Hewlett-Packard signed up for the Gray Stone Advisors aviation performance dashboard two years ago, according to Rich Walsh, HP’s director of global resiliency and aviation. Walsh is a Gulfstream V captain and flies 150 to 200 hours a year. “I’m a liaison with corporate and I have accountability for the spending in this department, the variances and process improvements,” he said.
“Our performance dashboard allows us to measure and demonstrate the effectiveness of our strategy to corporate,” he explained. “This was never really measured, nor demanded, by corporate. But that changed a couple of years ago so we’re in a position to demonstrate our effectiveness around some pretty expensive assets and personnel in a timely fashion now.”
The benefits of using metrics to measure and report on the flight department include freeing up team members’ capacity so they can focus more on hidden risks and, said Walsh, “they’re aligned in terms of their ability to report on costs and processes that are aligned with existing corporate requirements and other functions. Typically that has not always been the case with business aviation.”
Walsh cited an example of how the Gray Stone dashboard helped identify “a strategic activity that I didn’t realize my team was doing.” Team members were boosting efficiency by consolidating trips whenever possible. “It was going on, but, one, I didn’t recognize my team’s efforts on that, and two, the corporation didn’t realize the value that this group was bringing in terms of travel spend.” The dashboard helped spotlight this activity, which was saving the company hundreds of thousands of dollars. “We were able to free up an aircraft for another executive. We put a cost in terms of the productivity increase of the executives in their ability to get out and drive more business because they had access to an aircraft that they wouldn’t have had if those efforts had not taken place.”
Walsh is well satisfied with Gray Stone’s services. “We’re a lean flight department and [metrics] is just one of the offerings that we use from Gray Stone. We have a complex, demanding operation, and I have to have a strategic partner who has multi-faceted offerings that I can use, and it’s been an effective solution for us at HP.”