When you get down to the basics, we humans must cooperate with each other in order to survive and prosper. Each one of us takes up space and uses resources. If we don't add back more than we consume, we are draining or depleting resources needed by others. Read into that whatever resources you wish - food, money, relationships, etc. At work, we are the same. As employees we also are taking up the company's resources. We are provided space to work, heat/AC and light in that space, computers, telephones, etc. Periodically, we receive a paycheck. If we don't add back to the company at least what we consume, we may not be in that job very long. This holds true for janitors, engineers, and the CEO. This applies for all the assets of the company, like the business aircraft.
The corporate aircraft and flight department use resources. If they are not adding value to the corporation, they are not needed and should be gone. It is up to you to maximize the value of yourself and the business aircraft your operate.
Organizations and groups like NBAA, GAMA, AOPA, No Plane No Gain and others all provide us with great examples justifying and proving the worth of business aircraft. They start with the obvious, that use of an aircraft maximizes use of time. Most touch on the value of that time to the corporation. But as members of the aviation department, you need to take that generalization and make it apply to your corporation.
Understand how the use of business aircraft adds value to your company. What are the unique benefits that your business aircraft adds to the accomplishment of your company's goals? Yes, the aircraft allows for more usable time. But who's usable time is being increased and what does the aircraft enable them to do with that time? Time is a nonrenewable resource. Employees are often called a company's most valued asset. The effective use of an aircraft allows valued employees to effectively use their limited time to drive the profitability of the company.
Develop ways to measure and document how the aviation department adds value. There are many ways to accomplish this. They need too apply to your situation. If your business is EMS, the measures are different than for a corporate shuttle. If the company is using the aircraft to reach new clients, can you document this and assign some value? Does your aircraft utilization strategy support the corporate goals and mission?
You need to also understand your costs. What are the costs to operate and own the aircraft? Are you able to minimize the market depreciation on the aircraft by keeping the aircraft updated and in a "ready to sell" condition? Use this to develop a Cost-Benefit Analysis for the aircraft and the aviation department. You may calculate the aviation department has an annual operating budget of $1.75 million. Can you calculate the value to the corporation? If the aircraft use was critical in winning a billion dollar contract, some of the value of that contract can be "awarded" to having the aircraft, no?
Things to consider trying to quantify regarding the contributions of the business aircraft:
- Adding to the company's market share
- Adding to the profitability of the company
- Enabling the (key) employees to maximize use of their time
- Increasing employee and customer satisfaction or loyalty
- Keeping senior leadership secure
Whether it is business courses at the local university, online education, or the NBAA CAM program, find and use resources that help you to understand and communicate the "business" part of business aviation. Become a marketer of the aviation department both within the company and within the community. Develop your leadership skills and people skills. Add back more than you consume.