As business manager with aircraft and crew scheduling software firm SchedAero, Johan Sjöberg sells and promotes the digital system and works closely with parent company Avinode to develop new products.
What sparked your interest in aviation?
I have been fortunate in my life and have travelled by air extensively. Working in business aviation was a natural step – there is so much more to do in terms of getting rid of operational inefficiencies by applying solutions like Avinode and SchedAero.
Tell us about your career so far
I knew Niklas Berg, chief executive of Avinode, when they were just starting up. He asked me if I wanted to take on a new project, Avinode Cargo. I accepted and built up a cargo system based on the Avinode technology for urgent cargo shipments around Europe. The system worked well, but we realised Avinode should focus on the passenger marketplace.
When Avinode was growing, I was responsible for sales in key markets in Europe, the Middle East and Asia, and then became the Avinode sales director for Avinode International. In 2012, I took on the role as business manager for SchedAero. In 2014, I relocated my family to Miami to be close to our US office.
What is SchedAero and Avinode?
Avinode is the world’s largest online marketplace for buying and selling private air charters, with more than 7,000 aviation professionals using the system daily. Almost 3,200 aircraft in the marketplace, and 300,000 flight requests are processed monthly.
SchedAero is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Avinode and is the world’s fastest web-based aircraft and crew scheduling software system. It was launched in 2010 to fill a gap in the market for a digital, web-based system that is easily accessible to customers from any location.
Sjöberg says analysing and prioritising client feedback is a priority
How is the European charter market faring?
We all know that Europe is not currently faring as well as the USA, which is thriving in terms of charter and general use flight movements. Avinode’s business intelligence tells us that in 2015, compared with 2014, European flight movements for business jets fell overall by 1%, with the UK, the largest of the European markets for private aviation, rising by only 3% and Germany, the second-largest, falling by 6%. France, the third-largest, also fell by 2%. In 2016 the trend seems to continue, with another 1% drop in European flight movements, and looking at aircraft deliveries, market conditions and performance across the first five months of 2016, we are not forecasting a turnaround in the European charter market.
What does your job entail?
My time is focused on making sure the sales team is targeting the right clients, collecting feedback on what our clients like/dislike, and what new functionality they would like to see – and of course exceeding sales and customer growth goals. I also spend time with our product owner to discuss how we prioritise product development and how much time we spend on new functionality versus current features.
With marketing, I make sure our current clients know all that SchedAero can do for them, but also how we best target new clients worldwide. I am also involved on the Avinode side and I make sure I am on top of what is happening in the marketplace, to leverage that knowledge for SchedAero.
What are your major challenges?
How to prioritise product development correctly. We have bi-weekly meetings to discuss client feedback; we come up with a lot of ideas, but we also need to make sure we prioritise the ideas that provide the maximum client value for as many members as possible.
Another challenge is to get potential clients to understand that a change from their existing product to SchedAero is not a lengthy, time-consuming process.
What do you enjoy most about your job?
Being a part of and changing the industry. With Avinode, I have been part of changing the way operators and brokers do business, and with SchedAero, I want to change the way operators handle their internal processes so less time is being spent on fixing mistakes, informing everyone involved in the flight or spending time quoting trips that never turn into business.
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