In the aviation industry, the price of maintenance is often a heavy one and any opportunity to significantly reduce that cost of maintenance is one that simply cannot be ignored.
For nearly 30 years, Jet Support Services, Inc. (JSSI), has offered the business aviation industry maintenance programs that allow aircraft operators to significantly reduce maintenance costs and stabilize maintenance budgets, while providing a professional level of support and service.
The maintenance of an aircraft is the backbone of aviation and this is where JSSI stands tall against its competitors as the only independent maintenance program provider.
“Our independence and global buying power allows us to negotiate and deliver highly competitive rates to the market and demand the highest level of service from our suppliers,” says Neil Book, President and CEO of JSSI.
This independent position is the foundation JSSI was built upon and Book believes that, without it, the manufacturers would have limited competition and therefore could control the pricing as they see fit.
“JSSI keeps them honest and ensures they deliver a fair price and adequate service,” he says.
Founded in 1989, JSSI provides the highest standard of service and excellence, as well as developing innovative products and technologies to expand into new markets. For Book, the technological development aspect of the business is close to his heart, coming from a rich technology-based background with roles in telecommunications and technology at AT&T, SMobile Systems and Juniper Networks.
Through his experience, Book brings a different perspective to aviation, something that he feels is key to being successful.
“In the technology space, you must run a business with a healthy sense of paranoia, knowing the competition is always working on technology that could potentially render you obsolete,” he says.
Technology implementation in the aviation space is slower moving when compared to other industries. The development of a new aircraft type, and bringing that to market, can take from 15 to 20 years. Bringing the same technology industry approach to the aviation sector, Book believes is a big competitive advantage.
“Bringing that mindset to aviation has allowed us to evolve and grow the JSSI business very quickly by delivering new and innovative solutions, expanding our product portfolio and taking steps to create differentiation from our competitors,” says Book.
Size, scope and scale
JSSI has close to 2,000 aircraft listed on its maintenance programs. If the company was an airline, it would be the largest in the world. JSSI is buying maintenance services on behalf of those 2,000 aircraft and the cost savings and superior service represent significant customer benefits.
“An operator on one of our maintenance programs has the benefit of JSSI’s scale,” says Book. “We allow an operator with one, two or three aircraft to have the buying power of 2,000 aircraft behind them.”
JSSI’s maintenance programs synthesize maintenance costs into an hourly rate. For an operator on a maintenance program, JSSI offers coverage of any unscheduled or scheduled maintenance events.
“If an operator informs us of how many hours they plan to fly, JSSI can provide an exact quote for how much it will cost to maintain that aircraft,” says Book.
It is this budget stability, cost reduction and level of service that in turn generates a higher residual value for an aircraft. Book identifies this as a key part of their value proposition.
The perfect product
With close to 2,000 aircraft and 1,300 customers, Book is keen to stress that providing each customer with the individual interaction and touch point that they deserve is integral to the business. JSSI has over 100 technical advisers stationed all around the world to meet the needs and demands of all its customers.
“Unlike our competitors, we do not manufacture jet engines, airframes or parts. Our product is our people,” says Book.
“They are the most critical component of our business and frankly, every one of our clients can also pick up the phone and speak with me directly if they have an issue or simply want to say hello.”
Being an independent company, challenges from competition are inescapable. JSSI is competing with large-scale manufacturers, such as Rolls-Royce, GE, Honeywell and Pratt & Whitney. These are global brands operating across multiple industry sectors.
“Their names are literally on the side of the aircraft or engine,” says Book. “The biggest challenge is often helping prospective customers understand the key differentiators that JSSI, as an independent provider, delivers.”
But this isn’t a challenge that JSSI avoids. In fact, Book actively welcomes the challenge as the business can call upon an incredible track record over its 28 years that proves the business model is resonating well in the market.
The biggest testament to this is best represented by the fact that JSSI just had the most successful year in the company’s history. In 2016 alone, JSSI enrolled close to 300 aircraft with contracts valued in the region of $400 million.
“We demonstrate the financial and economic benefits, along with the service benefits that come with JSSI,” says Book. “Whereas larger companies are more rigid, one of the things we pride ourselves on is our flexibility, ingenuity and entrepreneurial spirit, which has directly led to our success.”
Over the last few years, JSSI has expanded into new businesses that support the core business, with the launch of JSSI Parts, Jet Engine Leasing and a dedicated Asset Monitoring Platform (AMP). JSSI Parts, developed in 2014, allows JSSI to leverage its significant buying power to deliver parts to the Business Aviation market at competitive prices.
“JSSI Parts is probably the fastest growing parts broker in the Business Aviation industry. We experienced close to 300-percent growth between 2015 and 2016,” says Book.
AMP is a platform designed for banks to manage their portfolio of financed aircraft. Through AMP, JSSI provides real-time maintenance, flight hour and financial data across a wide range of aircraft models and engine types. Book sees the future of this application focused on using that data to create a better understanding of the costs associated with operating an aircraft.
“Being able to collect and analyze this data and deliver it back to the marketplace is an incredibly valuable tool. I believe there’s a significant opportunity to deliver this in a clear and cohesive way that adds value to our colleagues and peers across the industry,” he says.
AMP represents an exciting future for JSSI, as Book believes there is a growing need from financial institutions to monitor maintenance events, specifically what happens and why, and to better leverage technology to understand and predict how financed aircraft operate.
“The future for us is leveraging data analytics to enhance the management of our business and offer new tools for our clients,” says Book. “We will continue to provide maintenance programs and strengthen our market leading position but I also see the company as a primary source of data to the banking community for their aviation needs.”
Despite the market leading programs and level of service, Book still relishes the challenge of competing with the giants of the manufacturing world. Outside of business aviation, JSSI is not a global brand on the same scale as a Rolls-Royce, but Book believes that this works in the company’s favour.
“We are the underdog. I always like to surprise people with what we can achieve and accomplish. In the next 12 months and beyond, JSSI will introduce some very disruptive programs and technology developments to the market – it’s a very exciting time to be involved with the company.”
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