Some guidelines for evaluating and choosing suppliers
By Michelle Garetson
With the thousands of parts, systems, consumables, etc. that are necessary to keep aircraft aloft, locating and purchasing those items can be a daunting proposition when the aircraft is AOG. Maintenance personnel are constantly being pressured by the adage, "Time is money," so the acquisition of critical, compliant components or systems becomes crucial to getting the planes back in the air. Careful evaluation and ultimately, selection of suppliers is important. Time should be spent in advance to determine what is important to the specific operations and aircraft being serviced, rather than wasting time and money scrambling around when the aircraft rolls into the hangar.
Points to ponder
What is important to you with respect to suppliers? Traceability? Price? Availability? Or, a combination of these and others? Most distributors will advise customers not to judge on price alone and that’s wise; however, if all things are equal, price most often will be the deciding factor. Taking the time to make a list of needs and wants will serve you well when "pre-flighting" potential suppliers.
Consider the following shopping tips for identifying and evaluating new vendors:
1. Experience and professionalism – How long have they been in business? Are they members of trade associations such as Aviation Distributors and Manufacturers Association (ADMA) or Airline Suppliers Association (ASA)?
2. Traceability – What kind of documentation can the supplier provide to verify the part’s validity and history?
3. Approved vendor list – Try to work your vendor list to a manageable number of those companies that can provide competitive pricing, consistently good quality service, and prompt and accurate delivery.
4. Get to know your supplier – Visit, as well as audit, your suppliers on a regular basis to develop your partnership and also see first-hand, their security measures for prevention of the acquisition and sale of unapproved parts.
5. Buyer beware – If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is. Any vendor who promises markedly reduced prices when no one else does or can or if a vendor can "magically" produce parts where a shortage exists should be approached with caution.
ISO 9002 (quality standard for services) and now ISO 9000:2000, which became an international standard in December 2000, has gained significant popularity with vendors and customers alike and has become an additional selling point for vendors vying for customers. For customers, seeing that a vendor has achieved ISO accreditation suggests that the company values quality and compliance and should therefore be considered a strong candidate as an approved vendor. The FAA does not regulate distributors and really can not as the manpower needed for that exercise would be staggering. So, ISO certification provides a means for vendors to display that they have met certain requirements for quality and for customers to feel confident when choosing suppliers.
Today’s technology is fantastic and getting better; however, for all the advances made in ordering and distribution, the one thing that will quickly thwart the deal will be poor customer service. Gone are the days of distributor reps flying to your FBO to show you the latest products, but many customers still want the personal touch when dealing with distributors.
Online ordering has allowed for a huge reduction in order errors as well as increased speed in locating and shipping items, but woe to the distributor that offers voice mail/email only options when something goes wrong with an order.
Finding and keeping good distributors is an ongoing process. Customers need to be diligent in assessing and reassessing qualities and services that their vendors should possess.
Time is money and no one knows that better than the person trying to find, receive, and install the correct items quickly and safely on their customer’s aircraft. Planning ahead for these moments through a thorough evaluation and selection of aviation products vendors will help increase efficiency, quality of work, and safety for the facility and its customers.
The following is a listing of aviation products distributors. Please contact directly for more information.
1111 Nicholas Blvd., Elk Grove Village, IL 60007, (847) 350-4000, www.aarcorp.com
Offers over 250 product lines and over 35,000 stocking line items for general aviation, regional airlines, and commercial airlines worldwide.
Aero Quality Sales
47 Harbor View Ave., Stamford, CT 06902, (203) 351-8500
Authorized distributor of nickel cadmium and lead acid aviation batteries and a stocking distributor of factory remanufactured products from Electromech Technologies. Also a distributor of WSI Technologies fasteners.
Aerospace Products International (API)
3778 Distriplex Dr. North, Memphis, TN 38118, (901) 365-3470 or (800) 950-0111, www.apiparts.com
Aerospace Products International (API) is the fastest growing distributor of over 150 lines of aerospace products. The company also operates an FAA Certified Repair Station for Stratoflex hose assemblies, starter/generator, and brakes overhauls and exchanges.
Aerospace Welding Minneapolis Inc.
12124 12th Ave. South, Burnsville, MN 55337, (952) 890-1511
Aerospace Welding has many overhauled and new exhaust components and engine mounts in stock for immediate delivery.
AirLiance Materials Inc.
10700 Seymour St., Franklin Park, IL 60131, (847) 233-5800
Formed by United Airlines, Air Canada, and Lufthansa Technik, AirLiance provides airlines and maintenance organizations throughout the world with high quality, traceable aftermarket parts.
Alberth Air Parts
13411 Raven Roost, Cypress, TX 77429, (281) 970-0047 or (800) 821-9811
Spare parts dealer for Westwind, Learjet, Hawker, Falcon, Gulfstream, and Challenger. Wheels, brakes, starter/generators, alternators, pumps, etc. Great service, competitive prices, 24-hour service.
Ascent Aviation Products
One Mill St., Parish, NY 13131, (800) 272-3681
Ascent provides a variety of aviation petroleum, chemical and service products. Customer support representatives are available 24 hours for emergency service.
1812 Production Ct., Louisville, KY 40299, (502) 499-5432; and 6734 Valjean Ave., Van Nuys, CA 91406, (818) 787-3852, www.avox.inc.
Distribution and overhaul & repair of aviation oxygen. Overhaul and repair of fire extinguishers at the California facility.
2075 Diplomat Dr., Dallas, TX 75234, (972) 406-6693
The world’s leading aviation parts distributor just got easier to use. MO®, our unique multi-line order capability, lets you download your parts list right into www.aviall.com for instant pricing!
5401 Mitchelldale Ave. B6, Houston, TX 77092, (800) 256-6876
Aviation Laboratories offers a full service lab for engine oil analysis, hydraulic fluid analysis as well as fuel analysis. We also offer a full filter line for both fixed-wing and helicopters. To complete our product line, we offer fuel additives as well as rust inhibitor lubricants and degreasers.
Aviation Sales Co.
6905 NW 25th St., Miami, FL 33122, (305) 599-6630
A recognized leader in the redistribution of aircraft parts and components and has expanded its distribution capabilities with Total Inventory Management (TIM).
3410 W. Mathis St., Lincoln, NE 68524, (402) 475-4125
AVPAC is the full-service part, component rotable, and avionics sourcing solution for Duncan Aviation.
4422 Airport Expressway, Indianapolis, IN 46241, (317) 486-8802 or (888) 823-0337, and Dallas, TX (214) 607-9277 or (888) 823-0337
Chance Aviation is an international distributor of aircraft parts. Distribution product lines include: Michelin, Concorde, Aero Electric, Condor tires, SMR boots, LPS, Royal Lubricants, Skytronics and many more. We provide total parts support to all piston and turbine aircraft on a 24-hour basis.
Consolidated Aircraft Inc.
55 Raynor Ave., Ronkonkoma, NY 11779, (516) 981-7700
Provider of exchange, sales, and overhaul of aircraft accessories and rotables since 1960.
Corporate Rotable & Supply Inc.
6701 NW 12th Avenue, Ft. Lauderdale, FL 33309, (954) 972-2807, or (800) 338-5387, www.corporaterotable.com
Aftermarket support for corporate aviation, community. Specializing in Gulfstream, Falcon/Dassault, Challenger, Hawker, Sikorsky (S-76) and Lear aircraft total support programs. Over 20,000 line items in stock and ready to go.
Desser Tire & Rubber
6900 Acco St., Montebello, CA 90640, (323) 721-4900 or (800) 247-8473 and 1230 Kansas St., Memphis, TN 38106, www.desser.com
Factory authorized distributor for Goodyear, McCreary, and Michelin Aircraft tires, and shipping over 40,000 tires to 60 countries.
Dodson International Parts Inc.
2155 Vermont Rd., Rantoul, KS 66079, (785) 878-4000 or (800) 255-0034, www.dodson.com
Since 1967, Dodson International is a #1 source for personal, corporate, and commercial aircraft parts as well as helicopter parts, offering one of the largest inventories of new and used name brand parts available anywhere in the world.
Falcon Crest Aviation Supply Inc.
8318 Braniff, Houston, TX 77061, (713) 644-2290
Distributor of major aviation manufacturers including Goodyear aircraft tires, Champion Aviation products, Eaton-Aeroquip Aerospace Products, RAPCO, GE, Unison, and Concorde Battery Corp.
Garrett Aviation Services
1524 West 14th St., Ste. 110, Tempe, AZ 85281, (480) 377-3143
Garrett is an exclusive Honeywell factory-sponsored service and support center for all TFE731, TPE331, and ATF-3 engine parts, plus APUs and general products.
Global Filtration Inc.
6650 Roxburgh, Ste. 100, Houston, TX 77041, (800) 980-2525, www.globalfiltration.com
Distributor for FAA-PMA and OEM oil, fuel, hydraulic and air filters, inspection kits, hardware & other aircraft parts. Supporting general, corporate, regional, commercial & rotor applications. Stocking distributor for Western Filter Corporation, Donalds, Le Bozec, and Challenger Products.
HS Electronics Inc.
1665 W. 33rd Place, Hialeah, FL 33012, (305) 821-5802
Established in 1965, we are a distributor of connectors, relays, switches, tyraps, circuit breakers, terminals, wire/cable, contacts, insertion and extraction tools, and heat-shrink tubing. Worldwide service.
Kell-Strom Tool Co., Inc.
214 Church Street, Wethersfield, CT 06109. Phone: 860-529-5851
In addition to our manufacturing capabilities, Kell-Strom is a distributor of tools for some of the finest manufacturers of hand tools in the United States.
599 Industrial Ave., Paramus, NJ 07653, (201) 265-8770 or (877) 693-1010, www.nyf.com
NYF Corp. (New York Fasteners) is a full-line, full-service distributor of fasteners, fastener-related assembly hardware, and electronic assembly hardware. We offer commercial grade and aerospace/military grade and supply both US and metric products in all materials in a wide variety of platings and finishes.
Pratt & Whitney Engine Services Inc. – Parts Distribution Center
1525 Midway Park Rd., Bridgeport, WV 26330, www.pratt-whitney.com
Offers a large inventory of PT6A, JT15D, PW200, 300, and 500 and spare parts and a 24-hour AOG order line.
Professional Aviation Associates (PAA)
4694 Aviation Pkwy, Ste. K, Atlanta, GA 30349 (770) 391-0908
PAA is an independent supplier of spare parts and equipment to the corporate, commuter, and general aviation market and has established worldwide distribution in the Beech market.
950 Kingsland Avenue, St. Louis, MO 63130, (314) 721-5590
TBM Inc. offers a full line of aviation fluids, oils, greases, lubricants, test kits, paints, adhesives, custom repackaging and dispense equipment. We lead the industry in customer friendly service.
PO Box 457, Ivoryton, CT 06442, (860) 767-0161
Manufacturer and distributor of PT6 hot section components. Blades, vanes, vane rings, segments and rings are also available.
Varga Enterprises Inc.
2350 S. Airport Blvd., Chandler, AZ 85249, (602) 963-6936
Factory direct aircraft parts distributor for several major manufacturers. Varga has an FAA/TSO certified hose shop and an FAA approved instrument shop.
1216 North Rd., Lyons, WI 53148, (262) 763-9586 or (800) 558-6868, www.wagaero.com
Wag-Aero provides aircraft parts and supplies as well as yellow-tagged repairs on exhaust systems, engine mounts, and seat belts.
1625 N. Mountain Springs Pkwy., Springville, UT 84663, (801) 489-2039.
A worldwide leader in aircraft parts distribution and PMA development, Wencor distributes parts manufactured by B/E Aerospace, Perkin Elmer Fluid Sciences, Stratoflex, Green, Tweed & Co., Parker Seal, Champion, and more.