Hello readers! Welcome to another week’s installation of the Teardown Report!
This week our team at O&M has been busy finalizing our big April issue for MRO Americas. Will you be joining us in Dallas on April 3? Either way, the hashtag is #MROAM for all of the news from the event. Which reminds me--we have chosen our MRO award winners in the categories of best airline MRO, best military maintenance outfit, most innovative supplier and best independent MRO. We will be announcing the winners at a special ceremony at 2:00 p.m. on April 3, so please join us!
This week I had the pleasure of participating in a Q&A with Myles Thomas, VP of Chase Aerospace. Chase is an MRO specializing in APUs that has a strategic alliance with Air New Zealand Tech Ops, based in Miami Fla. Chase recently launched a social media presence, and I found out about the new site when they messaged me from their new @chaseaerospace twitter account. Chase just launched a new website this week, which features more than $5 million or more of APU listings for sale. It includes new features such as a part search and an APU auction each week. I asked Myles about how the company transitioned to a new site with added features and kicked off a social media campaign for the first time.
Chase's APU parts market page
Q. When did Chase first become involved with social media, and what is your strategy for using Twitter, LinkedIn and Facebook?
Up until the new website we have never used social media. We are still learning the tricks of the trade but can see such potential in using these social avenues. In fact if it wasn't for a Twitter message we broadcasted we wouldn't be answering these questions right now.
How do social networks enhance your business?
As we are new to it all we have used the social media to get our name out there and we have seen a great positive reaction to it all. We will be using social media as a key part of our marketing. Since the launch of our site we have seen a 717.7% in the increase of web traffic to the new site. This is a huge difference which social media such as Twitter and LinkedIn along with email marketing has allowed us to accomplish such high numbers. We also use Google analytics to do a lot of our research on the website, this information is vital to us as the information it provides is unique.
Many MROs are just starting to use social media in its business. Do you have any advice for how an aerospace company can start using social media to their advantage, based on your experience?
Again we are new to this and still learning however from the start of our new ways we feel it's very important and to keep it current. If you don't keep on top of things then it has a negative impact.
Why do you feel like your new APU site will be better than the other ones out there that you’ve described?
We spent 12 months designing this site with many trials and different designs. We also spent some time viewing our competitors’ sites similar to the services we offer and found them all to be very bland. We were also guilty of the lack of inspiration on our old site and decided it's time revitalize and stand out from the crowd. In a nut shell the aviation industry is changing and changing fast, this is down to the "new generation" of people involved. Today's marketing is based on the technology available, 10 years ago there were no facebook updates, tweets or flashy websites with blogs or RSS feeds. Things are different today and you need to keep up with the trends.
What types of APUs will you be offering on the site? We will mainly focus on the more mainstream commercial aircrafts, mainly relating to Boeing and Airbus. Our main APU product line will be the GTCP131, GTCP85, GTCP331, APS3200, APS2000 and the PW901 Series APU's.
Can you tell us about how you modeled the features of the APU store to be ergonomic for the users?
Our main feature which we are proud of the most is the APU market.. It's extremely user friendly. We have designed this market on what isn't currently being offered in the industry. Bottom line is our APU market will easily show all the information one would need to buy an APU. It's all at the click of a button.
Traceability and accountability for advertised parts (actually having them in stock when advertised) are two main problems that spring up on inventory sites. How do you ensure both requirements at your APU marketplace?
Everyone is guilty for letting their stock become incorrect, it just happens. However, everyone can relate to the frustration caused when searching for an APU or any part and find out it's no longer available. The only way to avoid this is to employ dedicated staff [whose] only function is to maintain inventory and keep things current. We performed a study during our web design and discovered out of 50 companies who claimed to stock a particular APU only 8 of them provided an actual quote. They either no longer had it, never had it or trying to broker it via all the other companies... All this does is muddy the water.
What is the RFP process like for your APU site? How do users find out prices? On our APU market we list the pricing on each APU we have for sale. Of course you cannot list pricing on thousands piece parts but as APU's is our main business and we are offering a market specific to APU's, the pricing should be available for the user to see.
Did you revamp your parts search also? Is this a different marketplace than the one for APUs?
The APU parts search page is also a new feature we installed into the site. It's a little different to the APU market but allows the user to search our own inventory of APU related parts. All the user needs to do is type a part number, search and it will not only show the quantity but also advise the condition on those quantities. Once the part you require has been located a simple RFQ button needs to be clicked where it will send a RFQ to our sales team for them to quote accordingly.
Can you tell us more about what the weekly auction is, and how it works? Why did you decide to include this feature?
The weekly auction is basically a feature we added to drive traffic to the site. Each week we will add a item or items to our site primarily relating to APU's or APU parts. The auction will run Tuesday to Tuesday and the winner bidder walks away with the item or items. It's a great way to bundle off some old inventory which others may find more useful than we do. We will also auction off APU's and APU bundles. We will even auction off material for a customer. As of right now there is no online auction relating to commercial aviation let alone APU related.. We thinks it's going to be a hit and due to the user friendly Proxy bidding software we use it makes it that more enjoyable.
Do you plan to integrate the marketplace into your social media strategy? Absolutely, our goal with the APU market is to become the first place to shop for APU's. We will be using all avenues possible to become the trusted APU source and not only competitive but a source that understands the APU business vs someone trying to make a quick buck. We feel social media will help us expand not only our clientele but the image of Chase as a fresh and friendly face.