“For us, customer support is more than just a philosophy,” says Pratt & Whitney Canada’s motto. “It is a sophisticated network of people, resources and facilities spanning the globe.”Customer service is also a market – and a very successful one, as the Canadian arm of the multinational engine manufacturer has proven. The year 2000, in fact, was a record-shattering time for Pratt & Whitney Canada’s Service Center Network. It garnered C$900 million in revenues (about U.S.$600 million) in the act of servicing 2,500 engines for Pratt & Whitney Canada customers, both high marks for this division. As rated by Professional Pilot, the key trade publication in the aircraft field, Pratt & Whitney Canada was No. 1 in quality of work and No. 1 in reliability after overhaul for its products.
The division managed to establish these new marks for itself in a year in which it reorganized into a more focused entity. The new setup has given the Service Center Network the platform to continue breaking records in the near future. “We almost doubled the division’s business over the past four years, but the business plan is to grow this business to $1.4 billion, in U.S. dollars, by 2005,” says Gilbert Gaudette, vice president of the Service Center Network.
Bringing It into Focus
Pratt & Whitney Canada rolled out the new organization for its Service Center Network in May 2000. The plan divided the network into three distinct areas: Repair and Overhaul (R&O), under which are all of the R&O facilities and regional service centers; Aerospace Component Services, covering accessories and components; and Fleet Services, which provides maintenance- management programs for customers’ engines and offers rental engines. The three sectors are respectively headed by Denis Parisien, managing director of the Repair and Overhaul Centers; Claude Lauzon, director of Aerospace Component Services; and Miro Sep, manager of Fleet Services. All three individuals report to Gaudette, who heads a worldwide organization now totaling 1,900 employees. “The new organization is more focused on the services we provide, and easier to manage on a day-to-day basis,” he says.
As the executive responsible for R&O, Parisien directs a network that now numbers 16 facilities: six comprehensive service centers located in St. Hubert, Quebec, near Pratt & Whitney Canada’s headquarters in Longueuil; Bridgeport, W.Va.; Southampton, United Kingdom; Ludwigsfelde, Germany; Brisbane, Australia; Singapore; and 10 regional centers. This network is “the foundation for support to our customers,” Parisien states. Each center has multiple engine lines and significant test-cell capability, plus comprehensive back-shop inspection and repair capabilities, and hot-section inspection and repair services.
“A big part of our growth comes from direct regional support of our customers,” says Parisien. And a big part of that direct support is the service network’s Wing-to-Wing(r) program, in which Pratt & Whitney Canada arranges the transportation of the engine requiring servicing “from our customers’ wing to our shop and from our shop to our customers’ wing,” as the company’s literature states. Wing-to-Wing(r) benefits the customer by reducing turn times and rental requirements. The network is now in the process of placing this initiative throughout its entire customer base.
“Wing-to-Wing(r) support has been a winning combination for ourselves and our customers,” says Parisien. “With this concept, we tell the customer that once they remove the engine from the aircraft, we will take care of the logistics and return a fully repaired or overhauled engine to their hangar. In addition to the record 2,500 engines we serviced last year, we also dispatched 400 to 500 mobile repair teams in which we answered calls to come and repair engines on site, when the customer couldn’t bring it to a center, or when it was more practical and cost-effective to perform the work at the operator’s location. This avoided a shop visit for his engine.”
The Aerospace Component Services area represents a regrouping of several entities in the Service Center Network. Under this unit is P&W Component Repairs, formerly P&WC Component Repair Business and Wichita Falls Refurbishment; P&W Component Solutions, formerly Space Age Aviation and Great Lakes Turbines; and P&W Accessories Services, formerly P&WC Accessories Business. Along with regrouping five business units into three, the new structure has turned Aerospace Components Services into an e-marketplace, now featuring a fully transactional Web site for the sale of used serviceable parts and component exchanges.
“Our mandate is to repair, sell and exchange components, to find serviceable parts to reduce operating costs, to exchange parts and to deal directly with operators,” Lauzon says in describing the operations of his segment. “We service the shop to help manage operating costs, and we do that through the Web site. Our function is all on the Web now and is available for Pratt & Whitney parts and non-P&WC parts in our inventory base. The site helps us tap into the limited number of quality suppliers for part repairs worldwide.”
The Web site includes a search engine that can find parts in all of the network’s warehouses; shopping-cart capability which includes purchases either on account or with a credit card, plus the ability to edit, cancel or complete an order; e-mail capability for requests for purchases; and 24-hours-a-day, seven-days-a-week capability.
Accessories Services also operates a pay-by-the-hour program for major airlines. As Lauzon explains, “If you fly a certain number of hours a month, our area takes care of your accessories and manages your inventory at point of use, all for an hourly rate. It’s another way in which we pursue the network’s mandate to help the end operator manage its operating costs.”
As Sep describes the work of the Fleet Services unit, “When a customer’s engine requires servicing, he’ll look for a short-term lease on a replacement engine so he can continue flying. We can provide this service with the largest rental pool of P&WC engines in the world. We’re also establishing programs to take older engines back from customers and replace them with newer engines from the same product line, but updated with the latest product developments. Fleet Services covers everything else the service center does.”
The Fleet Services sector offers Pratt & Whitney Canada’s Fleet Management Program(tm) and Eagle Service Plan(r). These are pay-by-the-hour programs for engine maintenance, and provide stable, simplified engine maintenance and financial planning tools. They guarantee the customers a level of operating costs that suits their individual requirements in return for a longer-term contract.
The leasing component of Fleet Services, called Pratt & Whitney Canada Leasing Inc., provides rental engines, exchange engines, the sale of used engines, fleet enhancement programs and the purchase of used engines.
Sep says, “One of the big things for us is to deliver incremental value to our pay-by-the-hour customers. They are paying for our service in advance, so part of what we do is to improve the services we provide. We need to be able to manage the engines and our own costs, so we establish informal partnerships with customers. As part of that partnership, we share the benefits with those of our customers who assist us by operating and maintaining the engines in a judicious fashion.”
The new organization for Pratt & Whitney Canada’s Service Center Network is a different and better way for this critical unit of the overall Pratt & Whitney operation to look after its customers’ maintenance needs. Yet it is also an extension of the company’s customer-service commitment, which is a long-standing tradition for this aerospace giant. In introducing the new setup, the company told its customers, “With our products, new initiative and new organization, our aim is to provide our customers with integrated solutions. We are the ideal partner with the experience and financial stability to offer a comprehensive approach to your maintenance needs.”