Drive to enhance performance under way since 2001, with manufacturer benchmarking standards in other industries
Raytheon Aircraft (RAC) is benchmarking industries outside aviation in its drive to provide class-leading product support. The company believes it has turned around its once-dire reputation for support and is working to ensure the dramatic improvements achieved are sustainable while identifying the next steps, says Ed Dolanski, vice-president customer support.
Efforts to improve RAC's poor product support have been under way since September 2001. "We are done with chapter one, which was a turnaround story. The processes are in place and we are well into chapter two, which is making it sustainable," Dolanski says, adding that chapter three will involve aiming for automotive-industry support standards.
"We have to quit comparing ourselves with this [general aviation] industry - we have to look outside," says Dolanski. "Otherwise we are competing to be number one among the mediocre."
The drive to enhance support is key to RAC, which is "in a battle of perception", Polanski says, trying to win customers back after years of neglect.
Since September 2002, RAC has cut aircraft-on-ground response time from 14 days to 13h, Dolanski says. "Now we are asking is 13h good enough?" As a result, the company is benchmarking medical companies to see how they support critical diagnostic equipment.
Processing time for warranty claims has been reduced from 26 days to seven days. "And we want to take it down to 24h," says Dolanski. Money received by RAC from suppliers of the failed parts to cover the warranty claims jumped from $400,000 in 2002 to $13.5 million, he says.
Parts availability through the company's Rapid distribution system has risen from 57% to 94%. The range of parts available has also jumped dramatically, in part through an alliance with distributor Aviall and also through the creation of a worldwide inventory network including authorised service centres (ASC).
RAC has "fired" 15 ASCs since introducing a stricter auditing process, under which centres meeting 93% or more of the company's requirements receive "Gold Bar" status. Dolanski says RAC has introduced "Platinum Bar" status for those that meet or exceed 98% of its requirements. "Expectations are going up. Within two to three years Gold Bar will be the minimum," he says.
GRAHAM WARWICK / WASHINGTON DC
Source: Flight International