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In the hot seat… Keith Mwanalushi of AviTrader speaks with Tom Covella, Group President at STS Component Solutions


AviTrader MRO: What attracted you to this business?

Covella: For me, I wanted to do something different. Something that you can deliver value and make a difference. The aviation aftermarket business is a very dynamic and fast paced business. Every day represents new opportunities and challenges. But the most fascinating part of the business is the relationships that can be established in all of the global markets. I have been very fortunate to be able to forge great relationships in many global markets and that coupled with the items mentioned above is what makes this business what it is.

AviTrader MRO: What does a typical day’s work entail in your job?

Covella: There is rarely a typical day in our business. This is what makes aviation the
exciting business it is. However, the goal is to take the opportunity to check in with
the various international offices we have, review the current opportunities and strategies and how we are progressing and interacting internally with our team and our strategic business partners.

AviTrader MRO: What is the most challenging part of your job?

Covella: It’s finding the time to interact with everyone. For me the people in aviation and especially within STS is what makes us who we are and the business that we are in. Sometimes finding the time to meet and speak with all of your team members and business partners since we have offices in different parts of the world, managing the different time zones is sometimes a challenge.

AviTrader MRO: What is the best way for operators to minimize costly AOG situations?

Covella: Airlines and MRO’s are constantly finding ways to effectively manage their inventories as a means to avoid costly AOG situations. The best ways to accomplish this is to establish a technology based planning and forecasting tool in addition
to aligning yourself with best strategic partners. By implementing these strategies operators can maximise their inventory utilisation and minimise these costly AOG situations.

AviTrader MRO: STS Components Solutions opened a regional office in Singapore late last year. How important is the Asia Pacific region for future growth?

Covella: The Asia Pacific region represents the largest growth market for MRO and
aftermarket services. We are committed to supporting this market and are a firm believer that you need to have a physical presence in these markets to effectively
support the operators and MRO’s. For STS this region represents the largest opportunity for growth within our business.

AviTrader MRO: There are some industry concerns about the high cost of spare components for new generation aircraft, what are your thoughts?

Covella: Although I have stated that the aviation market is very different than other
businesses at the end of the day the old economic proverb “supply verses demand”
has its effect in every market. Thus, the perceived high cost of spare components
for new generation will eventually be challenged by “supply verses demand”. Now
with this being said, we need to look at the new technologies that are being introduced on the newer generation aircraft and what impact these technologies have on the “lifecycle costs” of the components before a true determination is made. I think this has to be looked at on a “caseby-case” basis and over an extended period of time before a firm stance can be established.

AviTrader MRO: How can airlines and/or MROs best manage their spares inventory
at a minimum cost?

Covella: Airlines and MRO’s are constantly being challenged to provide optimal inventory utilisation a cost effective price. This is always difficult to balance but in my
mind if you have the right technologies and the best strategic business partners this can be accomplished. What needs to be clearly defined in your business strategy is what your core competency is and how you want to maximize this. From there, you can compliment this with synergistic business partners to maximize the efficiency and utilization of your spares.

AviTrader MRO: What’s next in the pipeline at STS?

Covella: That is a good question but obviously a sensitive one as well. STS prides itself on its ability to provide “Solutions to Keep you Flying”. Thus, we are always looking at new ways to provide value based solutions that can effectively utilize our capabilities and services. We are committed to being a global provider of services with a physical presence in each of the geographic markets. If you look at the past year we have establishes a physical presence in South America (Brazil); Asia (Singapore) and Eastern Europe (Estonia). In our mind we will continue to look at new markets and regions that we can further expand our business.In addition to this we have built the footprint to becoming a service provider on some of the newer generation aircraft
such as the B787. It is our goal to be on the leading edge of these new aircraft platforms and we are committed to becoming a market leader on these aircraft.
For STS, 2014 and beyond represent some exciting new opportunities and strategic
developments. Stay tuned and you will see these roll out in the next couple of months
as we continue to build our legacy. We are excited about the opportunities in front of
us and we look forward to our continued growth and success.

Note: The above article was originally published in AviTrader’s monthly MRO magazine. To download the full .pdf copy, please click here.