Fast 5: How Triumph’s Product Support Is Pivoting

Jim Berberet
Jim Berberet

Jim Berberet became president of Triumph Product Support in 2020 and discusses how the aftermarket division has adapted its business to the pandemic environment.

How is Triumph adapting its product support to serve customers’ needs due to the pandemic? 

The pandemic has heightened and highlighted our ability to work with many customers via workscopes, payment terms, repair and hold approaches. Our ability to approach this situation with innovation, dedication to quality and reliability, along with consistent on-time delivery has also provided the assurances to our customers. All MRO sites have remained open to support our global customers.

What are the key customer support requests you’re getting from passenger airlines, cargo airlines and military customers?

Availability of ready spares and rotables to support customer needs, along with flexibility of delivery as needed or required are the keys. Early on in the pandemic, many customers wanted to know if we were still operational and willing to work with them as MRO inputs and removals reduced. We assured all of our customers we were open for business and actually gained additional business as a result. Our customer base diversification covers all key sectors such as majors, regionals, cargo and military, and each of these sectors had different MRO needs and products. We worked with each of our key customers to present tailored workscopes, positioning of spares and communication to ensure their confidence of our ability to support.  

What does Triumph hope to gain by moving its interiors aftermarket support from Atlanta to Hot Springs, Arkansas, to co-locate with interiors manufacturing?

When we established our Interiors site two years ago in Atlanta, we had key programs and our customers had established refurbishment/retrofit programs. The grounding of aircraft reduced the need for aircraft interiors upgrades substantially. Our decision to move our interiors shop to Hot Springs was not an easy one with established workforce and proximity to customers. We were able to relocate employees and establish the site in under four months. We became fully operational and FAA approved in December 2020. There are synergies with consolidating our interiors shop to the Hot Springs manufacturing site, which is well known in the industry and has key bonding and composite expertise. I am confident the quality of work and our ability to support the customer will continue from our new Triumph Interiors location in Hot Springs.

What other changes do you expect to make to product support over the next year?

Triumph Product Support is working on several approaches to continue to present a competitive alternative and support reduction of cost of ownership for our customers. We are working on potential collaboration with customers and looking to extend current relationships with OEMs. We are focused on improvements and our ability to support the changes of the global fleet. Asia growth, workscope innovation and narrowbody platforms will be driving our MRO approach.  We are also working closely with the other Triumph Systems & Support OEM companies to improve and adjust their MRO ability.

Are there any longer-term projects that you’ve accelerated due to the pandemic? Is your business pivoting in ways you wouldn’t have predicted a year ago?

Our business has always been a bit unpredictable and a solid MRO supplier needs to be able to innovate, adapt, adjust and weather the storm. We earn our business everyday through on-time delivery performance, quality and competitive pricing. We have a plan we implemented early on in 2020 called “Pivot for Growth.” We are focusing on growth opportunities via adding capabilities and ATA chapters to our MRO portfolio while breaking into MRO markets that are not being addressed with the type of support Triumph can provide. With all that has happened over the last 10 months in our industry, we have accelerated our approach as we re-focus on specific fleets, the need for on-wing support and rotable availability. All of these approaches support our longer term direction and customer needs.

Lee Ann Shay

As executive editor of MRO and business aviation, Lee Ann Shay directs Aviation Week's coverage of maintenance, repair and overhaul (MRO), including Inside MRO, and business aviation, including BCA.