Innovative MRO processes: Are you ready for the future?

Rusada Technologies
August 17, 2017
By Rusada Technologies
Technological changes and innovative enhancements have changed the MRO playing field and aviation software provider Rusada Technologies has provided a checklist of how MRO organizations can better equip themselves for sustainable future – and increase value to their organization.

Start by modernizing your business infrastructure
Indeed, some aviation organisations see adopting next-generation technologies as a big task. They think that migrating information from one system to another might be complicated and time consuming and assume that upgrading a legacy system would be more hassle than it’s worth. They couldn’t be more wrong.

With the digital era fast approaching and the pressure on companies to innovate continually mounting, transitioning from a legacy IT system and adopting more advanced paperless operations is not only crucial to the success of a company but it's also a really simple process.

And, as the industry continues to evolve digitally – and do so at a fast rate – organizations that are slow to adopt a modern digital infrastructure and embrace change risk losing their competitive edge and could be positioning themselves as vulnerable entities in tomorrow's marketplace.

Evolve your business as new technologies and processes emerge
Quick to embrace new technologies and continually striving to lead the way with its innovations, the aviation industry is dedicated to its mission to provide a cost-effective and competitive market for businesses to operate within.

Indeed, evolving alongside the new technologies and processes that enter the market should be part of all business plans, but let’s not forget the risks involved with investing in new products.

While promised savings in fuel, emissions, time and money make it easy to see why the industry gets so excited about next-generation technologies, airlines, helicopter operators and MRO providers are already operating within an extremely cost-sensitive environment.

But with new technologies and innovations such as comprehensive MRO platforms, data science, big data, 3D printing, augmented reality, predicative maintenance and automated inspections, to name just a few, already off ground, it’s hard for companies not to be tempted to part with their money.

Certainly, the aforementioned innovations are some of the most talked about at present and a business that adopts these today should be confident that they’d see notable benefits in the future. But how do businesses know which innovations to adopt?

Admittedly it’s hard to know the true benefits of a system or a tool for an individual company prior to investment but it’s no secret that airlines and third-party suppliers are always looking for solutions that allow them to work in a more streamlined manner. And, with a long history of hefty paper documentation in the cockpit and hangar, the idea of a digital paperless environment is definitely an appealing one.

Thus the constant stream of innovation is always welcomed and IT MRO platforms. These offer advanced solutions that are increasing in popularity, because they are able to deliver such benefits and can provide a clear overview of operations, store documentation, facilitate company-wide (and instant) communication and manage, record and report on data in real-time.

Another more recent technology to enter the MRO sector has been handheld devices. From smartphones and tablets to electronic flight bags (EFBs), these products put maintenance processes into in the palms of an engineer’s hands and further improve operational efficiency.

Additionally, thanks to handheld devices, airlines can transfer key data obtained from an aircraft between different departments and even to third-party organisations, in order to reduce unscheduled maintenance events and aircraft on ground (AOG) situations.

Understand and manage data effectively within your business
No businesses can deny the power of “big data” and there has been plenty of hype surrounding the term in recent months, making it somewhat of a buzzword in 2017.

However, many organizations are still at a loss as to what it means for their business, and remain unsure as to what to do with the masses of data that are now attached to next-generation aircraft and large components, such as engines.

But, with some software programs, companies are able to collate, manage and store any relevant information that they have obtained from a part, and later use the information to analyse and review processes to help their business operate more cost-effectively going forward.

By processing the millions of pieces data that are now available from an aircraft, helicopter operators are able to implement predictive maintenance into their business models and carry out preventative maintenance tasks in order to stop part failure.

By having diagnostics that can be obtained onboard allows a pilot to react immediately to unpredictable factors such as weather, allowing them to change a route while in flight in order to run more efficiently and save fuel.

While manufacturers are promising carriers a vast amount of data with their products, helicopter operators still need to embrace it and understand how to use it to their advantage. Thus carefully managing the data is key, in order to use it for better decision-making.

An aircraft transmitting data from air to ground to allow for maintenance work to be planned ahead of time isn't exactly a “new” process. However, by adopting a next-generation advanced IT MRO platforms, a business can monetise its new found data and access company-wide data in real-time, including information on available manpower (and the details of which staff members are on shift) and inventory...

Support your workforce anytime, anywhere
According to Oliver Wymann’s 2017 MRO survey, more than 50 per cent of MRO participants said their organization had approved investment in “live maintenance through wearable and mobile tech manuals” during the next five years, while 31 per cent of the airlines asked look for third-party providers that offer this service.

Thus, it’s hardly surprising that wearable technology has since been introduced into the hangar to help engineers to access real-time data on the spot.

Similarly, mobile applications, cloud-based systems and IT solutions can help aviation organisations access real-time data anytime, anywhere, from the bay to the CEO’s office, and consequently reduce costs and improved operational efficiency.

For example, accessing a MRO-based software using a smartphone or a tablet can reduce the amount of time spent looking through paper documents, trying to locate information in time-sensitive events.

With an enhanced MRO-based software program,, users are simply required to input log in details over an Internet connection and, once authorised, they can access real-time, accurate data while on the move. And a customer, through a customisable and user-friendly interface, can easily explore any of their chosen modules.

Future outlook
So what does the aviation maintenance business of tomorrow actually look like?

Well, Big Data and advanced analytics will certainly affect the way in which airlines and engineers work, moving them towards a world of predictive and preventative maintenance processes.

While these new, forward-thinking processes will reduce time and money, airlines, helicopter operators and MROs will still face some challenges along the way. One example of this will be how each individual airline assesses how it will best use the wealth of data that it will have access to.

But there’s no denying that big data in particular will help to shape tomorrow's market because of its power to facilitate the health monitoring of parts, to streamline fleet management and improve fleet reliability.

And, as more information and data becomes available, there will only ever be an increase in demand for MRO IT solutions that cater to individual customer needs and have the ability to grow alongside businesses, as they evolve and embrace next-generation products and technologies.

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