Heli-One is pleased to share Kevin Spengler’s view on a changing service profile for a changing industry

A CHANGING SERVICE PROFILE FOR A CHANGING INDUSTRY

Modern-day customer priorities are well understood when it comes to helicopter MRO support – but how do service providers respond to those key value drivers of aircraft availability, overall operating costs and risk management? Kevin Spengler, Vice-President at Heli-One, explores how adding new dimensions to the service proposition can yield major gains…

I am a relative newcomer to the MRO industry, however there many commonalities to the service needs of industrial customers in other business sectors. One of my first areas of focus has been to set clear priorities for the business.  Safety, quality, delivery and cost – in that specific order – is how Heli-One will provide service to our customers.
It’s sometimes easy to overlook safety and quality as overarching themes, to take them for granted, simply because they’re so fundamental to everyday operations. At Heli-One, we focus a great deal in these areas via a well-defined framework of business processes and practices. We work to ensure that our team members remain safe on the job and the quality of our work leads to safe and reliable operations for our customers.  

I recognise that delivery has been a long-standing challenge for MRO service providers, one that has become all the more acute over the past two years due to the impact of the pandemic restrictions. Supply chain issues, quarantine rules, resource limitations and personnel mobility challenges have all made it harder than ever to meet the schedule requirements of customers. It’s an issue we’re now focusing on closely at Heli-One, because we appreciate that any shortcomings in on-time delivery have a very real impact on customer operations. Sometimes such issues are unavoidable, such as when an inspection programme uncovers technical issues that will prolong the schedule.  This is the time when early and open communications with customers are critical to develop mitigation plans and allow planning for operations.

 Cost of service, meanwhile, has also come under much greater scrutiny since 2020. Commercial customers in particular have been impacted by reductions in operations and flight hours, and thus have been compelled to look at how they can realise efficiencies.

Given the changes in the market, we are continuing to look for ways in which a MRO provider can provide additional value to our operating customers. We’ve brought elements of our support services in-house and we’ve enhanced capabilities at our bases because of the cost advantages they can produce for customers. Our work to create an S92 base maintenance capability at our Poland facility, to highlight one instance of such investment, establishes a single-source option for S92 maintenance and directly addresses prevailing market demands.

We’ve also looked to develop our alternative solutions for customers, ranging from mobile maintenance capabilities to ancillary services under Sky Support.  These can help operators gain capital efficiencies by converting base costs into variable ones.
 
The remote services option, already a tried-and-tested model in the field, is designed in part to help customers better target their own in-house technical resources. In our experience, those resources are commonly focused on supporting day-to-day operations, and the more comprehensive MRO scopes are performed only as and when time affords. Bringing a team of engineers and technicians on-site, with a dedicated focus on the scope, will typically mean a more rapid return-to-service for the aircraft – and a consequent availability gain. For the customer, it keeps their asset local so they have a greater degree of oversight and an opportunity for close collaboration with the delivery team. It also eliminates transportation requirements and other logistical issues. 

We operate three exceptional facilities and do great work from them every day. They will always be the mainstays of our global operations, but there’s also clearly an opportunity within the MRO world to take our services to the customer – and help them meet their business priorities.

Kevin Spengler is Vice-President at Heli-One, a leading provider of maintenance, repair and overhaul (MRO) services. He joined the business in September 2021 after holding senior leadership roles within power generation and oil & gas operations. 

About Heli-One

Heli-One is based in Richmond, British Columbia, Canada, and has MRO operations in Richmond; Delta, Canada; Stavanger, Norway; and Rzeszow, Poland. Heli-One is a leading independent helicopter MRO with certifications and expertise in a broad range of airframes and components from major helicopter and engine manufacturers, including Airbus, Sikorsky, Leonardo, Bell, Safran Helicopter Engines, Pratt & Whitney Canada and General Electric.

Heli-One is a segment of CHC Helicopter, the operating company of CHC Group LLC. For more information about Heli-One, visit: www.heli-one.com

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