James Kingston has worked for Aerodyne since he was 18. He started by spending around six months in the warehouse understanding how the manufacturing part of the business worked and then spent time moving around the office in account manager and business development roles.
He has settled in the marketing and sales functions, and we chatted to him about how he has seen the business grow and what he thinks the future holds.
Then and now
“Back when I first started, Aerodyne was a smaller and simpler business model. We did a lot of standard manufacturing, and our innovative style hadn’t really kicked in” explains James.
Aerodyne prides itself on being very collaborative these days. They love to get close to prospects and clients and use a lot of data and analysis to help them determine the very best solution that can be created. “As we spoke to more and more end users, we knew we wanted to go down the bespoke manufacturing route” says James. “We wanted to become experts in aerodynamics, and I think we’ve already achieved that. We’re certainly getting used to hearing feedback which describes us as experts in fuel savings so we’re doing some things right.”
“We are very collaborative because we know our clients are experts in what they need from their fleet. SO, by combining this expertise with our knowledge of aerodynamics, we should have a sound basis to brainstorm ideas and create innovative solutions” explains James.
Aerodyne’s approach is to get as involved as their client is comfortable with. They love to work as trusted advisors because, although they know they can produce and fit off-the-shelf products, they see their best added value when they can create a truly personalised solution.
In any case, there’s no argument about their approachability. They are honest and values-driven which makes them down-to-earth and easy to work with. James illustrates this by explaining “we’ve always said if we can’t save a client money, we’ll tell them. We’re not in the business of making sales for the sake of it. We are looking after our clients’ best interests too, we are about good aerodynamics that work.”
Their people are all friendly and genuinely interested in helping their clients to reduce the costs of fuel and their carbon footprint. James explains how the focus is gradually changing when it comes to the balance between these two different measures:
“Obviously we’ve talked about reducing fuel costs for years but COP26 threw carbon footprint back into the spotlight. I do think it’s harder for people to think about this measure though, it still feels so far in the future and is quite intangible whereas everyone can identify with cold, hard cash especially at a time like this where all we are seeing are rising costs of fuel. It’s the wolf that’s nearest the door.”
Standing out from the crowd is tricky for any business in any sector these days but Aerodyne are proud of their products which they see as aesthetically pleasing as well as highly efficient in terms of streamlining trucks and trailer units.
“One of the things that makes us truly different from our competition is our ability to show our clients how their fleet will look with the added kit” says James. “Because we use both 2D and 3D CAD and can really paint a picture using our CVAS modelling programme, our clients get a realistic understanding of what the modifications will be like. No other suppliers have achieved this, in the way we have” he finishes proudly.
When it comes to a ‘pet product’ James says his favourite is the bodyfront collar. This nifty piece of kit is designed to streamline the front of the vehicle where the trailer is higher than the tractor unit.
Every 200mm of exposed body front will reduce mpg by 3% so, while it might be a small thing, that isn’t overly expensive, it really makes a big difference.
In a funny way, this piece of kit is linked with James’ favourite business book: Give ‘Em The Pickle, by Bob Farrell. It’s a customer service guide written from the perspective of the retail grocery sector. The concept is that a small extra detail, such as a free pickle, can make the difference between customers coming back or trying a competitor.
Aerodyne might be in a completely different sector but their approach and the savings they generate for their clients are no less appetising!