Being global isn’t a new challenge to the helicopter industry – the industry is global in nature. So how does a company with global facilities also serve a global customer base with a wide array of maintenance needs? Heli-One has maintenance facilities in Canada, the USA, Norway, and Poland as well as customer support/distribution hubs in Asia and Australia. We asked Carolyn Forsyth, GM of Sales & Marketing at Heli-One, about the unique challenges and advantages of serving international customers and operating facilities around the world.
Let’s start with the hard question – what is the key disadvantage of working globally?
Time zones are always going to be a challenge but it’s something we can’t change. And, in the modern world, our expectations of response have increased. But new technology has really helped us bridge those gaps and we continue to leverage it to meet our business goals. Our team is spread out all over the world, which is fantastic for our customers as we’re able to facilitate requests from anywhere in the world at any time of the day. And transportation infrastructure has improved greatly so what can be achieved has expanded. We’re able to be global but local at the same time.
What works well about operating on a global scale?
We have four facilities around the world – in Canada, USA, Norway, and Poland. Each one has different capabilities and specializations but we strive to maintain the same level of standardization and learning across all facilities. As a result we’re able to be quite flexible depending on the situation. For example, our operation in Poland has the advantage of low labour rates – but with the same level of quality and safety as our facilities in Norway or Canada. This makes them an extremely competitive option, depending on the scope of work.
How does your approach differ with customers across different markets?
That is certainly one of the more enjoyable aspects of this work – being able to meet customers from different parts of the world with different ways of working and perspectives. For less mature markets, it is rewarding to work with operators to transfer knowledge and to help them implement leading-edge maintenance practices. In more mature markets, our approach is more about bringing efficiency and specialization, allowing customers to focus on their core operations.
What trend do you see emerging in global rotor-wing MRO?
There’s definitely been an increase in interest and demand for Mobile Repair Teams – especially for complex projects. We still do inspections and troubleshooting but our team is also sent out to work on complex modifications projects. They can work independently or in partnership with the customer, and I give them credit for using their team- and solutions-oriented approach in challenging situations.
We have a lot of experience in deploying Mobile Repair Teams (MRTs) from supporting operators all over the world. We have a global pool of available technicians – this is where having multiple facilities can come in handy. Depending on the work scope and customer requirements, we can send a team out to do anything from troubleshooting, inspections, engine work, to major modification work. As our customers have bases all over the world, our team is ready to support them with their maintenance needs wherever they are.
Heli-One is based in Richmond, British Columbia, Canada, and has MRO operations in Richmond, Canada; Delta, Canada; Stavanger, Norway; Fort Collins, Colorado; and Rzeszow, Poland. Heli-One is the world’s largest independent helicopter MRO and hold certifications and expertise on a broad range of airframes and components from major helicopter and engine manufacturers, including Airbus, Sikorsky, Leonardo (AgustaWestland), Bell, Safran, Pratt & Whitney and General Electric. heli-one.com
Heli-One is a segment of CHC Helicopter, the operating company of CHC Group Ltd.
Heli-One: is exhibiting at Helitech International 2017