OutsOURCing key processes raises standards

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Westland Helicopters in Yeovil has awarded a contract worth £20M over five years to manage core elements of its post sales and repair service to Product Support Ltd (PSL), a national supply chain and packaging company based in Bedford.

Under the terms of the contract PSL will be responsible for the receipt, processing, packing and despatch of all spare parts produced by both Westland and third party contract manufacturers for a wide range of helicopters including Apache, Sea King, EH101, Lynx and Puma.

Douglas Evans, chief executive at PSL, says that the ability to trace a component right through the extended supply chain is vital within the defence industry. “Our methods for receiving, processing and managing the despatch of high value parts have been developed through many years of work within the aerospace and defence sectors.”

PSL also has expertise in the design and production of specialist packaging for military components to the MoD Standard DR14. Products are shipped to more than 15 destinations worldwide including Brazil, Malaysia, Japan, Australia, Oman, Canada and Norway.

Evans adds: “Helicopter spare parts are a very expensive commodity and designing protective packaging for these is a complex task. We have to produce packaging that can withstand the rigours of many varied environments, ranging from desert to jungle, as well as for components entering long term storage. Given the value of these components it is vital that when they are removed from their packaging they are in pristine condition and ready for use.”

PSL also manages a repair and overhaul distribution centre in Yeovil and a major supply chain operation for the Apache helicopter program inside Wattisham Station near Ipswich, on behalf of Westland Helicopters.

In addition to its direct work with Westland, PSL has established a special relationship with the MoD, which facilitates the transfer of goods between both parties without any item leaving the PSL support centre. By working for both organisations PSL has been able to reduce the time it takes for Westland to receive payment for goods, and at the same time reduce the overall delivery time to the MoD.

As part of the continuing development of the relationship, PSL is also working closely with Westland on the development of innovative supply chain practices to enable Westland to further improve customer service. The collaboration includes work on IOS. (Integrated Operational Support) programs for the Sea King and Merlin helicopters.

Commenting on the award of the new contract, Nick Broom, head of distribution at Westland Helicopters, says that PSL had already helped to innovate a number of key processes which have helped to raise standards of customer service as well as generating hard financial benefits. “I believe that their skills combined with our product range will enable Westland to deliver exceptional levels of post sales customer care and service.”

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