Case Study: Buying Group Members Team Together For National Service

Courtesy of AFFLINK

While things are certainly better today, it has been no secret that the aviation industry hit some turbulent business conditions over the past few years. With rising fuel costs, staff shortages, and a fragile economy, many airlines have simply gone bust.

Sun Country Airlines, a low-cost airline originally purchased by a group of pilots and flight attendants of the defunct Braniff International in 1982, was not immune to the uncertainties in the air transportation industry. Improving efficiency was not a task to be taken lightly. Without it, Sun Country Air may follow in Braniff’s path.

The Challenge
With 32 destinations including Mexico, the Caribbean and Costa-Rica, Sun Country required solutions that would allow it to excel in national service with expertise at a local level, while also eliminating inefficiencies within its supply chain. It was time to examine current inefficient systems to determine creative methods for banishing some of what plagued the company and the airline industry.

The Solution
Headquartered in Mendota Heights, Minnesota, Sun Country Airlines selected longtime AFFLINK member Van Paper Company, St. Paul, Minnesota, as its distributor of choice. After servicing all Minnesota locations and shipping to a few outside of their base state for some time, Van Paper made the decision to introduce the account to AFFLINK, a buying group based in Tuscaloosa, Alabama. Firmly believing in AFFLINK’s aptitude to expand the business through its national service capabilities, Van Paper CEO Mark Van brought in the AFFLINK business development team.

Together Van and the AFFLINK team were able to uncover several opportunities for improved supply-chain solutions. Through the utilization of ELEVATE, a proprietary analysis tool, the team discovered that inefficient systems were being employed.

“[They were] flying products down in their jets, thus wasting space which could be used for other revenue streams,” says David Dell, director of sales – hospitality and foodservice for AFFLINK.

A national plan for supply-chain efficiency and local support was established while additional AFFLINK members were brought in to close the gaps. Sun Country has successfully been purchasing from Gulf Coast Paper, Victoria, Texas, for the last six months, and the executive team has requested two routes be set up for their Mississippi locations with service from Osceola Supply, Midway, Florida, another AFFLINK member, within the coming months.

The Future
After experiencing such fluid successes with AFFLINK, the ELEVATE process, and AFFLINK members, Sun Country Airlines reports cost reductions and improved supply-chain efficiencies, both of which have helped to smooth out this airline’s business turbulence.