As the world shrinks through our ability to connect with one another via the vast webs of the internet, our communication skills begin to suffer.
It's a poor communication epidemic. It’s a virus that's plaguing every industry and felt in our hyper connected yet incredibly misunderstood aviation world.
The people affected most are the heart of the industry, airlines, yet they too are guilty of such an epidemic.
Our VP Nate Anglin, attended the MRO Americas conference and during one of the sessions, Alex Gorinsky from Southwest Airlines mentioned that we’d be surprised that poor communication exists even with their supply chain partners.
From big airlines to small, poor communication bleeds through the pores of every supply chain.
Most supply chain complexities are hard to fix yet communication is the easiest to overcome. It requires a little human focus.
It’s all about the win / win
In every relationship creating win / win relationships has positive long term effects. Ken Newton from Alaska Airlines puts it well when he says he doesn’t want to put all the burden on the supplier. It’s creating a winning relationship, and if the supplier makes money then Alaska Airlines makes money by being able to keep it’s fleet in the air. It’s not a complicated thought but it’s so important and yet still misunderstood.
Many times the supplier cares more about the financial gain than the long term relationship. This has detrimental effects both on trust and on an airline's operating objectives. The same is true for airlines and MROs putting burden onto their suppliers, stripping margins, and focusing on the “Everyday Low Cost” Wal-Mart special pricing, yet they still demand high quality and short TATs. Cheap does not create value. With cheap prices comes cheap service and solutions. This reduces the long term value being created and in the end more time and money is being spent.
The most effective collaboration is one with efficient communication that is focused on a win / win relationship, both for the airline and supply chain partners.
Listen then talk
When you talk with your aircraft component supplier, who does most of the talking? It shocks me that most of the time, suppliers would rather talk than listen. They talk about their services, the part numbers, the prices, and don’t forget to come back to them if you find anything better.
I’ll now be blunt…it’s stupid.
Rarely is someone in purchasing asked, you seem to have problem x? I can imagine this affects your operation in x ways. How does this affect you personally? You would then explain to them your deepest darkest concerns while they listen. They would absorb, translate, and comprehend your situation. They would then suggest possible ways to resolve your issues. Not once was selling a part mentioned. It’s about the resolution of problems and inefficiencies were the greatest value is created.
Listening is the start of effective communication. If someone doesn't listen, you might as well talk to the wall, your dog, or possibly your spouse? Kidding of course.
Hire partners slow, fire partners fast
Most of our supply chain partners love working with our team. MROs have said “everyone I talk to at Skylink from purchasing to A/P is an absolute pleasure to work with” and “The owners of Skylink must have an amazing HR department, everyone I speak to is top notch and respectful.”
Isn’t this the point?
Our HR policy is rather simple and so is working with suppliers. We hire slow and fire fast. If we have a toxic team member who doesn’t embody our core values, they won’t be on our team for long. We don’t care about the temporary disruption, toxic personalities bleed through our organization. We have the same principles with suppliers which is why we follow a preferred vendor system. We’ll hire slow and fire fast. If it creates a tempororay supply chain issue, we’ll figure something out so we can continue to create “WOW” experiences for our customers.
If you have a toxic supply chain partner who doesn’t listen, fire them. I assure you there’s someone who can replace them.
In a world that’s hyper connected, in an industry that never sleeps, poor communication continues to plague the industry.
Remember, in order to overcome the epidemic, create win / win relationships and your partners must listen more than they talk. Fire fast and hire slow.
P.S. Are you looking to replace your supply chain partners who care more about themselves than they do for you? We listen and we listen a lot. Fill out the form below and get in touch. We’d love to hear from you.