“At Bombardier we are refining a “yes” service philosophy. In the past when our service centers and parts depots were located in North America, our answer to international customer requests for service was sometimes “no” because of time and logistical constraints. We recognize that our customers operate their business jets around the globe and around the clock and we are bringing OEM quality service to them. We are being proactive and hiring, training, and building capacity to service our customers 24/7.”
Developing and staffing international hubs
Stan Younger, Bombardier’s vice president of Aircraft Service Centers, discusses the business strategies and process for developing a new OEM service hub and the phased approach to maturing a hub. “Initially a team is sent in to help organize, develop, and certify these international hubs at the FAR 145 level.
“We work with whatever regulatory agencies are involved with certification in a region.” According to Younger, they “monitor the density of aircraft in a geographical region and as that grows we begin ramping up customer support, networking assets, and increasing maintenance support personnel at the RSOs. We staff our international service centers with a combination of local technicians, staff from North America, and some supplied by sourcing agencies. We accept AMT avionics and electronic technicians with A&P certificates or the equivalent from their country.
The international AMTs usually speak several languages and have a good understanding of the culture of the local and regional customers. They are brought to one of the service centers for several months of on-the-job training to learn about the company culture, maintenance processes, and procedures, and especially Bombardier’s customer service philosophy. This philosophy is very important because the business jet customers are becoming more sophisticated and want to be involved in the maintenance activity.
“Like Starbucks’s business model, I want our customers to be able to take their aircraft to any Bombardier Service Center and get the same level of reliable and predictable service,” Younger says. “The faces behind the counter or the toolbox may change but the customer gets the same quality experience and product. This is one of our tactics for building the Bombardier brand. To do this we need a higher level of contribution from our AMTs. First we need qualified AMTs that can effectively maintain our customers’ aircraft. We also need our AMTs to understand our cost and pricing models and when asked, can discuss these with the customer.
“Our business jet maintenance service is built on and will be sustained by customer trust. It is most important that our customers understand and trust our technicians’ recommendations. This makes the conversation about pricing and cost much easier. Our customer-facing staff is much more important to our customers than our management and back office staff.” During the interview it became very obvious that training and staff development was a passion for Younger and an important part of the corporate culture.
Advice for AMTs
Younger graduated from Spartan College of Aeronautics in the mid-’70s and through hard work, personal development, and perseverance is now a vice president for a major OEM. He offered some very appropriate advice regarding development and promotion for the AMT.
“In my opinion and experience most companies don’t do a very good job of developing AMTs for promotions to management or other key positions. We often take our best AMTs and promote them to management without adequate training and development. AMTs, as well as members of management, must develop business acumen and have essential business and financial knowledge and skills. Bombardier is addressing that gap by providing training to help our maintenance staff develop these capabilities. Training and staff development is one part of our ‘rebranding initiative.’”
During the week of our interview it was announced that “each of Bombardier’s eight wholly owned service centers in the United States was awarded a 2011 FAA Aviation Maintenance Technician (AMT) Diamond Award Certificate of Excellence, the industry’s highest honor for aviation maintenance.
This award recognizes Bombardier’s commitment to offering customers access to the most highly skilled work force through an extensive training program. As for the AMTs, Younger suggests they consider their own personal brand by looking at how they are marketing their skills and abilities and improving their value in today’s marketplace.
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