How a Strategic Expedite Plan Can Save the Aerospace Industry $60 Billion

How a Strategic Expedite Plan Can Save the Aerospace Industry $60 Billion

Incorporating an expedite strategy can save the aerospace industry billions of dollars in lost time, labor impact, mechanical errors, and passenger chaos.

Last month I was looking forward to a little R&R in Marco Beach, Florida. Equipped with my flip flops and suntan lotion, I arrived at my gate early. Twenty minutes before my flight is supposed to leave we start hearing about “delays due to mechanical problems.” I waited patiently along with 50+ fellow passengers — hopeful they’d get the replacement parts.

Behind the scenes, the airline team was struggling to find the best solution to get the aircraft up and running, or replace the aircraft with one that would pass inspection.

After another two hours the flight was canceled and we’re all left scrambling to find other ways to get there.

Luckily, I caught another flight – 3 hours later; arranged a car rental, and ended up 14 hours late (and an extra $500) by the time I arrived at my hotel. And I was the lucky one. Most of my fellow passengers ended up going home.

Unfortunately, this scenario is all too common in an industry impacted by weather, vigorous safety precautions, and chain reactions that occur due to any number of mechanical issues.

According to the Bureau of Transportation Statistics, about 20% of domestic commercial flights experience some form of delay. Mechanical problems can be as little as a “light is out” or a “tire tread is worn.” If a replacement part is not handy or needs to be shipped, it impacts everyone.

NPR recently reported that congressional investigators found that an increase in flight cancellations as travel recovered from the pandemic was due mostly to factors that airlines controlled, including cancellations for maintenance issues or lack of a crew.

Multiple sources report the estimated cost of disruption to airlines is between 5-8% of airline revenue; and as much as $60 billion worldwide. Add to that, the negative impact on an airline’s reputation.

How Airlines Can Save Billions of Dollars

Now is the time for these companies to focus on the back end of their operations, and consider an alternative expedited shipping strategy in their standard operating procedures (SOP). It’s important to have a logistics partner that understands how to handle “Aircraft On Ground” situations with faster, efficient solutions, paired with excellent communication.

Not to mention, working with someone who has the appropriate certifications in place to safely and legally handle an airline’s freight.

A good expedite partner should have a team that is experienced and equipped with the tools and resources to provide multiple solutions for any given situation. Access to different modes of equipment and transportation is crucial.

These are all qualities that should be carefully evaluated during the discovery and onboarding phases with a new expedite vendor. Depending on the location, ground, air, and ocean freight could be considered. Many forms require special permits, certifications, licenses, etc.

Here are five tips to anticipate and save millions of dollars with an expedited strategy:

  1. Negotiate strategic pricing in advance – Expedited shipping tends to operate within a “buddy-buddy” network. “Jim did a good job for us before. I know, he’s expensive, but we’ll just use him again.” Would you operate any other part of your business this way? Not likely. You would cultivate a relationship, nurture it, feed it, and negotiate long-term, strategic pricing.
  2. Communicate and collaborate – Be up front in your planning and forecasting schedule, so your expedited carrier can advise you on best options to meet your needs.
  3. Keep accurate data – Correct inventory and product demand data enables critical discussions with your expedite partner about supplies and customers’ needs.
  4. Work with an experienced provider – A shipping company that focuses exclusively on expedited freight, has multiple escalation contacts, and a solid industry reputation assures you that your urgent shipments are delivered on time. Know your capacity and let your provider access and elevate the best options for your freight.
  5. Remember…price is not everything – Evaluate the many criteria other than cost that affect your decisions, and be open-minded about all the possible solutions to your specific expedited transport challenges.

The key to partnering with an expedite carrier is having open and ongoing communication to anticipate problems, so that when the unexpected happens, both parties know how to execute efficiently. The bottom line is that incorporating an expedite strategy can save the aerospace industry billions of dollars in lost time, labor impact, mechanical errors and passenger chaos.