Back in 2001, the Federal Aviation Administration’s (FAA) Flight Standards Service made an operational bulletin permitting the use of digital signatures on aircraft maintenance records. This announcement would solidify a decades-long movement toward electronic record-keeping within the industry. Fast-forward to 20 or so years later, the FAA has also announced policies that allow the use of video links and other remote technologies for inspection and regulatory compliance. To keep up in a fast-paced industry, aircraft maintenance organizations and airlines have adopted the use of e-signature solutions as an important tool amongst their other digital process improvements. An electronic signature — or e-signature — is a straightforward, simple, and secure way to obtain consent or approval on electronic documents. They are legally binding, secure, auditable, and efficient, and they reduce the use of paper as well as the need for face-to-face interaction. Airbus, the largest commercial aircraft manufacturer with more than 130,000 employees, is one of the early adopters of e-signature technology. The company has implemented e-signature for years now in order to accelerate business workflows and digital transformation initiatives while maintaining compliance with international standards. In doing so, the company aims to improve quality control and generate release documents more efficiently. Another adopter of e-signature solutions is AAR, an independent provider of aviation services to commercial and government customers globally. In 2020, the organization’s Vice President of Repair and Engineering Services, Brian Sartain, announced the “renewed urgency for MRO businesses to focus on environmental concerns” — and that is enabled by going paperless. “Internal digitization and reducing our usage of natural resources like energy, paper, and water are important to us, and we have made quite a few strides in our MRO network, particularly,” Brian said. According to the International Air Transport Association (IATA) — the trade association for global airlines, on behalf of around 290 airlines (83% of total air traffic) — “qualified e-signatures have the same legal validity as handwritten signatures.” Benefits of e-signatures Security, efficiency, convenience, unified documentation, and sustainability are just some of the reasons why your MRO organization should also shift to paperless e-signature solutions. Secure documents in the cloud make it to the right people and organizations with enhanced security measures, such as automatic verification steps that prevent the documents from being opened by unauthorized people (something a paper-based procedure cannot do). Efficiency and convenience are also some of the benefits of e-signing, considering that the documents can be signed through the authorized signatory’s business tablet or phone. Most providers of e-signatures also offer unified and secure storage for important documents, so no need to search through physical folders and cabinets. Last but not least, is sustainability. Going paperless is good for the organization and for the business. Implementing e-signatures can be the first step toward digitalization With the rising competition globally, implementing digital technologies has become crucial for MRO companies to set themselves apart from the competition. To create a continuous data flow through the multiple levels of the production workflow, MRO leaders are looking into digitalization technologies such as e-signature solutions. Digitalization — or the implementation of digital technologies — can help restructure the communication between stakeholders, thus enabling innovation across organizational operations. Digital platforms are the future for MRO and countless other industries — and e-signature solutions are among the first to define the future of regulations. Thus, it is best to make use of a reliable MRO software suite that combines many powerful functionalities — so you can implement e-signature solutions while retaining compliance. Such investments are not small, so they have to be maximized. With EmpowerMX, you get access to various Cloud-based and e-sign technology solutions that will help you optimize your operations and leverage your investments’ full potential. Learn more at www.empowermx.com.