MRO Americas
Advisers to OEMs Push Back on Customers and Be Real.jpg

Advisers to OEMs: Push Back on Customers and Be Real

Manufacturers should be ready to tell potential customers what they do not want to hear, says Oliver Wyman/Cavok general manager.

ORLANDO – Original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) and others looking to introduce new equipment or services in the aerospace and defense market – including up to new aircraft like any potential New Middle-market Aircraft (NMA) – should be ready to tell their potential airline and lessor customers what they do not want to hear, industry advisers said April 11.

“It’s about being practical about the schedule,” Dave Marcontell, general manager Oliver Wyman's Cavok division, told the Aviation Week Network’s MRO Americas 2018 conference. “You have to find the right pushback.”

Marcontell responded to an audience question about what advice would his panel give OEMs, and he started by acknowledging the pressure aircraft providers are under. “The airlines start saying, ‘I’ve got to have that equipment, I’ve got to have it sooner.’ You guys, the duopoly or the four manufacturers, you’re out there trying to win that deal, understandably, and you start making promises that you cannot necessarily keep,” he said.

“There are a lot of examples in recent history, last seven years, where OEMs have made commitments…and just could not do it,” he added. “And the aftermath is pretty dramatic.”

Others on the panel about risk management of new equipment offered related advice. Robert Matson, vice president for technical services and engine programs at Willis Lease, said “don’t reinvent the wheel.” He further suggested airlines and lessors think twice about rushing to be the first customer.

“When new technology comes out and it struggles, your passengers at some level are going to be the ones who grumble,” Matson said. “It’s sometimes better not to be the first delivery of those particular things and wait for them to prove themselves.”

Christopher Gibbs, group director for components and engine services at Haeco, said the point was not to blame any one OEM or provider. “It’s actually everybody at some point,” he said. “The best solution is not to have these problems in the first place.”

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