With a demand for higher levels of customer service, third-party logistics providers are developing services for the MRO industry that go far beyond basic warehousing and transportation. These include:
When Moog Aircraft Group launched its total support program for flight-control systems for the Boeing 787 and Airbus A350, the concept was simple: Guarantee airlines that a component will be ready to ship within 2 hr.—or as little as 10 min. in an aircraft-on-ground (AOG) situation—from a location no more than 6-7 hr. from anyplace in the world.
You can't manage what you can't measure. That dictum is repeated so often, that you may tune it out. But performance metrics and key performance indicators (KPI) are a critical component to a lean MRO or Six Sigma initiative.
Whether you are using barcodes, direct part marking or RFID, the ability to automatically enter information about a part into an ERP system could lead to benefits from other chapters, including Chapter 14, which automates the process to file warranty claims.
Many fleet operators don't take full advantage of warranties because the administrative costs associated with filing claims are high, contends Hannes Sandmeier, VP of application development for Oracle.
When it comes to supply chain and maintenance software, should you turn to an ERP vendor for all of your solutions, like SAP or Oracle? Or should you add on-point solutions from the likes of Mxi, Trax, Servigistics or their best-of-breed competitors?
Both sides make a persuasive case for their approach.
Inventory is the hot potato of the supply chain. No one wants to hold it. That is especially true in the MRO industry, where airlines and maintenance organizations alike are right-sizing their businesses in light of the recession.
“Necessity is the mother of invention,” applies to MROs, even those in the developed world, where companies compete with organizations from lower-cost emerging markets.
“Processes like airframe maintenance rely on labor, which is a commodity in today’s environment,” says Mike McBride, executive VP and CFO of Team SAI. “If an MRO in North America or Europe wants to maintain its margins, it has to move up the value chain and offer additional services, modifications and eventually component and engine repairs.”
Everyone understands the need for radar. When aircraft are up in the air, it’s important to keep track of a carrier’s most important assets. Keeping track of assets down on the ground is just as important. Knowing how much inventory you have and where it’s located, after all, is a key component of supply chain management.
As part of the normal maintenance process, aircraft safety systems such as oxygen masks and evacuation slides must be disabled to prevent accidental activation. At TIMCO Aviation Services, hundreds of preventative safety pins typically are inserted at the start of a maintenance process and then removed at the end of the job. If these pins aren’t removed at the end of the service operation, the safety equipment will not function when the aircraft is returned to service, and the flight crew will have no indication that the system is not operative.
In 2005, Rimsky Buitrago, CEO of Coopesa, realized that his business model was changing. To remain competitive, Coopesa’s supply chain processes inside and outside the hangar would have to change as well.
Based at the Juan Santamaría International Airport in Costa Rica, Coopesa is a mid-size MRO specializing in Boeing narrowbody airframe maintenance. The facility can service up to seven aircraft at once.
Supply chain software systems are designed to manage processes, people and assets. Service lifecycle management is a different kind of software system. Sitting at the junction of ERP, MRO and content management solutions, it is designed to put a comprehensive maintenance library of technical information in the hands of maintenance technicians, engineers and parts managers as they are performing their jobs.
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