If you run or are involved in running a business, you’ll fall into one of these two groups. For some businesses, using a courier service is a once in a while event born out of convenience or a necessary bailout of a tricky situation. For others, it’s a weekly or even daily necessity integral to their operations.
When your project is overdue, that print run just completed and your event is already in progress, you have a critical part that needs to get 200 miles away today, or an item that needs to be delivered direct to a client in their office, having a trusted courier to call on is a priceless investment. In this situation, you’re trading money for time and convenience, and a local courier who knows how to service customers will make the convenience factor very apparent. Let’s say for example this was an item that you could feasibly drive there yourself. By the time you factored in all the time and gas money, not to mention an entire work day of productivity lost, it wouldn’t at all be worth it.
This is precisely where a good business relationship will pay dividends- clients will be impressed or at the very least not lost, when they see that you’re doing whatever it takes to successfully deliver that project. Think of it as business insurance. Plus, it makes for a great story that impresses. And we all know, great stories are retold. “Dave, we just finished the prototypes this morning and we’re exclusively flying them to you so you’ll have them in hand this afternoon.” Who do you think is more likely to win that account- the company who has the confidence to do whatever it takes to get things there immediately, or the one who snail mails it a week later?
Couriers serve a different role in businesses that have weekly or daily delivery needs. These often include time sensitive, unconventionally shaped, exposed or heavy items that would take too long to deliver via major carrier. And in many cases, those typical carriers wouldn’t even be able to transport these items to begin with.
Many companies we work with have regular or periodic samples, or critical parts that need to return to service right away. If you’re involved in industrial applications, you know that downtime is your worst nightmare. Depending on your size, it can cost anywhere from thousands to tens of thousands or more per hour! So now it should be painfully obvious how the quickest transportation of your critical parts can save you at the minimum, many thousands of dollars. Take the case of overnighting an item vs flying or ground transporting it same day- it will be a difference of 10-12 hours, saving you at least $20,000 based on a $2000/hr worth of units produced.
Often, the ease of working with a local courier is alone worth it. Imagine if you had to fill out a lengthy and detailed form and possibly even pay with a credit card every time you had a task for your in-office contractors. You would quickly begin to dread the process. Instead, when you work with a local courier, ordering a pickup is easy as shooting off an email, text, or call if that's your preference. Not to mention, you’ll often get payment terms by setting up an account, and you’ll have time to batch pay consolidated invoices at your leisure instead of rushing to prepay each and every time.
Having a local courier to call on is more than just someone to run quick deliveries; it can be like having your own personal expedited shipping concierge, a shipping consultant to make things a lot easier on you. Beyond that, it’s simply easier, faster, and better business.
Besides fuel prices and pilot problems, the #1 thing keeping aircraft operators up at night is the dreaded AOG. The very thought of an airplane stranded at some distant and unequipped airport is enough to turn even the most hardened veterans into insomniacs, biting their nails in a cold sweat as thousands in lost revenue and costs ratchet up faster than the US National Debt. The potential ripple effect, particularly when that aircraft is eating away at thin margins, is why a thorough AOG and reliable MRO (maintenance, repair and overhaul) strategy is so important.
An AOG has the uncanny ability to especially happen at the worst times. When it does, every minute that aircraft sits on the ground is critical. Although each situation has its own unique set of challenges, a lot of downtime can be avoided with prompt part sourcing and quick shipping on the ground and in the air.
AOG incidents typically follow a general pattern:
1. The airplane becomes disabled.
2. An airline or operator desperately and frantically calls its OEM and MRO for support.
3. An AOG team of quality inspectors, engineers, planners, and operations managers gets dispatched to assess the aircraft's condition.
4. A quality assessment is written up that details the problem that occurred and what parts are needed to rectify the condition.
5. The operator agrees to the scope of work and signs a contract to begin repairs.
6. Parts are ordered and additional personnel, tools, and equipment are rush delivered to the airframe site.
7. Repairs begin, and upon completion are signed off by a quality manager, assuring the aircraft is airworthy and ready for service once again.
8. Ideally, the aircraft can then be repositioned and returned to operation or if necessary, flown elsewhere to finish usually more complex repairs not possible at its AOG airport.
Of course, planning for every single AOG contingency is difficult and not cost-effective in terms of personnel and parts. The range of possible scenarios can range from a simple avionics or equipment failure to an aircraft experiencing a runway incursion, requiring major structural repairs. However, the cost of not developing a strategy before disaster strikes involves severe consequences to service schedules, revenue and passenger satisfaction. Here are three major AOG variables to consider.
The three variables include:
When you have all the information required to perform an accurate analysis, you can begin looking at aircraft material readiness. Identifying critical parts and developing a recommended spare parts list is important for older aircraft that may have limited availability of parts. Generally, big OEMs like Boeing and Embraer outline part information on their planes, but complete MRO support can also be provided, from ordering to repair service so fleet owners can better predict future expenses. Parts can be separated into categories such as no-go, go-if, and go items, need accompanying important details like average interval between unscheduled removal, quantity per aircraft, processing time for ordering, and average time for shop processing. By planning properly, you'll arrive at a comfortable spare float quantity necessary to guarantee each aircraft can be operated without excess and costly inventory.
The best AOG, of course, is the one you never have. But can AOGs ever truly be avoided? Not likely, but they can be minimized. As a critical focus area, aviation fleet management requires detailed planning, preparation, and data to mitigate the impact of an AOG situation.
Many airlines and operators use these following strategies to eliminate or reduce the impact of an AOG:
Preselected Parts - Inventory can be obtained to anticipate AOG-related issues by examining aircraft usage data and identifying problematic parts through a trusted MRO partner. However, availability of parts is only one task in the AOG process. To expedite deliveries, an MRO must be able to provide and contract for reliable, flexible and fast shipping services, generate proper paperwork, and if applicable, understand local import/export regulations. Unexpected customs mishaps have thwarted many carefully crafted AOG logistics plans, causing delays ranging from a few hours to a few weeks. That's never a situation in which you'd want to find yourself, so plan accordingly.
Flyaway kits - Some airlines, for example, arrange a flyaway kit with important items that have a track record of failure. These kits could either be owned by the operator or procured by an aviation services company. Since they would already be in place, immediately availability during groundings would offer substantial downtime mitigation.
Strategic Partnerships - Often, another operator that flies and maintains a similar fleet at a common destination airport can be a valuable strategic partner. A win-win partnership can work wonders.
Cannibalization – In some cases, your best option could be removing a part from an aircraft that has been grounded for maintenance. With quick air/ground shipping, this allows the AOG aircraft to return to service faster rather than waiting for that part to travel through the entire sourcing process. Just don't forget to replace those parts!
While a solid AOG strategy is essential for any successful return to revenue service, having the right MRO and expedited shipping relationship to support that strategy is just as critical. At Tailwind, we're happy to help with your AOG situation and have saved operators many thousands of dollars with quick delivery of their AOG parts, from props to avionics and even larger items like entire wing sections.
Choosing and understanding your expedited shipping options can sometimes get a little confusing, so allow us to clear things up for you. Just check out the chart above or download on the bottom of this post. Hey, you just might learn something new! We have three general rush shipping options to choose from. It's best to think of them based on what you need- Same Day Far Away (Expedited Air- about 600 miles), Next Day Anywhere (Air Cargo Network), and Same Day 500 Miles or Less, (Expedited Ground). The best choice for you often comes down to your needs and budget.
Let's start with the quickest and most premium priced, Expedited Air. This is the best choice for relatively smaller critical deliveries that need to go generally under 600 to 750 miles away. Items can include even palletized cargo up to about a van load, depending on aircraft, yet most of the time shipments are smaller items. This is a white glove process that mobilizes dedicated ground transportation and aircraft to get your item door to door the quickest way possible. And so, even unboxed or uncrated items are safe to ship. There aren't any schedules to accommodate, lines or queues. We wrangle the closest free vehicle, pick up your shipment and get it on a smaller dedicated aircraft right away. It's then flown direct to the closest small airport to your destination. Upon arrival, ground transportation whisks it away to its final destination. It's the quickest offering- there's no other way to get it there any faster. Yet it can be cheaper than you think, provided you have more volume. Although, it can be sensitive to things like weather and shipment size, so choose carefully. Keep in mind, this sort of service can also really begin to make sense as part of an overnight middle mile solution as well. If you have regular customers and are offering overnight shipping, a plane load, combined with final mile ground transportation can easily service more widespread and rural areas much more quickly than standard overnight air cargo. This would allow you to get up to a couple pallets worth of items to your customers with ease, in addition to giving you more time margin to collect and sort those orders- something that ground-only transportation can't provide.
Do you have an overnight or two day shipment involving at least one box measuring over 20 inches? Forget about Fedex- give us a call for better pricing and service. Your second option is best for next day service, and can sometimes even accomplish same day service (yet this takes at least one day lead time). Utilizing our next day air cargo network, we're able to get your shipment across the country with ease. Often, dedicated or semi-dedicated vehicles are used to pickup your items, which can be boxed, crated or palletized, and flown via one of our air partners to the destination of your choice. Our ground transport is waiting right on the other end to pickup and deliver your shipment to its endpoint, whether that's a business or commercial address. For long distance shipments, this is generally the best cost/speed combination. The only caveats are possible weather delays and if your delivery destination is far outside a metro area, which can add some time and cost.
Finally, there's our Expedited Ground option. Whether you have boxes, envelopes, or palletized items, this is the most economically priced, and definitely the fastest under about 110 or so miles. Based on your needs, items are likely going direct from pickup to delivery. That means no staging and shuttling between terminals or other costly delays. We can usually accommodate same day orders, dispatching a driver to pickup your item as soon as your order is paid for and shipping details are put into our system. As always, we can also easily provide daily same day service as part of your middle miles to keep your or your customers inventory flowing reliably.
Ultimately, the speed of service is dictated by your needs. But some choices are made for you by circumstance. Stamford CT to San Francisco CA by the next day? Our overnight air cargo is the way to go. Likewise, if you have a few boxes that need to get from Edison NJ to Bethlehem PA, it will be there in a few hours with one of our dedicated vans. NYC to Raleigh, NC same day? If there's a cutoff time, it has to be flown direct- door to door in about 4.5 hours. Just need it there same day? It can go via dedicated ground. A 9AM pickup would have it there by 7PM.
The world of expedited courier shipping and delivery can be a bit overwhelming sometimes. Hopefully this post gives you some solid insight behind the different shipping options you have available. Any questions, feel free to reach out to us here or simply call 732 979 2293. We look forward to working with you!
The ride isn't exactly a quick trip, clocking in at 11.5 hours without stops, and around $150 in fuel costs depending on your ride, but it's a doable feat for one driver with plenty of the right kinds of power food/energy drinks and copious rest beforehand. With another driver sharing the load, you have a perfectly reasonable day of travel with time for an actual meal outside of the confines of the car. That's a priceless advantage when you're really racking up the miles. Who wouldn't want to grab some real southern BBQ or avoid the typical chains for the local favorite spot?
So what if you just don't want to drive? Sure there's airline travel clocking in at $150 and slightly under 2.5 hours flight time, but once you add up the hours of waiting before and after your departure/arrival, you're looking at closer to 4.5 total. Then there's transportation to and from the airport, which could be another $120 plus, and don't forget those taxis or Ubers once you want to get around there. If you don't mind smaller airplanes, you could hitch a ride and be there in 6 hours in a slower plane. In faster small airplanes, 4.5 or even 3.5 hours is possible. This makes it the best and most convenient travel option overall, but unless you have a wealthy friend who just can't wait to buy a bunch of fuel and shell out for operating costs all for the sheer joy of your company, you'd be looking at a charter in the realm of at least $4000, which gets practically reasonable if you're bringing friends. Then you'd also have to add in that ground transportation once again. If you happen to have or share your own jet, you're probably not even reading this, and you might as well go to the Caribbean. It's worth the extra hour and you can afford the operating costs, landing fees and champagne anyway.
If you prefer to rough it, but aren't the camping type, a Greyhound will get you there in a mere 19.5 hours and two transfers for about $139.
Does flying still seem dangerous to you even though the Wright Brothers figured it out over 100 years ago? It's closer to 20 hours by the romantic clickety clack of the rails. And, you get to seek solace in the fact that we have the best rail system of any third world country. But, at least there's no road mileage or grimy rest stops and if NJTransit, Metro North and LIRR are any indication, train sleep is always good sleep.
I won't cover boating because there are no reasonable options, unless you have about 30 hours and you're willing to buy lots of gas. It's the same for horseback minus the gas, plus the water stops and feed, because they're about the same speed. But if you have about a week, you can cruise there, and to a bunch of other places too, for about $500.
At Tailwind, we usually stick to road travel, so I'm a bit biased. Therefore, I'd recommend driving there, and I know you can do it too. Otherwise, you'd be missing out on key local flavor (aka BBQ and coffee spots). The Charleston area of South Carolina is the closest place you can reasonably drive to for a bona fide taste of Spring temps. Unfortunately we don't get to pick our destinations, but you do, and Charleston sounds pretty good right about now.
Originally published 1/19.
After you've spent enough years on the road, you slowly begin to hone in on the right road diet. Or if like me, you're stubborn enough, you eventually stop eating things that screw up your day in one way or another. Also, having plenty of time to listen to the likes of Tim Ferriss and Joe Rogan certainly helps. All that bleeding edge info about meats, fats and sugars starts to finally penetrate even the thickest of skulls, and the blood sugar energy-crash roller coaster begins to give way to dense slow burn energy.
Here's what works for me: skip the breads and sugary drinks at all costs. Desserts will precipitate an energy rush followed by the desire to hibernate (not a roadworthy aspiration). Pizza is a tempting but dangerous proposition. Coffee is both friend and foe. Redbull is best used in emergency situations, like the second to last leg of that trip back from Indiana, when Pittsburgh flies by but the endless miles of the same farms render the minutes into slow motion sludge. Even if you're not on some form of keto, paleo or The Eskimo Diet, the best energy is delivered the old fashioned way, via MEAT, especially when tasty things like spices and cranberries are incorporated.
The holidays are over :( so throw out those stale cookies! To seriously level up your snack game whether you're on the road or not, these are what you need. If you're a total jerky noob, this sample pack will prime your palate before digging in deep.
Just Another Day At The Office...
Sometimes the pleasantly unexpected has a way of catching you off guard in the best of ways, like a bite of pie that zings your tastebuds with about a thousand times more delicious flavor than you expected. A funny thing happens the first time a customer tells you that you saved their life, or day, or week- you may not really believe it. Have you ever experienced that? Part of it has more than a little to do with how normal it feels. You're just doing your job. That long distance drive or 600 mile charter flight, or 3 AM dispatch time just seems like another exciting yet relatively normal day in the business. But to you, the customer, it's much more than that. It's about knowing you can rely on someone to be the priceless key component in a chain of events. And this is where I vow to always be the strong link. Because being that vital link is being your life, day, or week saver, and I wouldn't have it any other way.