DeCrane Aerospace is here in Geneva (Booth No. 1169) loaded for an economic recovery and featuring a newly designed and larger mockup and 14 new products, from a lightweight veneer to a three-place divan with push-button recline.
According to sales and marketing vice president Heidi McNary, a downturn is not the time to cut back on product development. “You have to work harder to get ahead, and you have to develop new technology,” she told AIN. “So we’re at EBACE with at least one new product from every one of our divisions.”
DeCrane also has developed a new strategy aimed at simultaneously cutting costs and developing new products for a recovery that is bound to come. A restructuring of its widespread business divisions was one the first steps taken by the U.S. company in an effort to create a more efficient footprint. McNary explained that in 2008 when the market was booming there was capacity for growth at all the divisions, but that changed in 2009.
“New and used aircraft revenues were dropping substantially, and we’re on almost every business aircraft made,” explained McNary. “By the end of the year, our revenues were down about 30 percent and earnings down 10 percent.”
As a cost-reduction step, DeCrane decided to move its two smaller furniture business sites in Denton, Texas, and Savannah, Georgia, to Wichita, Kansas, where all the resources would be incorporated in its Precision Pattern cabinetry division. The Texas site has been moved and the Savannah site will be relocated before the end of the year. The result, said McNary, will be better quality control and better delivery performance.
In another consolidation move, avionics racks and enclosures manufacturer Hollingshead International was relocated from California to the PATS completion, refurbishment and mod facility in Georgetown, Delaware, where there are similar core competencies. “The former site near Santa Barbara was in a very high-cost location,” said McNary. “This move simply made sense.”
At the same time, a renewed push was made to expand the DeCrane auxiliary fuel systems business at its PATS facility. “There’s a huge family of BBJs and executive/VIP 737 conversions, and we sell an auxiliary fuel system for every one of them that can expand range more than 40 percent,” pointed out McNary. “And one of our most recent STCs is a new auxiliary fuel system for the Boeing 757.”
Meanwhile, DeCrane’s cabinetry and Carl F. Booth veneers subsidiaries remain busy providing almost all the furniture for Cessna’s CJ series, as well as for a wide variety of business aircraft produced by other manufacturers. The company was the winner of a contract to provide cabinetry for Hawker Beechcraft’s new King Air 350i twin turboprop.
We’re cautiously watching the market like everyone else, and we’ve positioned ourselves to be in a very strong position going forward,” said McNary.