Take the Guesswork out of Parts Budgeting

product support, ownership
Written By Mike West

I recently received a rather anxious-sounding phone call from the chief pilot for an internationally based new customer. He was attempting to create an operational budget for the G550 they have on order.

He said budget planning for fixed operating costs like crew salaries, hangars, insurance and the like was easy, but being a new Gulfstream operator, he didn’t know where to begin estimating his variable maintenance costs, especially for the replacement of components due to unscheduled events. His boss is a stickler for accuracy so forecasting an operational budget was no small task.

I told him not to worry; Gulfstream has a solution to take the stress and guesswork out of budgeting replacement parts costs. The program is called PlaneParts—a comprehensive service that stabilizes and budgets replacement parts costs for the year and streamlines administrative functions by providing one all-inclusive monthly invoice for the fixed amount. Nothing could be simpler.

All any operator has to do is accurately estimate the number of flight hours the aircraft will log during the coming year and Gulfstream can assign a fixed hourly fee that will cover the costs of most components that wear out under normal operation. No ifs, ands or buts.

Examples of parts covered under the PlaneParts umbrella include windshields, avionics, Integrated Drive Generators, hydraulic pumps, squibs, starter generators, horizontal stabilizer actuators, wheels, brakes and so on.

I could almost hear him thinking: “One fixed price for all these replacement parts? What’s the catch?” I assured him that PlaneParts truly is as good as it sounds.

Once a customer signs up for a 5-year PlaneParts contract, the hourly fee includes the cost of all covered parts for the first year. Whether the customer replaces one part or multiple parts per month, the cost doesn’t change. Near the end of the year, we examine the customer’s usage and, if necessary, adjust the hourly fee for the subsequent year, which again protects the customer as the adjustment has a cap. Voila—his budgeting problem was solved.

I also mentioned other PlaneParts program benefits, including our 12-month risk-free trial period. Any time during the first 12 months, a new PlaneParts customer can cancel the PlaneParts agreement for any reason. Gulfstream will refund any monies paid, minus, of course, the cost of any parts consumed.

Another benefit is the total transparency of the PlaneParts activities report. Each quarter we send operators a detailed report showing what parts were used and what the normal costs of those parts outside the program would have been over-the-counter. Our operators really appreciate that. It makes it easy to show their management tangible value by helping to stabilize the unpredictable variable costs of operations.

While this particular chief pilot was responsible for a single aircraft, PlaneParts is equally valuable to operators flying multiple Gulfstream aircraft. All any flight department head or director of maintenance has to do is tell us the number of hours each aircraft will fly and we can provide them an accurate replacement parts budget for the coming year.

Another PlaneParts advantage is eliminating countless hours calling around for the “best price” on a part, only to wonder where that component is actually coming from. That’s especially true for international operations. With one call to Gulfstream, we take over the entire process and ship the requested part as rapidly as possible from any of our parts warehouses located around the world. No matter where you are, the parts you need are coming directly from the source you can trust—Gulfstream.

Nearing the end of our conversation, the chief pilot asked me if I would sum up PlaneParts in a way that would make it easy to present to his boss; you know, the “elevator speech.” No problem—just tell him by enrolling in PlaneParts you take all the guesswork out of budgeting for your replacement parts and replace it with one all-inclusive monthly invoice for a fixed amount. It’s easy for the boss to budget while giving the chief pilot and director of maintenance peace of mind. And in today’s world, who can’t use more of that?

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