With 29 locations in six states, Wichita-based Berry Cos. has a lot of territory to cover.
That’s what makes the construction equipment dealer’s Cessna Citation Mustang no luxury item.
It’s a business tool.
The company’s use of the aircraft is highlighted in the National Business Aviation Association’s latest edition of its Business Aviation Insider.
As company president and CEO Walter Berry puts it: “Our airplane is an integral part of our management structure. The airplane definitely affects how we run our business. It makes us more efficient.”
Walter Berry, former chairman of the Wichita Metro Chamber of Commerce, normally flies the six-seat Mustang.
His father and the company’s founder, Fred Berry, has been flying since the 1940s and has owned 20 different airplanes over the years.
One of the biggest advantages having the plane gives the company’s employees, Fred Berry says, is that they can efficiently get potential customers to a job site so they can see in action the equipment they might be buying.
“Customers will give you one day but not two days (to demonstrate equipment),” Fred Berry says. “We can fly 400 to 600 miles, spend three or four hours on the ground and be back that night, so having an airplane is a big advantage.”
The plane also gives Walter Berry the ability to get efficiently to the company’s many locations to meet with managers in person.
And the use of an aircraft has helped the company act quickly — and be there in person — when acquisitions have come up.
It’s that ability to do business in person, Walter Berry says, that makes an aircraft such a great tool for the company.
“If you are buying a company and you want to see what you are buying, and the sellers want to know whom they are selling to, you have to have a face-to-face meeting,” he says.
The full NBAA profile of Berry Cos. can be found in the July/August issue of Business Aviation Insider.