When Kevin Malutinok took the position of vice president and general manager of Dassault Aircraft Services (DAS) Wilmington last year, he was the company’s first general manager to have an A&P, and he was determined that “I would not sit in an office all day but rather would be more of a working general manager.”
About three months after he arrived, he brought his experience on the hangar floor to bear on improving customer service efficiency and put together a strategy to present to Bob Sundin, senior v-p and COO of Dassault Aircraft Services.
“I presented a plan to enhance Wilmington’s customer service efficiency. I told Bob it could best be summarized as the ‘Three Rs: reorganize, revamp and refine.’”
Malutinok determined that reorganizing the operation based on model expertise would enhance efficiency.
“I felt we needed to train specific people on specific models rather than have everyone be a generalist and work on all aircraft,” he said. Under the reorganization plan the company created crews, each with primary aircraft and secondary aircraft expertise; each crew is expert on two models. “By doing that, each team has a fairly narrow model focus. We now have nine teams that cover all our aircraft.”
Each team consists of a project supervisor, who is the customer’s primary point of contact, and a crew, headed by a crew chief, that includes a quality assurance inspector and appropriate maintenance personnel. Each team has a complete set of the tools it needs to work on its specific aircraft.
Malutinok’s second point was to revamp customer project management by strengthening customer points of contact and communication. Finally, his plan called for refining the scheduling and planning process.
“A key element of the plan was increasing management depth. We added a schedule and planning department to interface between sales and operations. They develop a plan for meeting the customer’s needs and then order the necessary parts; when the aircraft arrives they hand it and the parts to operations as a complete package,” Malutinok said.
The facility implemented another step last December when it rolled out “a firm, fixed pricing methodology; it’s good for the customer and for the company. The customer tells us what work is required and we provide a firm, fixed price on the work resulting from their inspection,” he said.
“Once the airplane is in our shop, if we find unanticipated squawks we will evaluate them and give the customer a firm, fixed price on the additional work. We want our customers to have a good experience, with a cost everyone understands and is comfortable with when they leave. There should be no surprises: we review the invoice with them before they depart, and it should include about 99 percent of the possible charges.”
DAS Wilmington has 137,000 sq ft of hangar space, including a small FBO, and employs 331 people, of whom 70 are maintenance technicians. All maintenance technicians are certified A&P mechanics; there are also 13 avionics techs. The FAR Part 145 repair station is EASA, Bermuda and Brazil certified.
The facility includes a center for non-destructive testing and a shop for Falcon 2000 winglet retrofits. The company also maintains a small completion center which, under a subcontract agreement with Dassault Little Rock, completes 13 Falcon 2000s per year, primarily for the NetJets program.
Wilmington, as well as all the other company-owned service centers, maintains a go team armed with the necessary tools and technicians and prepared to dispatch immediately for on-site AOG assistance.
The 40,000-sq-ft, multi-bay paint shop is EPA Title V approved and specializes in the application of high-solids aircraft exterior paint and design. It includes an air filtration system that circulates air several times in the course of a few minutes. The downdraft airflow system offers a constant flow of clean air to remove over-spray during painting operations.
“This system offers a virtually pollution-free environment for the paint personnel to apply the primers and topcoat,” Malutinok said. “The lighting system is configured to provide a brighter surface for paint applications, and side lighting can be adjusted for proper lighting of bottom surfaces and to control any shadowing effects. The features of our new facility significantly improve the quality, efficiency and capacity.
“When you look at our experience, expertise and capacity there is simply no one better at maintaining Falcons than Dassault Aircraft Services Wilmington,” he concluded.