Periodically, Second Line of Defense examines evolving business models for the aerospace and defense industries.
This is especially important given global dynamics and fiscal stringencies in Europe and the United States.
Recently, SLD’s Murielle Delaporte discussed the approach of Marshall Aerospace in an interview with senior leadership of the company, including the CEO, Steve Fitzgerald.
Excerpts from the interview are included in this piece, and more of the interview will be published in the next issue of Soutien, Logistique et Defense being published for this year’s Paris Air Show.
In the interview, the Marshall team underscored their approach to partnership.
As the CEO underscored:
We provide integrated operations support through our partnerships with Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEMs). we’ve never had our own products, so we work closely with the OEMs and the government customers.” we are always looking for partnership, and we’re not looking necessarily to be the dominant player. We want to be offering the best value we can in partnership with our customers and suppliers.
The Marshall CEO emphasized that given the company provides its expertise in partnership it is focused on tailoring its support to the customer requirements.
For example, in Canada, we brought about 80 engineers where we work with a company called Cascade who are the prime contractor, and we’ve got white collar engineers working in Canada. Conversely in places like Holland where we have a small office, we’re delivering an offset commitment wherever we are in the world, we have to pick what’s appropriate to the customers needs.
The advantage of being a small organization was highlighted throughout the interview as well as not being an OEM. If they were an OEM, the OEM partners which they have in support contracts would be concerned about intellectual property leakage. In a relationship with Marshall, they simply don’t have that concern.
According to the CEO:
We’re very flexible in our approach. We don’t have defined business model that we can’t deviate from. And we’re quite flexible in terms of our approach. And we’re very agile as well.”
As an organization because we are relatively small; we’re quite forward-thinking, and quite easy to work with. And we’re actually quite quick to react. Being privately owned, we have effectively a very few number of shareholders, and those shareholders are the Marshall family and held in a trust, which is controlled by the chairman.
Therefore, unlike a PLC or an XA, we can actually go to our board and the shareholders quite quickly for decisions on some major issues, that allows us to be fast, flexible and respond market conditions quite quickly.
In the upcoming interview in Soutien Logistique et Defense, some cases of the execution of this approach are discussed.