Breeze-Eastern Hones its Focus on Customer Support
When Brad Pedersen assumed the title of president and CEO of hoist and winch manufacturer Breeze-Eastern (Booth C4016) last June, he found a company that–despite celebrating a record sales year in fiscal year 2012–needed some guidance about how to properly assist customers in the field.
“My expectation of customer service is similar to the Amazon.com model. From start to finish, the customer is updated on the status of their order, and that product is delivered promptly,” Pedersen told AIN at Heli-Expo ’13. “At one of our first meetings, I discovered that customer requests were being handled in a rather haphazard fashion. There wasn’t an established process.”
That need for change evolved into a complete reorganization of the company staff, including the hiring of new people, many of whom, like Pedersen, had a background with OEMs. “These are people with the mindset of the manufacturer and operator/user in mind,” he added. “We know how important it is when you have an aircraft on ground, and you can’t get a part.”
Today, Breeze-Eastern is in the process of establishing a worldwide network of service centers and distribution points. “Our goal is a 24-hour turnaround time for core/critical parts anywhere in the world,” Pedersen said.
The company has also committed to significant investment in new products, including the recent award of a U.S. Coast Guard contract to design a new hydraulic hoist controller for MH-65 Dolphin search-and-rescue (SAR) helicopters. Breeze-Eastern expects that investment will result in a $1 million construction contract for the part.
For Pedersen, however, a focus on customer service remains key. “We must do this right,” he said. “Financially we’re very strong, but in this day and age with the sequester and budget cuts, we have to do whatever we can to stay out in front of the competition. It takes two years to develop a new product, but things like customer support we can do very quickly,” he concluded.