Sometimes the big ideas in aviation come from the simplest thoughts.
For example, Ken Willaford, AI and owner of Aeromech, Inc., a maintenance facility on Lakeland Linder Regional Airport in Florida, stocked lots of parts. In an effort to expand his business, he put a truck on the road as a roving parts store. But when fuel prices started soaring, he found it wasn’t financially feasible to keep the truck, pay a driver, as well as cover the costs of travel.
But, with a good list of clients around Florida, he thought there had to be a way to service them and their customers in a more economical way.
His thinking resulted in a new business called Aircraft Parts Express, Inc. He sets up kiosks at FBOs stocked with parts that the FBO feels are the best sellers. The FBO can buy the stock or sell it to retail customers, earning a commission on items sold.
The beauty of the arrangement is the FBO has an inventory of parts and Willaford sells more parts. The only requirement for the FBO is to provide space for the kiosk and keep the inventory in order and report the sales.
Currently there are kiosks at Lakeland, Leesburg, Pembroke Pines and Winter Haven, all in Florida, and Columbus, Ga. Willaford says he expects to continue expanding the kiosks in other areas.
A feature of the kiosk is a computerized aircraft parts system (CAPS) that allows a search for the part number for any aircraft make and model.