Eliminating unplanned aircraft downtime would be a good thing, right? Imagine how operating assets that do not prematurely fail would optimize your operations. The productivity gains and cost savings would be immense.

Perhaps you think I am taking a utopian view of operations, but if your company and employees are not striving for innovation at the highest level, will you ever get there?

GE held its “Minds+Machines” event on Oct. 9, with the philosophy no longer debatable that “a new industrial revolution has been sparked by the convergence of connected machines, advanced analytics and people at work. It's underway and accelerating.”

GE Chairman and CEO Jeff Immelt is leading the company through a disciplined build-out of technology, organizational talent and business architecture that, with partners, drives repeatable outcomes around valuable assets.

Immelt says this model requires:

•Interdisciplinary approaches, with the chief information officer intimately involved in core business development activities.

•Analytical and industrial worlds to intertwine.

•New processes and a working knowledge of data science.

•And perhaps the biggest challenge of reaching this level requires open systems and data-sharing. “This can be uncomfortable,” Immelt admits.

While most people in the aviation industry would agree that data transparency is a bit uncomfortable, “getting over that and getting to a point where a customer and supplier anchor themselves around [the fact] that truth is in the data and [that they] make a difference based on that,” is where the outcomes lie, says Giovanni Spitale, general manager of GE Aviation's Flight Efficiency Services.

Sure, there are technological and regulatory challenges to deliver the right data at the right time and right place, but are those the biggest obstacles—or, is it a reluctance to change behaviors?

The question of why our industry is so traditional and is reluctant to change came up during Aviation Week's MRO IT Roundtable sponsored by Boeing on Sept. 23 in London. People talked about how innovation happens in their organizations, and how they push the best ideas forward. But often, incorporating changes comes slowly. Does your company have the processes and culture in place to make these ideas flourish?

If our industry is going to become more predictive and efficient throughout the supply chain, is it time to take a leap of faith and trust the data—and accept that mobility is coming?

Given that MRO Asia occurs Oct. 29-31, I'll leave you with examples of data and mobility progress happening within the region. Spitale told me EVA Air and Garuda Indonesia are starting to feed flight data to GE for use in its fuel-management program, which is designed to help airlines reduce fuel use and carbon emissions. EVA and Garuda enlisted their whole fleets in the program.

In addition, Hong Kong Aircraft Engineering Co. is developing a safety reporting app for smartphones with Hong Kong Polytechnic University. The app will provide Haeco employees with an easy way to report incidents that did not cause injuries or unsafe conditions. If the pilot program is successful, the MRO will expand the app from Apple to Android- and Window-based platforms.

I hope to see you in Singapore and get your views on leaping to the next level.

—Lee Ann Tegtmeier

Chief Editor MRO