You can’t purchase an APU without knowing the quality and still expect good results. Quality needs to be discussed and evaluated before you purchase.
There are a lot of aspects to quality, and they dictate everything from how much you spend to how long your lead times are…and how much stress you add to your workday.
So, let’s jump into the 9 key components of quality you need to keep in mind when purchasing and processing your next APU purchase:
Know all about your cycles remaining.
Are there specific Cycles Remaining you need? What do you really need? Do you have a number of required cycles remaining, and you just can’t take anything less? Is this firm, or are you flexible with that number?
These are all key questions to consider.
Supply and demand play a role in your purchasing decision. If you need, say, 10,000 cycles remaining, but your “budget” only allows you to buy 1,500 cycles remaining, the 10,000 cycles remaining figure is not attainable.
It’s important to be realistic when purchasing.
Read the log book like a novel.
The log book is like reading a history book, just a lot more boring and less entertaining.
It’s really important to review the log book. Your maintenance and engineering teams are ideal to review the log book, but so is your quality assurance team.
You’re looking for very detailed information but, again, you have to find a realistic balance between what you need and what’s available.
Supply and demand come in to play again, as the level of detailed history you need may simply not be available in the market. Even if it is, it may just be outside your budget.
APUs with a comprehensive and detailed log book are like rock stars; they can command a very high price especially once you factor in high cycles remaining or the last repaired date.
Follow the traceability, like a gold mine.
Even if your APU has a complete log book, it needs to have traceability. In some aspects, traceability speaks to quality assurance.
You don’t want an APU that was in a fire. Or at least I don’t.
How much traceability do you need? How much traceability is even available? Do you need back-to-birth records? Can you only take 121 and 129? Can you not accept foreign trace?
If your log book seems comprehensive, but you have no idea who filled it out or maybe there are gaps, you may not get the quality you expect.
Pursue the right airworthiness certifications.
Are you getting the certificates you need? Do you require a specific condition? Can you accept FAA 130s alone, or do you need FAA dual release or EASA?
Some planning in advance, and knowing exactly what you need will help you better locate a quality purchase.
And, working with a trusted material partner will help you identify the right APU for your specific needs.
If you’re working with a trusted material partner, they can help you narrow down exactly what you need, how much it will cost and whether it’s even something worth pursuing.
A great material partner is honest with you and, when necessary, say, “Unfortunately, I don’t think this is an option, but here are some other recommendations.”
Remember: you always get what you pay for.
It’s worth repeating: You get what you pay for. Always. This old adage has never been more true.
If you stumble across an APU that seems too good to be true, it probably is.
I have a great example….
At Skylink, we bought an APU for around $100,000 below market price. It was tested on the aircraft and borescoped.
It was airworthy, but the quality was poor. A fuel nozzle was loose, and it caught fire. It was a huge mistake, incredibly costly, and it cost us a lot of money...and time.
I just can’t say it enough: You always get what you pay for, and if it seems too good to be true, it probably is.
Be prepared to “chase” your APU purchase.
It’s also true that you get what you pay for when processing your purchase order. If you know an average repair time for your APU is 30 days and someone quotes you five days, is that quote realistic?
It could end up being the old bait, a switch sales trick.
Processing doesn’t end at the point when you’ve cut the order, negotiated the price and lined up all the terms. After you’ve cleared all the negotiations and agreements, then comes the chasing.
Stay in touch with your material partner. If you’re not chasing your partner, delays will occur.
Even worse, delays can happen and you won’t know it until they’ve already put you behind schedule.
Don’t be cheap and insure your asset
If there’s any doubt at all, and maybe even if there isn’t, get insurance on your asset. Your trusted material partner may deliver 100% on time, but you always have to consider the unforeseeable.
Another great example from our own Skylink experience: We sold two 747 engines, and the client set up the freight forwarder. The freight forwarder picked up the engines, but as it left our facility, they forgot to tarp the assets and sent the engines via truck to the airport. When they arrived, the fan blades were damaged from debris.
Thankfully, they insured their asset and they got the necessary repairs.
Choose a quality freight forwarder as this is not a time to try someone new.
I’ve gotten emails and calls from freight forwarders and thought “are they from planet Mars?”
Really. I had no idea what they were talking about. They had no idea what they were talking about.
Choose a freight forwarder you know, like and trust, or your material partner may have a freight service they recommend. If so, use that. Why? So you don’t have to deal with it. Time is money.
A good freight service should also have a tool you can use to track its every movement. If it goes to multiple destinations, you can track your asset.
You always want to know where your large asset is, and you don’t want it floating off into the abyss.
If you’re relying on your trusted material partner to handle freight forwarding, they should update you with status often.
You should expect updates every two or three days if it’s a 14-day shipping cycle, or even daily if it’s a shorter transit time.
Don’t take it all on yourself. Outsource as much as you can.
If you can outsource the freight and not deal with it, it’s a good use of your time. If you can outsource the entire purchasing process and not have to deal with it, even better.
Your trusted material partner can handle everything from the log book and traceability analysis to the freight forwarding, taking the stress and hassle off your shoulders. They’ll also help you plan ahead.
Some of the biggest mistakes I’ve made, and that my clients and team members have made, were when someone waited until the last minute to make decisions.
Can you say AOG!
Imagine if your maintenance team said, “Guys, we need this APU tomorrow?” I could guarantee that you’d panic, rush and go home stressed and in a bad mood.
Don’t set yourself up for failure. Don’t set yourself up for an AOG situation. Have conversations internally and externally, and set yourself up for success with a quality APU purchase.