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The benefits of applying an aviation predictive maintenance strategy

Worldwide Industry Leader, Manufacturing, IBM

There is an old saying that goes something like this: “The cobbler's children go unshod.” It means the cobbler spends so much time looking after his customers that he has no time for his children’s needs. When applied to any organization that delivers maintenance as a service, this philosophy hinders profitability and innovation. However, when maintenance, repair and overhaul (MRO) companies pay attention to their internal processes, they eliminate non-value-added projects, freeing resources to be more strategic and productive with their work.

http://www.ibmbigdatahub.com/sites/default/files/blog_aviationpredictive_blog.jpgFor example, the task of preparing work and scheduling in-bay maintenance of an aircraft involves myriad tasks, each of which is layered with complexity of its own:

  • Each subassembly asset has its own configurations. Which are within tolerance of maintenance due? Where are they located? Are all the components, including software, up to date with service bulletins?
  • What skills are needed? Are they available? Which ones are delivered by subcontractor? Are procurement teams and disbursements lined up?
  • Is the documentation complete? Are there outstanding OEM recommendations to be incorporated into the plans? Have engineering reviews been completed?
  • Do I have the parts needed? Are they in the correct staging locations?
  • Was there a major operational disruption that requires a rework of my scheduling with technicians, parts and space?
  • Is my plan current or obsolete?

With this level of complexity, it’s easy to see why the use of technology to organize and streamline the process is so compelling. And because no enterprise has unlimited funds to invest in operations, this is where smart use of technology can be a differentiator in a very competitive world.

That’s why IBM solutions for Aviation MRO are so interesting. They combine best-of-breed software, evolved over years, to answer the needs of complex business operations with the unique requirements of the aviation industry. Scheduling forecasts and planning, along with business analytics, help advise on component status, resource planning and workflow management. Details related to customer contracts, parts warranty and configuration updates are incorporated into the work streams, eliminating the need for human oversight and intervention. These resources are now freed to do higher-level analysis on strategic planning, effectiveness of applied maintenance and collaborative partner agreements. Streamlining work processes inevitably drives down costs and frees capital investment for other opportunities.

Paying close attention to internal processes to gain a competitive edge with customers is smart business, whether you’re an Aviation MRO provider or a cobbler.