Last week, I talked about how Business Aircraft Manufacturers (BAMs) can save money and stick to their delivery schedules better. I talked about the trend I'm seeing, that the bizjet manufacturers are encouraging their customers to no longer employ technical consultants to follow the build of the aircraft, instead proposing their CAMs do that job on their behalf.
I posted my blog on my website, and on LinkedIn too. It got shared a bit - even on the #Bizjet Industry News. It got liked by a few. I had one comment, but that was from a good friend who is a long-term supporter and not in the aviation business, so it doesn't really count.
But it was the private emails, and calls I got that made all the difference to the lack of comments and likes. These were from people who are working in the industry, for the BAMS. They value their jobs and don't want to rock the boat or appear to be, in any way, out of line, which they may be seen to be doing by publicly agreeing with what I said.
What they told me was things like:
"Guy, you've nailed it."
I knew I was right. The question is, how does this message work its way up to the top, when on each step of the way, no one wants to admit a project is out of their control - even when it is? And a strong external leader, with everyone's interests in mind - to deliver a top-notch product - could put it back on track.
From the outset, for the customer, running a project without a technical consultant looks like a good, cost-savings solution. But when delivery time comes around and I'm called on to take over a project, the build is so close to being finished that there's no time left to fix all the problems that I find.
I'm not talking about the little problems that I see, either, problems like screw caps not matching, or the stitching of a divan not being finished properly. I'm talking about big, time-consuming problems, like the colour of the wood not matching from one monument to the other, or installations being made that aren't according to spec. Doors that don't fit. The wrong carpet.
Perhaps it's because I was born with an eye for detail that I see what I see. Or because I've been delivering executive aircraft for nearly 15 years now that I can see what's wrong - sometimes before I've even stepped a slippered foot into the cabin. I know that when I'm there and catch something early enough in the process, there's no wrench thrown into the schedule. And most of the time, the aircraft will be delivered on time, the beautiful, gleaming example of pride and workmanship it's meant to be - if the problems I catch get rectified early enough. Of course, that means the BAM needs to agree to make those changes - and stop procrastinating.
Because when the customer gets it delivered that way, they'll love what they get, they'll show and tell their friends, who will tell their friends, and they'll all be back for more.
And with everyone facing a global economic downturn, that's exactly what all of us need.