HAI Convention News

Airbus Ramping Up Customer Service Improvements

 - February 24, 2014, 1:45 PM
Airbus Helicopters is ramping up its product support efforts which includes increasing spares inventories, strengthening support functions and improving online access for its worldwide fleet, including the AS355F2 which arrived at the Anaheim Convention Center here on Saturday. (Photo: Matt Thurber)

Airbus Helicopters is taking new measures to improve its customer service and support worldwide, according to Matthieu Louvot, the company’s director of support and services. “We are more than doubling our investment in IT systems–among others–for logistics and we have put a great deal of thought in high tech systems,” he said. “Customers will notice a difference very soon.”

Louvot said most customers will notice the changes incrementally within the coming weeks and over the next 18 months. They involve increasing targeted spares inventories, a special focus on overhauling dynamic components faster, strengthening core support functions, and improving online access and services that include a new web-based maintenance information system (WebMIS) that improves the management of maintenance and logistics operations online. The initiative also covers a new online viewer for technical publications, called Orion, and better coordination between service centers to improve logistics support. “The customer will have quicker access and quicker feedback with our e-services,” he said.

Another new online tool, eCustomer Requests, will facilitate better sharing and communication of technical request solutions worldwide, Louvot said. “We are committed to finding our customers the best answers with the shortest amount of delay, 24/7.” The e-Spares online system will allow customers to have immediate spares ordering visibility and the ability to track them in real time. Concurrently, Airbus Helicopters is preparing to collect detailed customer operations and maintenance data on a voluntary, confidential basis so that it may better predict fleet needs.

“We are building a big database to better understand the way aircraft are operated and maintained. We will be relying on customers to share their data, and will be offering them incentives to participate,” he said.

Airbus Helicopters also is launching an online catalog of helicopter service bulletins and STCs offered by itself and its 30 subsidiaries around the world. The catalog will feature complete kit descriptions and prices to enable customers to be able to order upgrades “as quickly as possible,” Louvot said. The catalog is expected to be available in March.

Under certain circumstances, Airbus Helicopters appears willing to pay penalties should performance fall short. Louvot said the company is “confident in our performance and looking at offering a more direct commitment. We want to have more performance-based services,” including hourly maintenance plans, that likely would be measured by aircraft availability and other standards that are still being refined and could be customer-specific. “If we don’t reach the [specified] performance, the customer would receive a rebate,” he said.

Airbus Helicopters is focusing on driving down maintenance costs for all of its helicopters, but particularly for the new EC175 and established EC225 models, that are aimed at the offshore energy market. “We’ve dedicated a lot of effort to improving maintenance costs and intervals,” Louvot said. “We are spending a lot of money further improving the aircraft and we put a great emphasis on reducing delays in resolving technical issues.”

At its U.S. subsidiary, Airbus Helicopters promoted Peter Cutler to v-p of customer support, in charge of government and commercial market segments, “including commercial spares support, technical services, government logistics and training programs,” according to the company. Cutler will also remain in his current role as v-p of government programs. Treg Manning, who was v-p of commercial sales, was promoted to v-p of sales and marketing, with responsibility for sales in commercial and military markets, including sales for aftermarket services and products, in the U.S.