HAT offers customers four lines of products - auxiliary power units (APUs) and engines, avionics, mechanical components, and wheels and brakes. “While we are an OEM, we also sell some competitors products such as Rockwell Collins and Hamilton Sundstrand. We pride ourselves on being able to support most customer requests, even if the customer has a specific need for non-Honeywell equipment,” comments Yann Lepage, global sales leader.
Looking specifically at APUs, HAT benefits from the fact that parent Honeywell is one of two original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) that specialises in APUs. The company invented the APU in the early 1950s and today has an estimated 75 per cent market share in the single aisle commercial market and around 50 per cent of the regional aircraft market.
As aircraft and their electrical demands evolve, APUs have had to become more cutting-edge. While the fundamental design principles of an APU remain the same as they did when they entered into service, the engineering has evolved considerably as aircraft become larger and more advanced, according to Honeywell.
The repair and overhaul of APUs is covered in the latest issue of Aircraft Technology Engineering & Maintenance (ATE&M), February–March, 128, which can be read here.
HAT’s APU offering
HAT has a complete stock of APUs, most of which have a Honeywell OEM label. From high value to hard-to-find units, the majority of the components are repaired and tagged by Honeywell. Quality assurance is fully integrated in HAT’s strategy to ensure peace of mind for their worldwide customers.
“We do have some non-Honeywell products, although a fairly limited section. We currently support some Hamilton Sundstrand APU products and are working to grow that proportion of non-Honeywell models in order to expand our offering,” says Don Ott, business development manager for APUs and engines.
Ott explains that HAT’s effective inventory management system, combined with a good availability of parts, improve turn times for customers. “If we don’t have a component on hand, we have access to our internal networks to find it. Then, we put out an urgent request or highlight that there is a reduced turn time requirement. We are capable of supporting reduced turnaround times (TATs) as far as being able to respond rapidly to a customer’s request.”
Lepage says that HAT can help improve turn times for customers in four ways. “Firstly, through availability of parts as it is a key element for our business. HAT has surplus parts held at strategic locations around the world to help customers find what they need and deliver quickly wherever they are located. Currently, we have warehouses in the US, the UK and are expanding in APAC.
“Our buyback programme is another way to enhance turnaround times. We have the ability to buy equipment from our customers, which enables them to reduce inventory costs and/or find an easy method of disposing of parts which they no longer require. This is a significant benefit for them.
“Thirdly, customer oriented culture and global presence. Customers are at the centre of all of our activities and continuous improvement of their satisfaction is our top priority. We provide them operational excellence, short lead times, increased efficiency and minimised downtime. In addition, they have a direct point of contact within the HAT team who they can talk to or meet regularly. This allows us to quickly react to their demands based on the feedback and discussions they have with our team.
“And finally, our portal Myaerospace allows customers to have real time access to our stock availability and, depending on the parts, to price as well. At HAT, we believe that timely response to quotes is a key factor to a customer choosing one supplier from another one. Thanks to the possibility of accessing our stock online we are able to provide customers with an additional CPQ to do business with us.”
As well as improving turn times, HAT is able to tailor its services to individual customer requirements. “We understand what our customers’ requirements are and we are able to tailor our services to meet those. It could be something like a technical workscope requirement for an APU or it could be in regards to pricing as we offer exchanges as well. So we are able to take a customer’s core unit in as an exchange and give them some pricing consideration in regards to the unit that they want to acquire from us,” explains Ott.
Lepage adds: “What is important for HAT is to deliver the right parts, right the first time, on time and every time. I do not want to promise a shipment date if we are not able to meet it, so I drive and manage my team to be able to hit this date 100 per cent of the time. This is important for the organisation.”
Reliability of parts
HAT offers both new and reconditioned equipment; so guaranteeing reliability of parts across the board is one of the key challenges facing the company.
Lepage notes that all of its pre-owned parts are sold with a 12-month Honeywell warranty because all the parts that are shipped to customers are in its shop to be recertified, retagged or rechecked. “So the guaranteed reliability comes from us using the exact same shops as Honeywell is using, which enables us to ensure the highest quality send outs available in the market,” he says.
HAT is a “used equipment group”, according to Ott, and from an APU perspective, while it has access as the OEM to some new material “we primarily focus on the used equipment end”.
Ott adds: “We are able to guarantee reliability of parts as they are OEM repaired and backed by warranty. Honeywell offers a very good warranty on all their products including on used equipment like our APUs, which is a very desirable aspect in regards to being able to offer an OEM warranty to back the product’s integrity. For example, most of our APUs are Honeywell repairs and we use all OEM equipment, meaning there’s no PMA (Parts Manufacturing Approval) and no DER (Designated Engineering Representative), for the most part. We don’t acknowledge any of those non-Honeywell products in our repairs so obviously that is good backing in regards to the reliability of the equipment.”
As well as the unique advantages gained from being an OEM and having the expertise of Honeywell freely available, Lepage says that “the agility and the flexibility of our offerings allows us to mix both new and pre-owned; Honeywell and non-Honeywell; upright sell, exchange and buy back”, in his opinion setting the company aside from its competitors.
“The breadth of our product portfolio also sets us aside; today we have more than 25,000 references available in our warehouses, which is huge. This enables us to meet almost 100 per cent of customer requirements,” he adds. “Also our capacity to offer piece parts support; today when an MRO needs a piece part in order to work a specific LRU (line-replaceable unit), we are able to support this specific need which is not the case of some of our competitors.”
On the APU side of the business, Ott says the full support package in regards to OEM repairs makes HAT stand apart, “as lots of customers would prefer an OEM-repaired unit. Having an OEM warranty product allows us to support those higher standards”. And as an APU OEM particularly, Ott says HAT has the “technical knowledge and therefore ability to support our products very well. We are the product expert as we own the design and the repair portion of it. We also utilise our internal network, meaning if a customer has a question we utilise our network of experts to support the customer’s needs.”
HAT’s buyback programme also represents a significant differentiation. “The buyback option is really simple,” says Lepage. “Our procurement team have a clear list of parts that HAT is interested in buying back from our customers and based on what our customers would like to sell (and if the parts are coming in with all the needed documentation) our team compare their list with our list and put a value behind every line. This is a very simple process and very responsive as our list is being reworked everyday so we remain very close to the market.”
Ott notes that a buyback solution particularly benefits customers that have excess parts due to reducing a certain aircraft model in their fleet. “If a customer has spare APUs that are no longer needed we can offer them the opportunity to sell those units back to us,” he says.
“Obviously in order to sustain the APU business we have got to be able to buy APUs as much as we sell them. So we are always offering our customers the opportunity to buy their units back and/or provide exchanges which is a good opportunity for them to reduce costs. Once again this is a good sustainable programme as we are able to take those cores, repair them and then offer them to support other requirements or demand.”
HAT’s APU business is constantly looking for ways to grow; and the company is currently looking to add different kinds of models, some of which are the legacy models that are hard to find. “Part of growing the APU business is to add additional non-Honeywell products to the APU offerings and we are actively pursuing that,” he adds.