Fast 5: ILS After Boeing

John Herrman
Credit: ILS

Boeing sold Inventory Locator Service (ILS) to CAMP Systems, which is owned by Hearst, in late 2019.  John Herrman, ILS general manager, talks about what the ownership change means to ILS and what is trending in the parts market in today’s dynamic environment.

What has the short-term effect of the new ownership been for ILS?

When we were under Boeing, ILS was always a subsidiary a little bit removed from the core business strategy. The CAMP Systems acquisition has been very good for ILS. CAMP is a global, diversified software and services company that has a range of other companies in its portfolio, which ILS fits in nicely. In the short term, this has given us more flexibility to approach customers who we’ve had a hard time doing that with under Boeing (such as other larger OEMs). Obviously, some of Boeing’s competitors would use ILS’ service but they’d stay at arms’ length. We’ve been able to nurture those relationships and start to build a better value proposition for those other organizations.

What changes do you expect longer term? Where do you see ILS going?

Longer term, we have three areas we’re focused on: expansion, innovation and integration. For expansion, we’re looking to become more global and are looking to increase our footprint. From an innovation perspective, we have years of inventory insight over the 40 years we’ve been in business, so we have a road map (of ideas) that we started building out, plus we have a customer advisory board that we speak to on a regular basis. You’ll see we’ve switched to having more of a user-defined product strategy versus being more siloed. Expect to see some product releases in 2020 and 2021. From an integration perspective, CAMP has a lot of other entities that we could work with to increase the value in supply chain, so we are looking at ways to go to market together.

Speaking of synergies with other CAMP companies, such as Component Control and Corridor, and even across the Hearst group, anything you can share?

We speak to all of the other Hearst enterprise information systems division leadership teams weekly and we’re constantly figuring out ways to bring solutions forward that will benefit our customer bases. We’ve also branched out into Hearst and talked with different publications and financial groups within Hearst to see how we can go forward with production offerings that are tailored to specific communities. For example, we’re talking with Fitch about how we could partner to bring better value propositions to the financial community.

Given the dynamic market today prompted by the COVID-19 pandemic, what parts trends are you seeing?

In today’s environment, a lot of things are being skewed. Demand has dropped but supply remains available. ILS is seeing a lot of people consuming our marketing intelligence data to help value their inventory, which can be useful if they’re seeking a new loan to get through this market situation or if they want to sell off excessive inventory. Operators are accelerating the retirement of certain airframes so they need intelligence on the buy side too.

What’s your parts outlook for the next few months, as a big chunk of the fleet is not regularly flying?

We’re working with several airlines to give them values for parts on their older fleet to help them decide whether to park those aircraft or start parting them out. As we track the parts that hit ILS, we should be able to quickly determine what those aircraft end users are going to do long term.

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.