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Entries in Platts (10)

Thursday
May242018

Strategic Fuel Purchasing: Time Your Fuel Purchase to Maximize Your Margin

Time your fuel purchase to maximize your margin. We teach strategic fuel purchasing at our NATA FBO Success Seminar. The technique is a process of knowing how aviation fuel is priced in your region and when to make the fuel purchase.

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Monday
Jan262015

FBO Operations Tip of the Week: Differentiate Your FBO on Customer Service, Not on Price

 

By John L. Enticknap and Ron R. Jackson, Principals of Aviation Business Strategies Group
- Facilitators of NATA’s FBO Success Seminar and Authors of the forthcoming book: FBO Survival: 10 Tips to Keep Your Operations Lean, Mean & Profitable


Note: Join John and Ron at NBAA Schedulers & Dispatchers Conference. Full details.

Many FBOs have gone out of business by lowering their prices during prolonged periods of time. Yes, FBOs need to be price-competitive, but they must maintain healthy margins and find other ways to compete through differentiation.

One of the best ways we find to differentiate one FBO from another is to offer an outstanding and memorable customer service experience. This is a fundamental shift in the FBO industry away from a price-sensitive business model to one based on providing exceptional customer service.

More and more FBOs are taking customer service training very seriously. Just as FBOs don’t tolerate mishaps on the ramp, they are becoming more conscious of eliminating miscues with the way they deliver customer service.

Research indicates that loyal customers don’t stop doing business with a company solely because of price, but rather because of a poor customer service experience. However, most will return if you recognize and fix the problem.

One of the ways to improve the customer service experience is to standardize training and look for ways to motivate employees in a way where they take ownership of problems when they arise. An example of a standardized training system is the Don't Forget the Cheese! customer service training program written specifically for the FBO industry.

About the bloggers:

John Enticknap
John Enticknap has more than 35 years of aviation fueling and FBO services industry experience and has served as president/CEO of Mercury Air Centers, a network of FBOs he grew from four facilities to 21 locations. He has international FBO experience including opening the Royal Aviation Terminal in Kuwait. John has held executive management positions with DynAir Fueling and CSX Becket Aviation and holds a Bachelor of Science in industrial management from Northeastern University. He teaches the acclaimed FBO Success Seminar for the National Aviation Transportation Association (NATA) and is an NATA certified safety auditor. John is the co-author of the forthcoming book FBO Survival! Keeping Your Operation Lean, Mean & Profitable. He also writes an industry blog titled FBO Connection for Penton‘s B&CA Digest. He is an active ATP and CFI rated pilot with more than 8,100 flight hours; certified in both fixed and rotary wing aircraft. jenticknap@bellsouth.net, Ph: 404-867-5518, www.absggroup.com

Ron Jackson
Ron Jackson is co-founder of Aviation Business Strategies Group and president of The Jackson Group, a PR agency specializing in FBO marketing and customer service training. He has held management positions with Cessna Aircraft, Fairchild Aircraft and Bozell Advertising. Ron developed the strategic marketing communication plan and programs for Mercury Air Centers and consults with numerous FBOs in areas of marketing, promotions and customer service training. He is the author of Don’t Forget the Cheese! The Ultimate FBO Customer Service Experience. and co-author of the forthcoming book FBO Survival! Keeping Your Operation Lean, Mean & Profitable. He is a journalist and co-developed NATA’s acclaimed FBO Success Seminar Series. Ron writes an industry blog for Penton’s B&CA Digest titled: The FBO Connection.  Ron@thejacksongroup.biz,  Ph: 972-979-6566, www.absggroup.com

There is nothing more difficult to take in hand, more perilous to conduct, or more uncertain in its success, than to take the lead in the introduction of a new order of things
Monday
Jan192015

FBO Operations Tip of the Week: Cross Train and Involve all Employees in the Customer Experience

 

By John L. Enticknap and Ron R. Jackson, Principals of Aviation Business Strategies Group
Facilitators of NATA’s FBO Success Seminar and Authors of the forthcoming book: FBO Survival: 10 Tips to Keep Your Operations Lean, Mean & Profitable

 

For most FBOs, employees must learn to multitask. In evaluating FBOs that are consistently successful, we find employees do many different job functions that result in not only a more efficient operation but it actually helps employee morale and adds to the customer service experience. As we like to say, a happy employee, a happy customer.

The result can be a very contagious working environment that gets noticed by the customer. Plus, cross training makes all employees more valuable and better motivated.

Here are some ideas:

  • Train your CSRs to meet and greet arriving aircraft. You’re probably already paying the workers’ compensation rate for ‘ramp’ on the CSRs. 
  • Train your CSRs and building maintenance staff to be wing walkers. Tip: Having two wing walkers, especially in hangar movements, can decrease your accident incident rate and could help lower your insurance premium. 
  • Get your accounting staff outside to learn about fueling and tank farm quality control. They might even learn about fuel quality control and inventory procedures. 
  • When was the last time the executive staff worked the ramp or talked to arriving pilots and passengers? 
  • Encourage ramp staff and the executive staff to walk the ramp for FOD and look at the FBO facility from the arriving pilot’s point of view. 
  • Consider having your A&P technicians meet, greet and take part in the customer’s maintenance project experience. Once the inspection is completed, the A&P should be part of the discussion with the owner on what is to be fixed. This seems obvious but is rarely done. 
  • In your flight school, when was that last time your chief instructor called and talked to the students before a check ride? Find out how the student likes flying and the overall learning experience.
About the bloggers:

John Enticknap
John Enticknap has more than 35 years of aviation fueling and FBO services industry experience and has served as president/CEO of Mercury Air Centers, a network of FBOs he grew from four facilities to 21 locations. He has international FBO experience including opening the Royal Aviation Terminal in Kuwait. John has held executive management positions with DynAir Fueling and CSX Becket Aviation and holds a Bachelor of Science in industrial management from Northeastern University. He teaches the acclaimed FBO Success Seminar for the National Aviation Transportation Association (NATA) and is an NATA certified safety auditor. John is the co-author of the forthcoming book FBO Survival! Keeping Your Operation Lean, Mean & Profitable. He also writes an industry blog titled FBO Connection for Penton‘s B&CA Digest. He is an active ATP and CFI rated pilot with more than 8,100 flight hours; certified in both fixed and rotary wing aircraft. jenticknap@bellsouth.net, Ph: 404-867-5518, www.absggroup.com

Ron Jackson
Ron Jackson is co-founder of Aviation Business Strategies Group and president of The Jackson Group, a PR agency specializing in FBO marketing and customer service training. He has held management positions with Cessna Aircraft, Fairchild Aircraft and Bozell Advertising. Ron developed the strategic marketing communication plan and programs for Mercury Air Centers and consults with numerous FBOs in areas of marketing, promotions and customer service training. He is the author of Don’t Forget the Cheese! The Ultimate FBO Customer Service Experience. and co-author of the forthcoming book FBO Survival! Keeping Your Operation Lean, Mean & Profitable. He is a certified journalist and co-developed NATA’s acclaimed FBO Success Seminar Series. Ron writes an industry blog for Penton’s B&CA Digest titled: The FBO Connection.  Ron@thejacksongroup.biz,  Ph: 972-979-6566, www.absggroup.com

There is nothing more difficult to take in hand, more perilous to conduct, or more uncertain in its success, than to take the lead in the introduction of a new order of things
Monday
Jan122015

FBO Operations Tip of the Week: Maximize Your Profit Position

 

By John L. Enticknap and Ron R. Jackson, Principals of Aviation Business Strategies Group
Facilitators of NATA’s FBO Success Seminar and Authors of the forthcoming book: FBO Survival: 10 Tips to Keep Your Operations Lean, Mean & Profitable

 

As FBO operators and managers, one of the most important tasks to keep in mind is maximizing your profit position.

In order to accomplish this, we rely on a standardized fuel pricing method. We think it is fair to say most FBOs use either cost-plus pricing or mark-up pricing. Cost-plus means you want to make a certain “plus” above your cost. For example, your cost today is approximately $2.25 per gallon and you want to make $1.50 per gallon. Therefore, simple math puts the selling price at $3.75 resulting in a profit of 40 percent  on sales. 

For a mark-up pricing example where you want to make $1.35 per gallon, your selling price would be $3.60 per gallon, or just short of a 60 percent mark-up on cost.

Both of these methods are common in the manufacturing business arena. The variance in these two methods lies in the difference between margin and mark-up. This can be a lengthy discussion, but suffice it to say, a thorough understanding of your costs of operation to include labor, facilities, other income, overhead, etc., affects what margin you use to show a profit. This, in turn, allows you to calculate what mark-up percentage you must use to get to the intended profit level.

We discuss these fuel pricing methods in greater detail at our NATA FBO Success Seminar, which is scheduled for March 9-10 at the Sands Expo and Convention Center in Las Vegas. 

About the bloggers:

John Enticknap
John Enticknap has more than 35 years of aviation fueling and FBO services industry experience and has served as president/CEO of Mercury Air Centers, a network of FBOs he grew from four facilities to 21 locations. He has international FBO experience including opening the Royal Aviation Terminal in Kuwait. John has held executive management positions with DynAir Fueling and CSX Becket Aviation and holds a Bachelor of Science in industrial management from Northeastern University. He teaches the acclaimed FBO Success Seminar for the National Aviation Transportation Association (NATA) and is an NATA certified safety auditor. John is the co-author of the forthcoming book FBO Survival! Keeping Your Operation Lean, Mean & Profitable. He also writes an industry blog titled FBO Connection for Penton‘s B&CA Digest. He is an active ATP and CFI rated pilot with more than 8,100 flight hours; certified in both fixed and rotary wing aircraft. jenticknap@bellsouth.net, Ph: 404-867-5518, www.absggroup.com

Ron Jackson
Ron Jackson is co-founder of Aviation Business Strategies Group and president of The Jackson Group, a PR agency specializing in FBO marketing and customer service training. He has held management positions with Cessna Aircraft, Fairchild Aircraft and Bozell Advertising. Ron developed the strategic marketing communication plan and programs for Mercury Air Centers and consults with numerous FBOs in areas of marketing, promotions and customer service training. He is the author of Don’t Forget the Cheese! The Ultimate FBO Customer Service Experience. and co-author of the forthcoming book FBO Survival! Keeping Your Operation Lean, Mean & Profitable. He is a certified journalist and co-developed NATA’s acclaimed FBO Success Seminar Series. Ron writes an industry blog for Penton’s B&CA Digest titled: The FBO Connection.  Ron@thejacksongroup.biz,  Ph: 972-979-6566, www.absggroup.com

There is nothing more difficult to take in hand, more perilous to conduct, or more uncertain in its success, than to take the lead in the introduction of a new order of things
Tuesday
Jan062015

FBO Operations Tip of the Week: With Fuel Prices Falling, Guard Your Optimism

 

By John L. Enticknap and Ron R. Jackson, Principals of Aviation Business Strategies Group
Facilitators of NATA’s FBO Success Seminar and Authors of the forthcoming book: FBO Survival: 10 Tips to Keep Your Operations Lean, Mean & Profitable

 
As the price of auto gas falls almost daily, we wonder how the corresponding drop in Jet A fuel might affect the FBO business.

Just four weeks ago, OPEC indicated they would stabilize a barrel of oil at $60. Currently, a barrel of oil is hovering around $54. Comparatively, at the beginning of 2014, index pricing for Jet A was around $3 per gallon. In December we saw roughly $1.60 per gallon resulting in a $1.40 swing. 

This begs the question: Will aircraft operators take advantage of lower fuel prices and start flying more resulting in more gallons being pumped at FBO locations?  

Based on our research and other industry discovery work, the answer is no, at least not in the short term. 

For the most part, flight departments, with FBOs following suit, have adapted over the past few years to what we call the new normal. While operators have right-sized their aircraft fleet and supporting flight crew personnel, FBOs have resized and streamlined their operations to meet the corresponding demand.

That’s not to say the industry will not benefit in the long term by lower fuel prices. Certainly, if lower fuel prices persist and the result is a more robust economy, aircraft operators will make the necessary adjustments by adding capacity and flight scheduling flexibility.  

But let’s not get ahead of ourselves. Just as it took months, even years, to get where we are now, the effects of an economic recovery on businesses operating aircraft will be slow to take place.

In the next few weeks, we will conduct our Annual FBO Industry Survey, which examines both past years’ performance as well as a look at current trends and predictions for 2015. In addition, we will probe FBO owners and operators to get a feel for their confidence in the economy going forward. 

In the meantime, lower fuel prices will give us at least a temporary reason to be optimistic. However, we can expect a continued sluggish market into the first quarter of 2015 with perpetual swings in fuel pricing and no appreciable increase in flight hours.

About the bloggers:

John Enticknap
John Enticknap has more than 35 years of aviation fueling and FBO services industry experience and has served as president/CEO of Mercury Air Centers, a network of FBOs he grew from four facilities to 21 locations. He has international FBO experience including opening the Royal Aviation Terminal in Kuwait. John has held executive management positions with DynAir Fueling and CSX Becket Aviation and holds a Bachelor of Science in industrial management from Northeastern University. He teaches the acclaimed FBO Success Seminar for the National Aviation Transportation Association (NATA) and is an NATA certified safety auditor. John is the co-author of the forthcoming book FBO Survival! Keeping Your Operation Lean, Mean & Profitable. He also writes an industry blog titled FBO Connection for Penton‘s B&CA Digest. He is an active ATP and CFI rated pilot with more than 8,100 flight hours; certified in both fixed and rotary wing aircraft. jenticknap@bellsouth.net, Ph: 404-867-5518, www.absggroup.com

Ron Jackson
Ron Jackson is co-founder of Aviation Business Strategies Group and president of The Jackson Group, a PR agency specializing in FBO marketing and customer service training. He has held management positions with Cessna Aircraft, Fairchild Aircraft and Bozell Advertising. Ron developed the strategic marketing communication plan and programs for Mercury Air Centers and consults with numerous FBOs in areas of marketing, promotions and customer service training. He is the author of Don’t Forget the Cheese! The Ultimate FBO Customer Service Experience. and co-author of the forthcoming book FBO Survival! Keeping Your Operation Lean, Mean & Profitable. He is a certified journalist and co-developed NATA’s acclaimed FBO Success Seminar Series. Ron writes an industry blog for Penton’s B&CA Digest titled: The FBO Connection.  Ron@thejacksongroup.biz,  Ph: 972-979-6566, www.absggroup.com

There is nothing more difficult to take in hand, more perilous to conduct, or more uncertain in its success, than to take the lead in the introduction of a new order of things