June 22, 2023
Lean management, straightforward lines of communication and a commitment to God, Country and Family all ensure that King Aerospace always represents the best possible value to the U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) and other government clients.
“We work diligently to provide the best possible solution for our government customer at the best value for the government and for the taxpayer,” notes Mike Riley, company contracts manager. “That is how we approach every contract because, after all, we are all taxpayers, too.”
Brian Sinkule, company chief financial officer, is a 30-year industry veteran and very familiar with the nuances of government procurement contracts. He notes that, although DoD maintains compliance requirements for all approved contractors to help keep costs in check, most large companies simply have “a lot of bureaucracy built into their processes.
“With a smaller company like King Aerospace, the government avoids paying for the layers upon layers of management that are common at larger entities,” he says. “We maintain a lean cost structure that really does provide the best value to our government customers.”
As a family-owned company, King Aerospace has maintained this leaner operational model even as it, too, has expanded its footprint and services.
“It comes down to growing your cost structure at a lower level than your revenue stream,” Sinkule adds. “When King Aerospace bids for a new contract, I don’t need to cover the costs for dozens of company executives. We are able to still grow as a company and grow our capabilities without raising those costs.”
While additional staff may be needed to execute a contract responsibly and effectively, “that usually doesn’t require another executive,” adds Riley, who served as a U.S. Air Force procurement officer before joining King Aerospace in 2015. “That enables us to be more responsive, less bureaucratic and less costly.”
Companies must also resist “mission creep” and adding costs as work on a contract progresses. “Other companies may also look [at government contracts] for opportunities to add costs down the line,” Riley continues. “There are lots of times when a contractor may come back and say, ‘we bid to do A-B-C, but you really want A-B-C-D.’
“King Aerospace does not overstep like that,” he emphasizes. “We are up front about exactly what we determine will be necessary to fulfill our government customer’s requirements.”
Of course, value extends beyond cost considerations to other metrics, including the ability to perform quality work, on-time and to the customer’s complete satisfaction. By definition, leaner operations also require fewer layers of communication.
“It might take weeks for a request to pass through all the channels at larger organizations,” Riley says. “Our customers know that if they have a question or concern, they can simply give me a call and have an answer immediately.”
A strong company ethos, commitment to Servant Leadership and adherence to the company’s Cornerstone Principles all guide King Aerospace’s relationship with the government. Sinkule, a longtime finance expert who “is always worried about the bottom line,” admits with a chuckle that he’s still adjusting to that mindset.
“Mr. King’s main concern is simply making sure the company is healthy and able to keep going while doing right for our customers,” he says. “That takes some getting used to for a CFO because most of us just don’t get to live in that kind of world.”