Vipit Agrawal, technical vice president of PTC, says high-velocity aircraft maintenance is very valuable and eminently achievable. Implementing this valuable technique requires integrating three very complex schedules: the fleet schedule, the maintenance schedule and the material schedule, Agrawal says. And integration can only be done with the support of an advanced Service Parts Management (SPM) solution.                                                                       

The fleet portion of SPM must take into account variables such as fleet counts and configurations. The maintenance schedule must recognize the roster of events, assignments of work packages and bills of materials. The materials forecast can include historical data, regression analysis and seasonal factors for the past. For the future, recognizing causal factors and maintenance events can help add some precision. But the most accurate future forecasts will exploit predictive analytics applied to Big Data.

The SPM solution must optimize the entire maintenance and part network, Agrawal stresses. It must model the network accurately to optimize the placement of parts. The solution must include a realistic picture of the return, repair and part-distribution flows and use a risk-based system to prioritize the distribution of parts. Finally, the SPM solution should have its own tailored metrics such as up-time, budgets and the locations of line and heavy maintenance stations.

The overall PTC approach has been applied to a wide variety of industries, and it is suitable for both military and commercial aviation. Shishir Choudhary, director of service parts optimization, explained that PTC’s SPM solution has supported a number of commercial aviation maintenance shops, including those at airlines such as Qantas, JetBlue, Southwest, American and Air France-KLM.

Choudhary cited some impressive gains in several PTC projects in commercial aviation. For example, Qantas improved its part availability to 94% as part of a major project to cut costs by $2 billion. A fast- growing Embraer managed to cut inventory 12% by increasing the pace of inventory turns by 35%. And OEM Pratt & Whitney increased its order fill rate 10% even while reducing inventory by 10%.