Raytheon Aircraft closing gaps in product support

 - February 5, 2008, 6:22 AM

Raytheon Aircraft, which has ranked very low in customer-support surveys for the past several years, is in the midst of retooling its customer services to close the gap with its competitors in a program it calls customer relationship management.
“Our goal is to have the best customer support in the industry–bar none,” said Ed Dolanski, v-p of Raytheon Aircraft’s customer-support division and a former executive at Wal-Mart. “We are not giving people promises, we’re showing results.”

One of the company’s first challenges was improving its reaction time in AOGs. A year ago RAC’s average time to return grounded aircraft to flight status was 14 days. By the end of last year the average time to resolve an AOG had rolled back to 24 hours, and so far this year it has been averaging 16 hours. The ultimate goal is eight hours, Dolanski said.

Raytheon established new procedures for identifying, prioritizing, tracking and shipping parts identified as AOG, and the company installed electronic LED tracking boards throughout the factory and in senior leaders’ areas to give the proper visibility. Dolanski said that customer-service representatives have the authority to pull parts off the production line if necessary.

Improving Parts Availability
An Internet system enables CSRs and customers to access the RAC main inventory in Dallas, as well as the company’s 92 service centers, for needed parts. Each customer has a personal Web page at the company, which lists every instance the customer contacts Raytheon and the status of the communication.

RAC said it has improved parts availability, resulting in a steady rise in planned and unplanned parts fill rates from 57 percent one year ago to 92 percent currently. Same-day shipping of in-stock parts increased from 66 percent to 99.9 percent, according to the company.

With more than 50,000 aircraft in the field, Raytheon receives more than 1,500 customer telephone calls a day, along with between 200 and 300 faxes. It claims more than 2,500 total “live customer touch points” a day through Raytheon Aircraft Parts Inventory & Distribution (Rapid), authorized service centers and the customer-support division, which handles warranties, factory/ field technical support and aircraft delivery.

“We asked how we can become the best at customer service and how to deliver a squawk-free airplane,” said Dolanski. The customer-relationship program operates around the clock, 365 days a year, with 62 employees and 53 people in field engineering. In addition, the Internet enables customers to have online chats with RAC experts and to participate in virtual maintenance and operation sessions.

Dolanski said RAC also overhauled its warranty processes. As a result, the previous backlog in warranty claims decreased from 3,900 to 1,500, and the claims process was reduced from 26 days to 10 days.