During the first week of March, Duncan Aviation’s Chairman Emeritus Robert Duncan, Chairman Todd Duncan, Vice President Jeannine Falter and Regional Manager Alan Huggett devoted three days to visiting competitors and customers while breaking in the new Citation M2. They spent the final two days of the work week at a Customer Advisory Board meeting at Duncan Aviation’s Provo, Utah, facility. Shortly after his return, Robert reflected on the trip and provided the following observations.
Robert Duncan stands next to Duncan Aviation's Citation M2 with a new double-take design. Click here to watch a timelapse video of the M2's unique scheme.
It’s not often we allot ourselves much time to step away from the many Duncan Aviation locations and look at what we’re doing from an outsider’s perspective. It’s even rarer that we get to monitor what our competitors are doing. After three days of doing just that, I came away with a few overwhelming impressions.
Renewed Appreciation for Bizav
The amount of work we completed in just a few days would be unthinkable if we had flown commercially. We spent about 10 hours in the air, which equates to about 3,500 miles traveled in one work week. That itinerary would be impossible to keep with using any other mode of transportation. We could have easily added another week to the trip had we flown commercially.
What a business aircraft can do for a company is increase productivity. We service the aircraft that keep the business world moving at an incredible pace. We help connect the world and support the global presence for many businesses. Taking part in that process first-hand reminded me how important our work is and how much it affects the business world every minute of every day.
Marketing Our Success Is as Simple as Showing Our Products
Thanks to our paint team, no arrival or departure went unnoticed. The M2 is a flying billboard that highlights the creativity of our design team and the high-quality product our paint team produces. One of the first things people do when they see the aircraft is go up and touch the surface; they’re amazed at how smooth it is.
That’s the best form of marketing—making our product available and letting people take it in.
When the plaid Mustang was first completed and flown, people would say, “oh, that’s interesting,” which meant they didn’t like it. In contrast, everyone has had a positive reaction to this paint scheme. The M2 had a huge visual impact and was universally liked. That’s a win on many levels.
Duncan Aviation Pride
The trip taught us that although we have a lot of competition, we have even more to be proud of.
I was overwhelmed by the remarkable respect and admiration people in the aviation community have for our company and people. I often come back from these trips on a high because I get to see all of our accomplishments from the outside looking in, through the lens of those who see us as friends and adversaries.
The aviation community spans the globe, but it’s a relatively small community, meaning close-knit relationships are key. We visited two competitors, who we also view as customers because, well, we do business with everyone.
We were incredibly well-received by both companies and plan to work more closely with them in the future. They each have unique talents and niches, and we want to support those by offering services they can’t perform on their own. By supporting them and ensuring we deliver a product up to our standards, we keep their customers happy, consequently keeping them happy. As we continue to deliver, those relationships become stronger. This is one of the main goals of our avionics shops, and rapid response teams.
Reflection Leads to Innovation
Often times, we’re so immersed in what’s going on day-to-day, it’s hard to generate new ideas and think creatively, which is why it’s important to get out and expose ourselves and the rest of the team to new ideas.
After I walked through our competitors’ hangars and listened to our customers suggest improvement at the advisory board meeting, I spent hours recording all the possible avenues we could consider for Duncan Aviation’s distant and more immediate future. The trip yielded more work for our many locations and sparked the start of a few new relationships. It spurred some great ideas and allowed us to pat ourselves on the back a bit.
What we do each day is impressive. Because we remain on the cutting edge and invest in our future, what we do tomorrow and the next day will be extraordinary. We are unlike any other. We are Duncan Aviation.