Whether it’s a minor refresh on a Citation or a complete cabin refurb on a Global Express, Stevens Aerospace and Defense Systems’ interior craftsmen have been successfully exceeding customer expectations since 1950.
When Robert T. Stevens started Stevens Aviation back in 1950, his goal was to provide the highest level of service possible—without exception. Over the years, a lot has changed. The company has added facilities, capabilities, and services. And it recently changed its name to reflect its growing work on military aircraft. But with all the changes, one element has remained consistent for nearly 70 years: the Stevens commitment to unparalleled customer satisfaction.
Nowhere is that more evident than in the company’s interior completion shops in Dayton, Ohio, and at the company’s headquarters in Greenville, South Carolina.
“We’ve been doing interior work since the beginning, and whether our craftsmen are doing a Hawker interior in Dayton or a Gulfstream in Greenville, our commitment to customer satisfaction is the number one goal,” explained Stevens Aerospace and Defense Systems’ Director of Sales and Marketing Phil Stearns. “The real key to the ongoing success of our interior shops is the high level of understanding we have about the owners and the way they use their aircraft before the project, combined with industry craftsmen who care about the result.”
Stearns called it Stevens’ “Customer-Focus Process.” “Our team is all about being the customer’s ‘guy in the business’—someone they can trust and who will communicate honestly and clearly with them,” he said. “We have representatives who meet with our interior customers well in advance of the actual work to really get to know them and how they use the aircraft.
“You can never underestimate the importance of that understanding. And our representatives share that information with every person who touches that airplane throughout the process,” he said. “Everyone wants their aircraft done ‘right,’ whatever ‘right’ is. And right is defined by what the customer wants combined with our specific level of high quality and communication.”
A Stitch In Time…
“A great interior is not just about the right colors, upholstery, and woodwork. It’s about knowing that those materials will be the right fit for the way the owner uses the airplane,” Stearns said. “We help our customers make the right decisions today to ensure their cabins still look good ten years from now.”
Stearns said that one factor customers rarely think about is as simple as stitch-length in the leather or that all leather hides are inspected by our quality personnel and defects are noted, cut around, and not used anywhere. The fact is, these choices make a huge difference in how well an interior will stand up over the next eight to ten years. The customer is living with it, and our name goes on it. This matters to us and to the owner.
“The customer needs to know these details because in the end that is what they are paying for,” he said. “One of the biggest mistakes customers routinely make is to look at the bottom-line price first. Many times cost is not a true reflection of the quality of their new interior. You can spend a lot of money on the wrong kinds of fabrics, carpet, or upholstery and end up having to redo it in five years because it didn’t wear properly.
“A good shop and honest people will work hard to help the customer to keep from making an expensive mistake. In fact, with the right guidance and planning, the best solution may actually cost you less than you think,” he said. “After 70 years, we can’t afford to give you anything but what our experience tells us is the right solution.” A recent customer, Mike Tetterton, offered high praise for the “out of the box” solution the Stevens interior team created for his Citation Excel.
“Their professionalism and vision they had for the aircraft meant a lot to me. They got extremely excited to be doing an aircraft that was different from what they had been doing,” he said. I was drawn to that excitement.
“I highly recommend Stevens,” Tetterton said. “The organization is absolutely professional. They got it done right.”