Fast 5: Farsound Pursues U.S. Aftermarket Growth
Matt Berkebile was named president of Farsound USA in May, where he will oversee Farsound’s growth plans in the U.S. and its new facility in San Antonio, Texas, which will open this summer. He spoke with Aviation Week about the company’s global growth strategies and its new sustainability and technology initiatives.
You will oversee Farsound’s growth in North America in your new role. What was Farsound’s previous presence in this region and how will the new San Antonio facility contribute to its U.S. operations?
Opening this exciting new facility in San Antonio is an enormous milestone for Farsound. We already have a facility in Canada, but the new facility in Texas will cover all of our growing operations in the U.S.
The new facility will start as a warehouse and, in the near future, we will add more operations and grow our workforce, turning this facility into its own entity. San Antonio will serve as a base for all of Farsound’s activities in the Americas, from bespoke MRO supply chain services to aero engine parts logistics. We are looking to obtain Part 145 approval to expand into other areas of the aerospace market. The initial facility will occupy approximately 28,000 ft.2 of specialist warehousing and office facilities.
The expansion will enable the company to enhance the services it offers to its customers across the U.S. Farsound also operates out of facilities in the UK, Canada, Spain, Japan and Singapore.
Farsound also has been growing in Europe. What has that recently entailed?
We recently moved into our new 58,000 ft.2 headquarters in Brentwood, Essex. The state-of-the art facility is located close to Farsound’s old headquarters and has been designed and built entirely from scratch. The building, which is considerably bigger than Farsound’s previous headquarters, has capacity for expansion, with scope to add mezzanine floors and additional facilities as the company grows and recruits more people across all departments and disciplines.
We also recently strengthened our presence in Spain, opening a brand-new bespoke facility in the town of San Fernando de Henares in the province of Madrid. The facility was built for the express purpose of servicing Iberia’s fleet, as well as Farsound’s other key airline customers across Spain, Portugal and Europe. Farsound provides a range of logistics and supply chain services, including kitting solutions, warehouse management, line feed solutions and aviation parts.
The facilities in the UK have implemented several sustainability initiatives. Do you foresee similar moves in the U.S.?
Our new headquarters building has been designed with sustainability and eco-friendly construction at its heart. Solar panels on the roof provide electricity for power and lighting, EV charge points are installed in the car park for electric vehicles and reclaimed greywater will be used for flushing toilets.
Yes—we are implementing our sustainability program across all our sites.
The aftermarket supply chain has recently struggled with delays and shortages. What strategies is Farsound using to minimize customers’ supply chain headaches?
During COVID-19, Farsound continued to purchase parts so that when the aviation market started to recover, we were able to serve our customers with the parts they needed at the right time and at the right location. This was done in conjunction with continuous focus on forecasting, customer feedback and watching the overall picture within the market. All of these have helped Farsound to stay ahead of the curve.
Is Farsound implementing any new technologies into its aftermarket operations?
Technology plays a large part in the new facility with a focus on the latest IT and logistics systems. For example, the operations area in the new HQ building includes a £1.2 million robotic system for the automatic picking of aerospace parts.
We are now looking at an e-commerce system to link with our partners and artificial intelligence to enhance the way in which we work.