Satair Group is a company on a mission. It doesn’t have a 2020 vision though because the company is wanting to move much faster than that – 2017 is the immediate goal for the ambitious growth targets that have been set for the new business.
Created in January 2014 Satair Group combines the strengths of Satair’s flexible and efficient structure with the broad and deep expertise of the former Airbus Material and Logistics Management business. It is now a truly global company with more than 1,000 employees, 10 locations worldwide, over 200,000 part numbers in stock and with a plan to take the world-leading role in the commercial aircraft parts management business.
Under the leadership of CEO Mikkel Bardram, Satair Group plans to be the leading global aftermarket integrator and has a vision to be the preferred aftermarket integrator for the full fleet of customers, suppliers and aircraft types. It plans to double its revenue from US$1.3 billion currently to $2 billion in 2017.
To some that might seem an overly ambitious target. However, Mikkel points out that this represents a year-on-year growth of around 12%, and he is confident that Satair Group can reach its target.
“Organic growth in the overall air transport market will account for some 7-8% of this with the balance of 5% accounted for by our introduction of a wider range of products and services as our customers integrate even further their spares procurement and planning.”
He continued: “our close contacts and deep relationships with our customers and suppliers convinced us that there was a clear trend in the aftermarket sector for them to want to outsource the logistics and distribution of spare parts to specialists and larger providers. It made a lot of sense for Airbus and Satair, which had been partners for some 10 years, to combine resources and create a business that would be highly competitive,”
To achieve competitive advantage the new Satair Group though is having to rethink its role in the value chain. It is no longer enough to have a great product that is distributed on time. The previous model of focussing on optimal operations and a solid infrastructure is no longer good enough. Today, suppliers, airlines and MROs want true aftermarket integration and this is something that Satair Group is now bringing to the market.
'To illustrate this point Mikkel mentions that although he is comfortable with the number and geographical spread of international locations – warehouses and repair shops - that Satair Group operates globally, he says that this is not enough for the new way of operating.
“We have to get closer to our customers, into their own warehouses at their own facilities and we have the flexibility to look at different ways of doing this with each customer. In some instances we might own the spares inventory and have our own staff at their locations and run all the spares planning for them. Or they might use their own staff with us providing the spares – we can look at different models to suit their requirements.”
The key to this, says Mikkel, is much more sophisticated and deeper demand forecasting and inventory planning. The Group has invested in tools to strengthen this aspect of the business, but to get the maximum benefit out of these tools customers and manufacturers need to share their knowledge of future demand through a clever mixture of historic usage and knowledge of future maintenance events and service bulletins.
He added: “We need to combine our data with wider industry insight that can create savings for the airlines. This knowledge-sharing requires that we are in constant dialogue and collaboration with our customers and suppliers to find the specific service solution needed.
“We are already doing this with our partners and our aim is to get demand forecasting down to part number level for a specific customer. Our customers recognise there is a clear benefit to them in doing this and they know that it is a collaborative process together with them which will mature over time.”
The other thing that will take a little time is the full IT integration of the two Satair and Airbus systems. Mikkel says this will be done ‘when the time is right and there is limited risk to customers and suppliers’.
For the moment both brands operate independently though there is already a lot of co-ordination at Satair Group level in areas such as planning and warehousing. But Mikkel is adamant that operating two brands is not a problem – “We can manage multiple brands and this skill is now coming to the aerospace industry, though it is common in other industrial sectors.”
So in the future market – that is emerging right now - customers will need aftermarket integrators who offer everything, with the bottom line being innovative service solutions that will reduce the total cost of ownership. That is the territory that Satair Group will occupy.