MRO IT Apps Still Advancing Against Virus Headwinds

Despite a challenging MRO market, IT software vendors in the segment are seeing opportunities and are investing in capabilities.

A time when both airlines and most MROs are focusing on conserving cash and staff resources is not the best environment for maintenance software companies to do deals or enhance their products.

But some MRO IT vendors are getting some small wins, even in this difficult market, and others are adding to their capabilities, hoping to profit when good times return.

For example, global enterprise resource planning giant IFS has placed its MRO solution, IFS Applications 10, with MRO Logistics, which does inventory management in Brazil, Colombia, Chile and South Africa. MRO Logistics is growing revenue at 30% annually and plans to double in size by 2023.

The company has more than 1,000 employees and manages inventories in over 400,000 square meters of warehouses. IFS Applications 10 will integrate data from its global locations to provide visibility, productivity, control, compliance, and increased security. 

Aviation specialist Swiss-AS recently saw AMOS software go live at Sapura Technics, a new Part-145 repair station in Malaysia. Sapura signed up for the MRO Edition of AMOS in November 2019, and began implementation in January 2020. Swiss-AS CEO Ronald Schaeuffele praised Sapura staff for its commitment to implementation during “difficult times.” 

Sapura and Swiss-AS used online tools such as Virtual Instructor-Led Training to pursue implementation during travel restrictions. The MRO went live with a partial version of AMOS in July.

The complete implementation will enable Sapura to manage its supply chain and commercial department and enables engineers and planners to define detailed customer requirements and work instructions. Syahril Shariff of Sapura is eager to start heavy checks soon with “best practices, utilizing new applications and big data technologies such as paperless MRO . . .”

Another widely used maintenance solution, Trax, has signed up a start-up carrier, Global Crossing Airlines, for its mobile digital version, Trax eMRO. Global is now being certified and plans to start with an Airbus A320-200 and build a fleet of 20 passenger A320s and ten A321 freighters.

It hopes to create a major base at Miami International Airport with an 80,000 square-foot hangar complex and a training center with full motion simulators and training devices. Chris Toro, vice president of technical operations, says, “We evaluated every MRO software system in the market and chose Trax because of the system’s flexibility to handle all of our operations and planned rapid growth”.

Upgrades are also being launched. Earlier this year, Ultramain Systems launched its electronic logbook for Windows after achieving success with an ELB for iOS platforms and hearing requests from Windows-based carriers. Managers say the adaptation also enables interoperability across platforms for airlines using iOS that may have MRO providers using Windows.

Ramco Systems, an enterprise software company that serves both aviation and many non-aviation markets, signed up a leading helicopter OEM and a leading rotor-wing services company, CHI Aviation, in the most recent quarter. Perhaps just as important, Ramco increased net profit in the quarter to $2.3 million, up from $1.1 million in same period, prior year.

And earlier in 2020, ILS and Component Control launched SalesEdge and other joint solutions for the aviation aftermarket. SalesEdge is an intelligent request for quotation and smart quoting tool, designed to prioritize and quote with intelligence all incoming requests from potential buyers.

It uses artificial intelligence and machine learning so sellers can recognize the highest-value requests quickly, exploit advanced filtering and sorting and consolidate requests from multiple marketplaces such as ILS, and PartsBase. 

These and other vendors are proving that smarter software, digital transformation and improved efficiency are still the future of aviation aftermarkets, even if that future is going to take a little longer than planned.