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Interview with Yohan Ferdinando of Aerospheres Ltd.

Updated: 5 days ago

Hagit Hamm of ERPiQ visits the Aerospheres’ venue

1. Q: Could you tell us a bit more about Aerospheres?


A: Basically we are a distributor of aviation chemicals that are being used by airlines and aircraft maintenance companies for MRO (maintenance, repair, overhaul). Our business started in 1990 and has expanded its product portfolio to 14,000 products which we supply, partly, through our customer e-commerce platform. 1200 products are available online for direct global shipping on a next day basis. We have about 800 to 900 customers which we provide on a 24-7 and 365-day basis. Up until COVID, 99 percent of our customer base was ad-hoc but since we have focused more on e-commerce and continue to expand our base of returning customers. We are really happy with that as one-off customers take a lot of time so this is a big step that we are taking!


2. Q: Have you been working on any exciting projects over the years?


A: As a company we are trying to expand our current premises in UK. This is a brand new project which is currently still in the planning stage and is set to finalise in 2025. As we continue to grow as a business, we need more flexibility and storage space for our products so we can continue to supply our customers globally. As supplying our customers across the world is a big part of our activities, we are also busy setting up offices outside of the UK which may be followed by additional distribution centres that can function as a regional hub.


We are also looking at making our ordering system more autonomous. When a customer e-mail comes in with a request for a quote or purchase, a human now has to reply which inevitably causes delays. If we can automate these replies, linking back to our ERP-system, this saves us time (and money). This trial currently is in its first stages but can be very promising for us, given the amount of orders we get in on a daily basis.


3. Q: How about the products you supply?


A: All our products are ready-made and can be used instantly. Certain products are manufactured in larger drums which makes them less suitable for smaller maintenance requirements. One of the best examples of this is paint which we sometimes decant on-site. We have an advantage over our competitors as we are able to provide quantities of our products tailored to the needs of our customers. When it comes to fabric (for aircraft interiors) or composite material (for aircraft exteriors) we can also tailor these quantities by cutting the required material. Another challenge is the shelf life of our products which sometimes is limited. A good example are composites which are kept in a freezer at minus 18 degrees and have only a 6-month shelf life. Warehouse management software of Priority software is therefore pivotal for Aerospheres. 


4. Q: How many employees does Aerosopheres have?


A: We currently have about 70 employees, but we are part of FDH, which is a global leader in supply chain solutions for aerospace and defence companies which in total has around 1200 employees.


As we cover an entire supply chain, Aerospheres has a broad range of departments ranging from sales to procurement and from quality to IT etc. We are very proud that we have a diverse culture within the company as we have employees from Canada and Latin America all the way to Europe and Asia. This really helps when multilingual requirements come into play or when customers have specific needs. We have 20 languages on our website and as we have such a wide variety of nationalities working for us we truly can serve customers across the entire globe. 


5. Q: When did Aerospheres and ERPiQ cross paths?


A: We have known ERPiQ’s founders, Nadav and Hagit, since 2012 so that is quite a while now. Once they took their own direction and founded ERPiQ, we were immediately interested as we had good previous experiences with them. As soon as they started their company we showed interest that we wanted to join them, which we did in December 2022 as the 4th or 5th customer to get on board


They are a good bunch of people to talk and work with and are very skilful at what they do. They further improved our Priority ERP-software system which basically manages our whole business operation, from purchase orders to warehouse management.


6. Q: What software is Aerospheres using?


A: As said, we use Priority as a software for basically everything. All functionalities are embedded into this single program. The reason we like Priority is because it is very light and browser based. You can have the full blown software, running on virtually every computer. This means we don’t have to install or administer software on a user basis, instead will able to provide high user friendliness.


Priority is very powerful and can be customised indefinitely. Our experience is that bigger software is expensive and tends to be more rigid. When it comes to Priority you generally have an answer for everything, also because the highly skilled developers at ERPiQ know how to maximise its potential. In our industry it’s all about traceability: we need to be able to separate each batch when it comes in. With the current software we can differentiate, as our internal tracking system (which also takes into account the shelf life of certain products) is excellent. Traceability is important as historically there have been a lot of bogus parts being used in the industry. Full traceability and quality control are therefore standard if you want to stay a long-term player on the market. We at Aerospheres are able to trace our products all along the supply chain. When you imagine that accidents have happened over wrong screws being installed on cockpit windows, you learn how important traceability really is.


7. Q: How did working with ERPiQ benefit your company?


A: ERPiQ have helped us with the whole e-commerce project I mentioned earlier and integrated our website with Priority. ERPiQ has expertise and implemented changes which benefited our efficiency, which is not easy for a 30 year old company that was mainly paper based and old fashioned. We are now way more competitive as efficiency in our business is key. One small improvement in our digital ordering system can save us lots of time, given the quantity of orders we get in.


One of the biggest projects we are now working on with ERPiQ is how to implement our dangerous goods systems into Priority. This is a trial which is done from scratch and just shows how flexible the ERPiQ team is to facilitate such a big project through Priority. Instead of using third party software we can use Priority for everything.



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