Aero Products’ facility grows with the firm
Last year, representatives for Aero Products Component Services (Booth No. 1223) realized that the company was running out of warehouse and overhaul space. That’s not necessarily bad news, and the helicopter support company has since expanded with a 10,500-sq-ft addition at its Tempe, Ariz. corporate headquarters.
The expansion will accommodate increased demands of Aero Products’ Component Overhaul Division, according to company president Ted Johnson. The new facility includes two distinct, fully equipped shops to support unique requirements of commercial and military customers. In addition, the new building will host a multimillion-dollar inventory of Bell spare parts, Aeronautical Accessories (for which Aero Products is the U.S. distributor) and exchange components.
“Last year, gross sales were $11.2 million, and we’re projecting $13 million for 2006,” Johnson said. “We’ve taken on a subcontractor role for military contracts with one of the major helicopter support companies. It’s a 10-year contract that is potentially worth $50 million.”
Johnson also said the company has purposely separated government business from commercial business in its overhaul area, a move that will lead to faster turn times.
In addition, Aero Products has started handling consignment inventories. “We took on ERA’s stock when they got rid of their light Bells,” Johnson said. “We have in excess of 25 companies’ parts stock, and we stress our OEM inventory because of the military demands. We’ve increased our parts inventory 25 percent since 2003.”
Johnson said the company’s customer base changes from year to year, making planning a challenge. Last year, about 60 percent of the business was domestic and the rest international. The latter increased over the previous two years, a result of a concentration in marketing through the company’s Web site.
“To further boost our productivity, we doubled our staff and made a sizeable investment in a new automated business management system,” he said.
But while Johnson values the productivity of automation in business, he also recognizes the old-fashioned virtues of personal intervention. “We installed a new telephone system so that customers can continue to have contact with a real, live person. If I ever talk about an ‘automated attendant,’ you have my permission to hit me with a two-by-four!”