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With a re-vamped approach and new product offerings, the focus at SKYE International has gone beyond just A/C.

"More than anything else, we sell revenue," states Aaron Bennett, vice president of operations at SKYE International.

SKYE was founded in 1992 with an eye on gaining a share of the growing A/C service business. Combining a unique approach with simplified product operation, the company was able to capitalize on the refrigerant change in the mid-90s to establish its brand and grow. Although SKYE is best known for its air-conditioning system products, growth through new service categories has brought the company full circle in staying true to a founding principle.

"Up until October 2003, our only offering was a semi-automatic A/C unit," states Bennett, who joined the company late that year. "We had an established product in that category, so the next step was to take things horizontal in providing new products that could provide additional maintenance-type functions. This allowed us to grow the business by expanding into other categories and services that help drive shop revenue," he explains. Capitalizing on new service opportunities not only helped start the company, but has also fueled its resurgence.

Throughout 2004 and into the early stages of 2005, SKYE either already has, or will introduce equipment for transmission, coolant, power steering and brake fluid flush n' fill, as well as engine decarbonization. With these offerings in place, SKYE can then begin to offer new and different options within each of those lines.

"Our goal is to provide value-based products in a number of different service categories and in a variety of configurations, with different price points," states Bennett. "This allows our distributors to sell SKYE products for different services, and at a number of different levels. So, regardless of the customer type, they will always have something from us that they can sell".

"We know that we can't be a 'me too' company, so our goal is to provide quality products with good margins that are easy to use and easy to sell," he concludes. This led to the development of an automatic transmission fluid exchanger and fully automatic 134a A/C service center in 2004. This year, plans are set for the introduction of power steering, coolant and brake fluid service units.

"In order to capitalize on the service opportunities provided by preventative maintenance, we have to be a preventative maintenance company. This means staying fresh and diversifying from more than just A/C," explains Bennett.

Distributor Support

When it comes to the development and sale of SKYE's products, the company relies on one primary selling point- value. "We truly believe that our products provide a better price and quicker return on investment for the shop. This translates to fewer features and more manual operations, which is in direct contrast to the growing number of fully automatic service units," states Bennett.

"However, we feel the use of fewer electronic controls provides some significant benefits," he continues. In his opinion, they include:

  • More manual operations usually means the product will last longer because there are fewer electronic controls to wear out.
  • SKYE units are less expensive to repair and can usually be done in the field by the user. This translates to less downtime and less revenue lost by the shop.
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