30 Dec 2020
AJW Group chief executive officer, Sajedah Rustom, explains how the company turned a potential Covid-19 crisis into an opportunity to evolve and refocus for the future in a recent 'Industry Voices' article for MRO Management magazine.
As the aviation sector continues to fight against the pandemic’s impact, few have been immune to the economic downturn. We, along with many others, have had to adapt accordingly; stabilising and optimising our business whilst continuing to play to our strengths.
As an independent business we were quick to act as the world entered lockdown. We proactively worked with our contracted customers to understand their short-term operational needs by adjusting minimum contracted hours. We created agile solutions to help mitigate the effects of the crisis all whilst guaranteeing the continuation of negotiated levels of support.
We evolved nearly all our services and designed new tailored solutions to serve our customers and meet their changing needs. We launched a successful streamlined lease solution with built-in repair costs which helps customers reduce and limit their operating costs with no upfront lump sum or costly part depreciation.
We also worked closely with our MRO customers to ensure repair requirements were met on a ‘just in time’ basis and offered flexible cost-saving solutions to enable customers to conserve cashflow. For example, AJW Technique launched a ‘Quote and Hold’ programme, allowing us to hold components in-house after conducting a thorough evaluation and providing a detailed quote to let customers plan their financial exposure and smartly position their unserviceable components in the right place.
Outstanding teamwork, flexibility and the AJW ‘can do’ attitude ensured that we continuously delivered our expert-led customer service from home or from socially distanced working environments at our global facilities 24/7/365.
Despite the restrictions, we successfully renewed a seven-year complete supply chain solution contract with easyJet, which included the creation of a new EU-hub in Malpensa, Italy. We also completed the purchase of three ex‑Thomas Cook A330 aircraft and initiated teardown on-site at Manchester Airport to increase the levels of component availability.
Covid-19 sparked an accelerated need for digital innovation within all industries to eliminate administrative work through automation and to elevate the workforce into more strategic functions for reduced cost and increased efficiencies.
We pushed digital solutions for increased productivity with an immense emphasis on better management of our supply chain and labour capacity in line with rapidly changing demands. We have dedicated a considerable amount of manpower and focus on building the right digital tools and dashboards to closely monitor the industry and fleet recoveries by customer and platform. This ensures that our customer service operations are in line with projected demand.
We also accelerated projects for activity trackers, purchase order dashboards, turnaround time alerts, automated notifications, credit control automation, piece parts provisioning, automated quoting and pricing models and launched an e-commerce platform. In it, our heavily discounted surplus Airbus and Boeing inventory can be viewed and purchased online at the click of a button (visit the AJW Outlet Store here)
We also launched a new customer portal which offers immediate access and complete transparency for quotes, orders and tracking. All the digital developments will provide a further increase in the support and customer experience required for the future.
2020 will always be remembered as the year that saw the world forced to stop by the hand of a virus. But, for AJW, we hope to look back over our 90 years of business and see this as a pivotal period where we took the opportunity to evolve and refocus our business ready for the next 90 years.
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