In any given day, at virtually any hour, members of the Duncan Aviation aircraft parts sales team are busy scouring one of the many parts services available to locate exactly the right part for customers all over the world. Although that sounds pretty straightforward, the task is anything but easy.
In addition to language barriers and time-zone differences, there are also strict regulations regarding what parts companies in the United States are legally permitted to sell, and which countries companies are permitted to deal with.
The mission of the parts sales team is to quickly locate parts for Duncan Aviation customers and get the parts to them as quickly as possible. The team focuses on locating repaired parts, piece parts and rotables.
Piece parts include airframe parts, skins, ribs, bearings, connectors, cables, hoses and windows. Rotables are landing gear, starters, avionics, instruments and accessories. Repaired parts are those that have been sent to Duncan Aviation or elsewhere for repair; those parts must be re-certified before Duncan Aviation will pass them on to customers or other vendors.
Additionally, some of the parts are available from vendors or brokers, and still others must be ordered from Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEMs). There are databases of lists available, but a lot of the work depends on team members’ abilities to develop and maintain relationships domestically and internationally.
Sales team member Carol Hunt says, "If a customer calls asking for a part, and we don’t have it in stock here at Duncan Aviation, that’s where our jobs begin."
The Internet has helped somewhat to simplify international searches. More than that, though, Carol says the Internet has opened up new markets and brought in new customers.
For instance, Carol says, a new customer in Hong Kong needed repairs to specific parts for an entire fleet of aircraft. Duncan Aviation doesn’t have repair capabilities on all of the parts, but Carol knew of several vendors who did, so she arranged for the transactions. All of the parts were sent to Duncan Aviation where they were repaired either in-house or outside and then were returned to the customer in Hong Kong in one shipment.
The sales team will search for any part for any aircraft. Carol adds, "We have long-time customers who have dealt with Duncan Aviation for years. They may or may not own a core aircraft that we work on or for which we stock parts. Even if the aircraft is not one we typically service, we’ll still search for parts."
The team doesn't just look for parts for customers looking to buy new or replacement parts. Often, a customer has surplus parts for an aircraft and the team can also help find buyers for those parts. With Duncan Aviation's Parts Consignment Service, operators worldwide can consign excess parts, including everything from accessories to avionics and instruments to propellers.
Carol says she has a good customer in South Africa who buys parts for Boeing 747s. Although Duncan Aviation doesn’t stock those parts, Carol established a relationship with several vendors that sell parts for 747s. When her customer calls for an Request for Quote (RFQ), Carol contacts a vendor and she can usually mediate the sale.
Jewell Chambers, another member of the parts sales team, says the Internet has helped make the industry truly global. Team members routinely order parts from one country, have them shipped here for certification and/ or repair, and then ship them on to another country. Sometimes, the parts the team is asked to locate aren't even for an actual aircraft. In the past, Jewell says she’s been asked to find parts for flight simulators.
The fact that it is truly a world market may inhibit some salespeople because of the language barriers, but not the members of Duncan Aviation’s International Sales team. Several team members said that although most customers can speak or write English to a certain extent, with patience, you can make the connection and develop the relationship that is so important in sales. Team members agree that language almost never presents a barrier. Even if the only English spoken is a part number, says Jewell, that’s where you start.
Team members have located parts for a customer in one country and have had them sent to another country for third-party repair and certification. To help keep costs down and not sacrifice speed with delays in customs, team members will attempt to locate a part that’s relatively close to the customer seeking the part, especially when dealing with an aircraft on the ground (AOG).
It’s not always easy to do that, though. Team member Phil Porter says he searched parts list after parts list and called customers with surplus parts in an effort to find a part for a customer in Sao Paulo, Brazil. In the end, he found the part in Nykoping, Sweden, and had to have it shipped from there to Sao Paulo. That part traveled 6,843 miles (11,010 kilometers).
Another part traveled about 100 fewer miles when Phil shipped it from Duncan Aviation in Lincoln, Nebraska, to Ushuaia, Argentina, near the tip of South America, which was 6,769 miles (10,894 kilometers)!
Of course, not all transactions are international in scope. Team members have excellent relations with customers in the United States too. Once they've forged a relationship, whether with an international customer or a domestic one, it is truly valued, and team members go to great lengths to make sure a customer gets what he or she is looking for.
Team members have territories, but they all deal with customers the world over; the bottom line is to give the best service possible regardless of physical boundaries.
Jewell says that one of her very good customers in California needed a part for a lighting system that Duncan Aviation doesn’t stock. She located a vendor in Peachtree, Georgia, who was not currently on the approved vendor list. In order to affect the transaction, Jewell had to ask purchasing to approve the vendor, create a purchase order to buy the part from the vendor, and then sell the part to the customer in California.
Among the many things the parts sales team members must be aware of, though, are shipping restrictions. There are bans on certain parts, no matter who has requested them. For instance, no one may ship parts to any company or country that could be used in missile-guidance systems. There are also certain countries that are embargoed by various departments and agencies of the United States government.
The nations to which no parts of any kind can be shipped are Iran, Cuba, Sudan, Syria, and North Korea. And there are restrictions on the types of parts that can be shipped to Rwanda and Iraq.
Don Heinlein, Team Leader of Duncan Aviation's international sales, explains that his team members have to know who the end-user is on any sale they arrange. In order to ensure that they know and to also protect themselves from potential legal problems, they must have an End User Statement. Don says that he and his team must perform "due diligence" to make sure the parts are not banned and that they are not going to one of the embargoed companies. So they have to document answers to two questions with every potential sale: Who is the customer? And who is the end-user?
Although that sounds daunting, the team members have the office of International Compliance here at Duncan Aviation to fall back on. International Compliance Officer Steven Rothanzl and International Compliance Specialist Monica Bohling have binders of supplemental data, documenting the rules and regulations regarding restricted parts and banned countries.
In spite of the amount of information they need to know regarding restricted parts and banned countries, the time differences, and the language barrier, the Duncan Aviation parts sales team is here to serve you, 24 hours per day, seven days per week, year-round. Let them help you find that elusive part, or consign your excess parts inventory. Call 402.475.4125 or visit www.DuncanAviation.aero/parts.