A Tiring Situation
Supply chain challenges have been an issue for the past two years. When will we see the light at the end of the tunnel?
I received a call from my friend Gary last week while at the NBAA Maintenance Conference. Gary and I worked together from 1995-2000 at Raytheon Aerospace in Selma, AL. He is now the director of maintenance for a corporate flight department. He asked, "What's the deal with aircraft tires? We normally keep a good stock of spare tires, but I haven't been able to get any for quite a while. If I can't find some tires soon, I may be out of a job in 3-6 months because our aircraft will be down for tires!"
Luckily, a follow up call to Gary this morning revealed that after plenty of emails and phone calls, he had been able to acquire some more tires with the help of Desser.
Gary is not alone. I've heard plenty of stories of how tires are hard to come by — especially for certain aircraft models (like the Hawker 800XP his corporate flight department utilizes).
I came across this guest editorial from May 10, 2021 on aerialfiremag.com by Ken Faire, VP of Sales and Marketing for Desser Aerospace. It discusses some of the issues in the tire supply chain that have lead to the situation we're in.
This is a tiring situation for many maintenance managers. As I talked to aircraft distributors at the NBAA Maintenance Conference, they chuckled when I asked if they had any tires for the 800XP.
As with other supply chain issues over the past two years, this will eventually straighten itself out.
What lessons have we learned from these supply chain challenges?
First of all, manufacturers need to re-think their "just in time" philosophy of sourcing materials and parts from outside vendors. The COVID pandemic and, more recently, Russia's invasion of Ukraine, have shown that supply chain disruption can quickly affect a manufacturer's ability to acquire the materials it needs to keep up with demand.
Secondly, aviation maintenance managers and parts departments need to re-evaluate their spares inventory. Although stocking an abundance of spares can be expensive, do you want to be the one to tell your boss his or her aircraft is down for tires?
Are you having troubles acquiring tires or other parts? I'd like to hear from you. You can email me at jescobar@DOMmagazine.com. All emails wild be held confidential. I just want to get a pulse of what supply chain issues you are dealing with.
Thanks for reading!