Intrigued by the extensive data analysis AAR offers its customers on parts usage at airlines and the applicability of specific part numbers to multiple aircraft types, various OEMs are showing strong interest in the new parts-distribution services the company provides in the aftermarket for its customers throughout the aerospace industry.
“A lot of OEMs are turning to us to ask how we fulfill our product support agreements with Airbus and Boeing aircraft,” Darren Spiegel, vice president and general manager of AAR’s OEM Solutions business, told AIN. Given AAR’s existing portfolio of product-support agreements with at least a dozen component OEMs (many of those agreements including AAR providing AOG support globally), other parts and systems manufacturers are approaching the company to find out how it can help them improve their aftermarket distribution of new parts.
AAR has an extensive existing commercial and military distribution business and is in talks with multiple additional OEMs about potential parts-distribution agreements to serve both U.S. and foreign markets, according to Spiegel.
The company views the Paris show as a valuable vehicle for progressing parts-distribution negotiations with prospective OEM partners on a face-to-face basis, as well as for its European customers to get to know AAR’s senior U.S.-based executives, said Pascal Parant, AAR’s Paris-based v-p of corporate marketing. AAR has been a Paris Air Show exhibitor for at least the past 10 shows, according to Parant, who has been present for AAR each of those times.
Additionally, said Spiegel, AAR is in talks with several OEMs for which it already provides product support to expand the geographical reach, duration, or product-range coverage of their existing agreements. One of AAR’s existing OEM product-support partners is Eaton Aerospace: AAR is an exclusive distributor for Eaton’s Fluid and Electrical Distribution division and for subsets of its Fuel and its Motion Control divisions. Additionally, AAR has expanded Eaton’s AOG support to cover its entire aerospace portfolio. Another existing OEM customer is GE Aviation subsidiary Unison Industries, for which AAR is also an exclusive distributor and provides AOG support.
AAR is a preferred supplier and master distributor for the products made by Collins Aerospace’s Landing Gear division, while Ametek Aerospace uses AAR OEM Solutions as an exclusive distributor for its power distribution product lines. In April AAR became a distributor and MRO provider for BASF’s Deoxo range of ozone and volatile organic compounds converters for aircraft, which improve cabin air quality for passengers.
In addition, AAR is a preferred supplier for Zodiac Aerospace’s aircraft water and waste disposal product range and provides third-party logistics and warehousing support in North America for Viasat’s range of in-flight connectivity equipment. The company also provides product support for Sumitomo Precision Products’ engine starter for IAE V2500 engines. The majority of AAR's OEM relationships have expanded to new territories, services or products when customers have experienced its breadth of service, according to Spiegel.
One reason Spiegel believes AAR OEM Solutions’ business is attracting potential new OEM customers is that it has a stringent policy of representing only one OEM in providing aftermarket support for any given product range, he said. “It’s not a catalogue approach—we don’t sell competing products.”
However, Spiegel sees AAR’s huge parts database and its data analytical capabilities as the company's greatest strength in the OEM aftermarket product-support business. The company accumulates data from its own business, from OEMs, and from airlines and crunches it in ways that allow AAR to advise airline customers as to how many examples of a specific part they should buy.
“We analyze the usage [at airlines] to find the applicability of parts, so we target the right airlines with the right parts; it’s not just a shotgun approach,” said Spiegel. “A lot of OEMs don’t have online parts stores,” whereas at AAR “every month we are seeing record parts sales online. Our e-commerce solution is working. Nothing we do with any OEM is by-the-book: it’s all custom-designed. So we get into the nitty-gritty on the parts level with OEMs that we don’t think others do.”
So detailed is the information that AAR develops on each part number at the technical level—in terms of materials, capabilities, life-cycle and total cost of ownership—that the company can advise airline clients at the technical level which parts they should consider buying. It is also able at times to advise OEMs of potential data-based marketing strategies which highlight the attributes of specific part numbers and the functions those parts provide, to help stimulate OEMs’ sales. AAR is now working with BASF on such a strategy for BASF’s ozone/VOC converters.