Strength in Numbers
History teaches that in unity there is strength. When people strive for a common cause, remarkable things can happen. At Gulfstream, the pursuit of excellence is a daily, never-ending journey to set a new standard of service.
More than 4,000 Product Support professionals ensure that Gulfstream owners and operators are never far from world-class technical support. Be it in a centralized city such as London or somewhere as remote as Easter Island, wherever travel beckons is where Gulfstream will respond. The network is constantly expanding by opening new service centers, adding technicians and mobile repair vehicles and placing more field service representatives in rapidly growing markets.
“Gulfstream pioneered many of the product support services that have become the standard in business jet travel,” says Derek Zimmerman, president, Product Support, Gulfstream. “Today, our customers are traveling farther, faster and more frequently than ever before, and they do that with the confidence that wherever they fly, our product support network will always be within reach.”
Momentum by Persistence
Through technology the world is growing smaller. A well-rounded international presence helps Gulfstream create more capabilities to be wherever the customer wants to be. Owners respect Gulfstream’s reputation for excellence and expect the company to live up to its promise to create and deliver the world’s finest aviation experience.
Mitch Choquette, vice president of customer support, Product Support, Gulfstream, believes that service network is one of the best representatives of the Gulfstream brand.
“What makes Product Support so successful is our people and the care they take to put strategies in place and follow up on them,” Choquette says. “We are constantly evaluating and improving to be the best for our customers.”
The fleet continues to grow and carve new paths in business aviation, and Product Support is doing the same. More than 35 Gulfstream, Jet Aviation and warranty facilities are positioned in North America, South America, Asia, Australia and Europe. One of the newest additions is the Gulfstream service center at London Stansted Airport, which opened in 2016 to help support increasing volume at the Gulfstream service center in Luton, England.
Nine Jet Aviation factory-authorized sites are based primarily in Europe and Asia, with the newest being in Vienna. The latest authorized warranty facility is based in Berlin. Both new European centers opened in 2016 to put parts and technicians closer to those key economic centers.
More than 4,000 Product Support professionals ensure that Gulfstream owners and operators are never far from world-class technical support.
The Gulfstream worldwide product support network continues to lead business aviation and one aspect of that is having the necessary people and parts at hand.
The continued focus on parts helps deliver faster shipments to operators and quicker returns to service.
Supporting the growing fleet is an industry-leading spare parts inventory of more than US$1.6 billion. The Product Support Distribution Center in Savannah, Georgia, serves as the hub of core operations. The facility manages approximately 500,000 unique part numbers for 18 aircraft models in 11 warehouses and service centers.
To better serve Gulfstream customers in Asia, approximately US$65 million in parts inventory is strategically positioned in Hong Kong, Beijing and Singapore. The Greater China fleet has grown to more than 165 Gulfstream aircraft and makes up more than half of Asia’s nearly 290 Gulfstream aircraft—the largest number outside of North America.
In Europe, the combined parts and materials inventory in London, Luton and Basel, Switzerland, is valued at nearly US$120 million. Sales and support in the European region are trending upward. The Gulfstream European fleet consists of more than 231 aircraft, about 79 percent of them large-cabin aircraft. Most popular are the Gulfstream G650 and the Gulfstream G650ER, 30 of which are now European-based, more than double the number in 2015.
Even with technicians and parts strategically located around the world, the most frequent obstacle to getting those resources to the customer is time. Airline schedules, handling agents, customs officials and fees and duties often present challenges to the speed of service.
A recent aircraft on ground situation on Easter Island is a good example. Product Support in Savannah received a call for assistance about 3 a.m. The problem was diagnosed in less than two hours. The aircraft, however, was 3,800 miles from the nearest Gulfstream facility. A third-party provider notified the Product Support team that getting the necessary parts through customs would take up to six weeks. Gulfstream expedited the process and had parts en route the next morning. A technician flew in to meet the parts at the service center, then chartered a flight to the isolated island. The aircraft was back in service within hours of their arrival.
“The odds were so much against us,” Choquette says. “But we did everything in our power and we pulled it off.”
The experts in Technical Operations are available 24 hours a day, every day. Years of fleet experience give them the ability to diagnose issues quickly and share that knowledge with technicians in the field. When a customer calls, getting their aircraft back in the air is the top priority.
“We are laser focused on very quickly generating a comprehensive support plan. It’s the level of response and the level of urgency in returning the customer’s aircraft back to service that makes the difference,” says Glen Howard, director of customer support, Product Support, Gulfstream.
Each day brings new opportunities for exceptional customer engagement and ways to improve on performance. Activity is monitored from the call center in Savannah to position the right people in the right places. Constant communication and implementing effective strategies are the keys to tackle any challenge, Choquette says. By using those methods, in 2016 Product Support reduced the average AOG duration by nearly 28 percent.
There are few certainties in the world. But one is knowing that wherever you may fly, Gulfstream’s Product Support stands behind every journey.
Having your own designated representative in the field reinforces the comfort of owning a Gulfstream. More than 50 field service representatives are based around the world and serve as the first point of contact when a concern arises. Two technicians, based in Hong Kong and Bangkok, are the newest staff members to the Asia-Pacific region.
A great deal of trust is shared with the support team when a service need arises. Each call is treated as a high priority, and making sure the customer feels cared for is how the world-class experience is created time and time again.
“Relationships are important,” Choquette emphasizes. “We trust each other as we venture through whatever is going on.”
To further solidify that trust, FAST (Field and Airborne Support Teams) has added mobile repair vehicles in Seattle, Chicago and Washington, D.C., and is adding another vehicle in France to serve Nice and Paris.
Whether a technician arrives on-site or specialized care is needed at a service center, the customer and aircraft are in good hands. The relationships forged and constant communication help eliminate any difficulty for the customer.
There are few certainties in the world. But one is knowing that wherever you may fly, Gulfstream’s Product Support stands behind every journey. Customer confidence comes from the continuous effort to exceed expectations, and that is the strength of Gulfstream.
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