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A leading provider of products and value-added services to the worldwide aerospace and defense industry, Precision Aviation Group (PAG) credits its global success to a deep-seated belief in providing outstanding customer service. PAG uses its customer-focused business model to serve aviation customers through two business functions — aviation supply chain, and its trademarked Inventory Supported Maintenance, Repair, and Overhaul (ISMRO) services.
The dedication to support goes much deeper than selling. PAG supports their customers however possible. This belief was invaluable during the pandemic. PAG president and CEO David Mast was in a board meeting last March when a colleague overseas began calling nonstop.
“My friend told me that Covid-19 was more serious than it had been portrayed and it was starting to hit the aviation industry in Europe,” Mast said. “He warned me to start putting protocols in place immediately to prepare. He was insistent and it was an intense conversation. I excused myself from the rest of the board meeting and we got to work immediately. Keep in mind, the country wasn’t seeing this as bad yet and other than maybe the hospitals, no businesses were taking these kinds of health and safety actions.”
By mid-March, PAG began initiating the protocols that would become the new normal at PAG — mandatory mask-wearing, daily cleaning to sanitize all areas, split shifts to limit the number of employees in the building at any one time, temperature checks, more frequent hand washing, remote work, bans on travel, and 14-day quarantines if an employee had come in contact with someone with Covid-19.
“We took the CDC and WHO guidelines, then looked at what more we wanted to do,” Mast said. “We took much higher safety and health steps to care for our employees. We have 160 technicians globally. They needed to be present to fix parts. We were able to quickly adapt our IT infrastructure so our sales and customer service teams could work remotely to reduce contact in the office. By putting our employees first, we kept them safe. And by staying safe, they continued to work and provide the best support for our customers.”
PAG’s fast response paid off. While individuals in the company have contracted Covid-19, the protocols in place protected others within the facilities such that there has not been a single day of interrupted operation. PAG’s continued, consistent support has in turn led to a faster recovery.
“We started bringing our sales and customer service teams back into the office in September,” said Ketan Desai, PAG vice president of sales and marketing. “I’ve had customers comment they never knew we weren’t in the office all along. It was that seamless.”
Turning lemons into lemonade
When the first wave hit, PAG experienced a considerable drop in business from the commercial airline industry and, to a lesser extent, from helicopter operators.
“The precipitous decline in some sectors of our business gave us some extra time to dig into areas where we wanted to expand,” Desai said. “It also freed us up to help our customer base that was seeing gaps in certain sections of their supply chain. We were able to step in and help those customers — they got the opportunity to see all of the ways that PAG could support their operations.”
PAG knew that despite the pandemic it had to continue to expand services for its customers. PAG focused on further integrating two recent acquisitions, Momentum and World Aviation, and added capabilities in Pratt & Whitney PT6 engine accessories. In April, the company committed to expanding in Australia, and the company plans to close on another acquisition soon.
Customer service and sales teams took the extra time to check in with customers. “I didn’t want us calling to ask for business,” Desai said. “I wanted to see how our customers were doing and ask how we can help them, their family or company to get through this. This natural compassion in our company came through. Knowing we were a phone call away and standing by to be a sounding board meant a lot to our customers.”
PAG continued to answer the phones with a live person and respond to messages and emails within 10 to 20 minutes all pandemic long, even when the call wasn’t a customer. Significantly, two more large customers have recently signed MRO agreements with PAG.
“We’ve had dozens of customers — both new and existing — call seeking products or MRO service for parts we normally don’t support them on,” Desai said. “They couldn’t get their normal suppliers to respond, so they called and asked if we could help. Our sales and customer support teams responded within minutes and in most cases were able to ship the parts out by EOB. We have certainly grown our customer base during the pandemic but by simply doing all the things PAG did pre-pandemic, during the pandemic.”
Desai added, “Dedicated support means so much more than delivering a product or service at PAG. We truly live by our motto, ‘others, sell parts, WE SELL SUPPORT.’”