we are doing well on Boeing 737 and Airbus A320 APU contracts with our de-rate software approach to our controllers. This significantly reduces the APU fuel rate by more than 3% and the estimated fuel saving can be $5,000 per aircraft, per year.”

The company is also wooing customers back with its approach to APU replacement. “With the emphasis on fuel economy and cutting emissions the fuel aspect is a big sell,” says Mikita. “We have fielded more than 70,000 APUs in over 150 applications and have two million service hours. Honeywell has an 80% win rate on APU programmes for Airbus A320.”

The company is also looking at rolling out its three-dimensional RDR-4000 weather radar to other platforms. Its experience on Singapore Airlines’ Boeing 777 fleet has been very positive.

“We are now working with Boeing to introduce the RDR-4000 on the 737. Our launch customer will be Lion Air of Malaysia later this year. We are at the early stages of developing it for the Airbus A320 platfom too,” Mikita says.

Source: Flight Daily News