Digitalization of aircraft maintenance work orders is key to operating in the new normal, addressing skills gaps, and optimizing efficiency and effectiveness. But the success of digital transformation projects such as these depends on various factors, including whom you entrust your innovation. Can they provide you with the necessary assistance, deep expertise, and the right solutions? EmpowerMX Has Been At The Forefront Of MRO Process Digitalization In an interview with Aircraft Commerce, Digital MRO Evangelist and EmpowerMX founder and CEO Dinakara Nagalla said that the paradigm shift from paper-based to digital MRO was bound to happen and that the COVID-19 pandemic was just a catalyst that accelerated the sector’s flight to digital. Going paperless will remain a priority for aviation MRO companies, with Digital MRO spending expected to reach almost USD2 billion by 2030. EmpowerMX has been assisting major aviation companies in their digital transformation journey. It helps aviation MROs digitalize processes such as aircraft maintenance work orders to promote safety and eliminate unnecessary friction, costs, and risks. How EmpowerMX Helps Digitalize Work Order Management EmpowerMX offers a range of digital MRO solutions: MRO software MRO software allows aviation MRO companies to upgrade workflows and digitalize processes — not necessarily dump paper records but to create a Single Source of Truth and a well-orchestrated value chain. EmpowerMX’s MRO software helps eliminate inefficiencies in operations, allowing MRO staff to shift away from the traditional way of doing tasks, including the over-reliance on paper in logs, task cards, and maintenance schedules. MRO software also enables cloud and mobile deployment for mission-critical activities and real-time tracking of flight time, labor hours, and component availability. Aircraft Records EmpowerMX manages aircraft records digitally, enabling secure storage and uploading and fast access to information. Electronic records of all system transactions and work steps as well as uploaded documents are maintained so that MRO staff can accurately track and report on 1) task, modification, service bulletin, and airworthiness directive compliance; 2) aircraft discrepancy and resolution logs; and 3) component airworthiness and teardown documentation. Manpower Planning EmpowerMX’s Manpower Planning uses automation to align manpower with your production schedule. By using EmpowerMX’s Manpower Planning module, you can create manpower schedules that efficiently organize your resources to match with expected production schedules. It allows you to maximize productivity, enable production-based scheduling, design schedules with varying parameters, and free up production capacity for more work. Material ManagerEmpowerMX’s Material Manager digitalizes planning, forecasting, and replenishment for a more streamlined process, real-time inventory transactions and visibility, and minimized costs. It reduces supply chain management complexities so MRO staff can focus on their core mission, and that is to repair aircraft and deliver on time. Other capabilities such as 1) Digital Connect, which allows aviation MRO companies to connect data in real-time or in batches; 2) Customer Dashboard, which lets customers see the status of maintenance anytime, anywhere; and 3) Contract Management, which helps ensure maintenance services are negotiated as needed and improve contract compliance to reduce risks and legal vulnerabilities. EmpowerMX leverages e-signatures for trust and compliance EmpowerMX’s digital MRO solutions also include e-signature capability for holistic digitalization of aircraft maintenance work order — ensuring trust among all parties and securing aircraft records throughout the aircraft’s lifecycle. With e-signatures, there is no need for staff to print electronic records and seal them with physical signatures, and then create and store an electronic version of the document — which is a complex, costly, and counterproductive process. E-signatures are key to eliminating paper-based processes and completely digitalizing aircraft maintenance work orders for safer, more effective, and more efficient MRO. EmpowerMX’s aircraft maintenance work order solutions and electronic signatures help ensure that your records are handled digitally from start to finish. Its cutting-edge solution produces clean, customizable, and verifiable documents, allowing you to: Focus more on the work than the paperwork. Safely collaborate wherever, whenever. Ensure compliance throughout. If you want to get started with implementing e-signatures and digitalizing aircraft maintenance work order solutions, contact a digital MRO expert now. 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. As early as 2002, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) already released an advisory on the Acceptance and the Use of Electronic Signatures, Electronic Record Keeping Systems, and Electronic Manuals. It is known as AC 120-78, which was revised to AC 120-78A to reflect technological advances and best practices regarding the acceptable use of e-signatures, e-records, and e-manuals. The aviation industry, particularly the MRO, is highly regulated. As such, they often rely on paper documents to prove compliance. These range from the requirement of paper-bound manuals to routing printed task cards, which are necessary for the legal and financial management of business operations. While you can still rely on paper for today’s regulatory requirements, it will cause bottlenecks in your processes later. Utilizing a digital MRO solution can significantly improve the overall efficiency of your MROs. The first step in implementing a paperless maintenance operation is to use electronic technical logbooks and e-signatures. The Road to Paperless Operations Electronic Technical Logbooks (ETLs) and e-signatures can help eliminate paper and streamline crucial processes within ide maintenance operations. For instance, the maintenance crew can use ETLs to monitor the aircraft’s maintenance status. Pilots, on the other hand, can use e-signatures to sign-off log books electronically. Although these technologies are not new in the aviation industry, strict regulations and initial investment costs have prevented widespread adoption. The regulatory bodies are open to paperless operations. In fact, they offer guidance on how to use the technologies behind paperless campaigns. But MRO operators should present a plan that can prove the security and reliability of the system, including the e-signature. This is a critical step to show the regulators that the system will not be compromised. The European Union Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) offers some specific guidelines regarding the use of e-signatures: Uniqueness. The e-signature must be unique to gain regulatory approval. It needs to be identifiable only to one person and protected against duplicates. Significance. The individual should affix his e-signature deliberately. It cannot be an automatic sign-off. Scope. The individual must be aware of the details he is confirming his e-signature. Digital security. The system should ensure that it is difficult or impossible to forge an individual’s e-signature. Non-repudiation. The system must prove the credibility of the sign-off. It is not permissible for the individual to contest that he signed his e-signature. Traceability. The system should be able to provide a log or history of every e-signature used to sign off a record or any other document. Without any knowledge, it is dangerous to develop a detailed plan for the use of e-signatures. Third-party providers can help you develop a paperless system that is compliant if you lack the necessary expertise. By partnering with an industry expert like EmpowerMX, you can get the latest tech to upgrade your business workflow. EmpowerMX’s MRO Software eliminates inefficiencies in your operations by replacing the traditional way of documenting tasks. This includes over-reliance on paper in logs, task cards, and maintenance schedules. EmpowerMX’s modular solutions, such as Aircraft Records, allow you to transform your company. You can use e-signatures that ensure that your records are digitally managed from start to finish. With Aircraft Records, you can get: Secure Records Whether generated by the system or uploaded, your documents are always secure. Reduce Data Entry Starting with digital documents and signatures means no more data entry or scanning. Access Documents Anywhere Full mobile solutions make it easy to access your documents from any location and on any device. Customize Documents You can customize the appearance of digital documents created by the system to meet your requirements. Track Compliance Monitor and report compliance quickly and easily directly within the system. Focus on the Work Automate paperwork, so your teams can concentrate on more important work. Contact our experts today for more information about how e-signatures can help you achieve a paperless maintenance operation Most aircraft maintenance records are stored on paper. Air operators, aircraft manufacturers, and maintenance organizations have made efforts to move towards electronic aircraft maintenance records (EAMR) over the last few years. The future of the aviation industry is full of transformation. There are many benefits to the digitization of this business, including: Out with the old, in with new (systems). Paperless operations mean the rollout of new systems that enable electronic signatures, electronic storage of records, and the use of RFID for component identification—replacing outdated, paper-reliant processes. Electronic sign-off. Maintenance events that are sent to tablets by MRO engineers or mechanics will be signed-off electronically. This increases productivity and efficiency. Cost savings. The International Air Transport Association (IATA), in its Guidance Material for the Implementation of Paperless Aircraft Operations, states that paperless operations enable the use of tablets to provide point-of-use information. This saves organizations a lot of money over the long term. Transferability. Electronic records allow for the transfer of assets (aircraft, engines, and components) more efficiently. No more searching pallet loads of paper to transfer records from one system to another. Airworthiness compliance. Teams can be confident that their fleets are safe, compliant, and airworthy by having accurate records, correct e-certifications, and electronic continuing records for aircraft, engines, propellers, and other associated parts. However, electronic records and paperless implementation pose significant challenges, including: Acceptance by regulators. The regulatory requirements for traceability must be met. Electronic documentation is not compatible with traditional notions about traceability. This hinders the transition to electronics. Lifespan of e-records. IATA states that e-tickets last approximately 2 years. Meanwhile, the lifespan of an aircraft and its parts can exceed 30 years. Records must be kept and readily accessible throughout this time. Integrity of records. Industry leaders and stakeholders rely heavily upon paperwork to track aircraft records and asset transfers. This is because they believe that data integrity supports informed decision-making. Aviation authorities have published guidance materials to support the use of paperless aircraft operations for technical operations. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) AC 120-78A – Electronic Signatures, Electronic Recordkeeping, and Electronic Manuals This document contains guidelines and standards for e-signature, e-recordkeeping, and e-manual systems. Transport Canada AC 571-006 Electronic Signatures and Electronic Exchange of the Authorized Release Certificate This document guides the use of electronic signatures, and it applies to Transport Canada Civil Aviation (TCCA ) personnel, delegates, and the aviation industry. Civil Aviation Safety Authority (CASA) AC 11-3(1) Electronically formatted certifications, records, and management system This AC guides how to use electronically formatted certifications (signatures), records, organization manuals, and electronic management systems. This AC applies to all those involved in design, certification, operation, maintenance, and repair of aircraft. European Union Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) AMC Appendix II to Part-M para 2 Electronic Signature and Electronic Exchange of the EASA Form 1 This document applies to organizations operating within the EASA regulatory environment. The intent of this document is similar to the ACs above about the use of electronic signatures in aviation. Do you want to use digital signatures for your aircraft maintenance records? EmpowerMX is aware of the standards in place. Learn how EmpowerMX can help you adapt to the dynamic industry. Our software and data are ready. We provide software tools for airlines, MROs, OEMs, and the defense industry. There’s been an increase in the demand for cloud-based solutions that will allow the aviation industry to continue “business as usual”. MarketsandMarkets predicts that the MRO software market will reach $8 billion by 2025. They cite the increase in SaaS adoption as well as the need for shorter turnaround times to be the main factors driving demand. Access to Real-Time Data Is Key Data is a crucial component of MRO operations. Data is essential for many functions, including inventory monitoring, work order scheduling and compliance tracking, documenting, and preventive maintenance and repairs. These functions require data that should be backed up in the cloud and can be accessed at any time and from anywhere. A company’s MRO system software should be cloud-ready to incorporate these data in their workflow. Cloud-based MRO software, for instance, offers digital copies of aircraft maintenance manuals and user-friendly dashboards that will make work a lot easier for technicians. Streamline Your MRO Workflow Today’s MRO software is changing the way aircraft maintenance is done. Digitized formats are replacing the paper-based logs, task cards, and maintenance schedules that were once common. MRO companies can limit inefficiencies and minimize downtime by using cloud-based MRO software. Using cloud-based MRO software, companies get the tools they need to: Automate paper-based and manual processes, Simplify complex MRO workflows, Eliminate unproductive processes, Organize and optimize maintenance schedules, and Enable cloud and mobile deployment for mission-critical activities EmpowerMX lets you streamline your processes using powerful, cost-effective, easy-to-deploy MRO software. Planning Manager helps you optimize forecasting, obtain clear visibility by Company, Hangar, Bay, or Workshop, and ensure compliance with maintenance program requirements. Production Manager allows you to track all activities in real time and present them to all system users. With a real-time view of the progress of your projects, you can focus more on critical issues and immediate needs. Material Manager is a cutting-edge supply chain management solution that allows you to save time in procurement, streamline allocation and replenishment, and provide real-time inventory. Maintenance Program Manager simplifies and manages the maintenance program. It automates the process of tracking routine maintenance events. It provides users instant access to routine task information for every aircraft in their fleet. Line Manager allows decision-makers to track maintenance statuses at a glance for efficiency. Line maintenance staff are equipped with the tools they need to perform routine and non-routine tasks efficiently. Electronic Logbook Manager replaces traditional paper-based logbooks and provides instant mobile access to in-service/overnight maintenance data, aircraft maintenance history, and real-time aircraft status. MRO operators can optimize and elevate their current practices using cloud-based modular solutions. EmpowerMX’s MRO software is the best choice for planning, executing, and optimizing critical maintenance operations to ensure on-time delivery and compliance. Request a demo today. The MRO sector has been slow to embrace digital transformation due to various factors — including people, culture, and regulation. But the pandemic spurred MROs to accelerate their flight to digital. Speeding Up MROs need to speed up their transformation to be able to meet new-normal demands, including remote inspection, collaboration, and aircraft delivery. Aside from this, MROs need to prime their ground stations for connected aircraft. According to Fortune Business Insights, the Connected Aircraft Market will grow from USD 2.51 billion in 2020 to USD 10.49 billion in 2027, at a CAGR of almost 30.0% during the forecast period. This explains why, despite the economic impact of the pandemic on the entire aviation industry, the digital MRO market outlook remains positive. According to the Digital MRO Market report, even though the pandemic dragged the digital MRO industry down, it will fully recover by 2023 and reach more than USD 1.80 billion by 2030 (at a CAGR of 11.6% from 2020). According to the report, the key factors that contribute to the market’s growth include: Commercial airlines and MROs’ increasing digitalization of MRO operations. The rising demand for enhancing the repair and maintenance operations of existing aircraft fleets. The increasing demand for condition-based, prescriptive, and predictive maintenance through the use of data from connected aircraft. Many digital transformation challenges, however, are holding MROs back. Costs According to the Digital MRO Market report, the high cost of acquisition of integrated MRO software suites is a restraint because “MROs have limited budgets for implementing technologies.” The longer the implementation takes, the higher the cost is. Feasibility research alone, for example, can take several months. Data problems At the 2020 Singapore Air Show, conference panels spotlighted the data issues and problems that impede MROs’ digital transformation — including cybersecurity, sharing, accessibility, and storage. They encouraged industry players to remove these roadblocks to fast-track the integration and implementation of new-age capabilities, including AI and predictive analytics. Talent gaps Talent/digital skill gaps make it harder for MROs to kick-start and ensure the success of their digital transformation journey. They can either “build or buy,” but each has its disadvantages and risks. For one, training an in-house team can be extremely expensive and time-consuming. Outsourcing, on the other hand, can be cost-efficient, but finding a partner that offers both deep industry and technical expertise can be difficult. If these hurdles are not removed, it will be difficult for MROs to advance in their digital transformation journey and fully realize the competitive advantages of digital transformation. How MROs Can Advance In Their Digital Transformation Journey The only path to new-normal success is through digitalization. But for MROs to advance in their digital transformation journey, they should remove the roadblocks that stand in their way. Here are some practical steps that MROs can take to accelerate and streamline their digital transformation. Use modular digital solutions. This can be significantly less expensive than using a “rip-and-replace” digital transformation strategy. By using modular solutions, MROs can gradually digitalize their MRO infrastructure, keep costs to a minimum or within their budget, and accelerate time-to-value. Leverage data-centric digital solutions. Basically, digital transformation is about improving data efficiency or how you handle and process data to improve productivity, efficiency, and collaboration across the entire value chain. It’s about moving from siloed, paper-based, and manual systems to automated, more streamlined, and more intelligent data management and analysis. So whether you are completely overhauling or making small “IT repairs” to your infrastructure, do so with data in mind. Invest in MRO software that is engineered for optimizing data efficiency. Lastly, look to a vendor that offers both technical and industry expertise. The MRO sector has unique digitalization requirements that non-industry experts may not be fully aware of. To ensure faster time-to-value and return on investment, partner with a third party ith deep industry and technical expertise. EmpowerMX, for one, offers technical and non-technical competencies that stem from its origins as an aircraft maintenance industry-inspired software development startup owned and operated by aircraft maintenance industry experts. It has helped many MRO organizations to transform digitally in weeks, not months; achieve MRO efficiencies through M&E software implementation, and enable paperless implementation. Conclusion Accelerated MRO digitalization is here to stay, so MROs should leverage these new practices. The small incremental advances your organization makes can lead the entire industry toward fully digital MRO — which is more intelligent, sustainable, cost-efficient, productive, and streamlined. If you need help in advancing your digital transformation, contact a digital MRO expert now. According to a McKinsey survey, digital adoption has taken a giant leap at both the organizational and industry levels. As customers have turned to digital channels, companies have followed suit by developing or adopting digitally enhanced offerings to continue providing a seamless customer experience, boost efficiency, and generate more revenue. Adoption of Digital Trends Even before the pandemic hit, there has already been an increasing demand to replace legacy systems with digital aviation. Some organizations have begun their shift to digital initiatives, such as Big Data Analytics, Biometrics, Blockchain, Artificial Intelligence (AI), Augmented/Virtual Reality (AR/VR), and the Internet of Things (IoT). However, some enterprises are yet to realize these advantages for their operations. The adoption of these digital trends is necessary to stay competitive in these trying times. Here’s how your MRO operations can benefit from the adoption of these digital trends. Big Data Analytics Research shows that the global fleet could generate 98 million terabytes of data by 2026. The aviation industry is one of the leading generators of big data—from engine systems, fuel use, crew activity, and weather systems. This data, which includes mechanical analysis, in-flight metrics and fuel consumption, can be used to predict failures, as well as facilitate preemptive action. Likewise, MRO operators can rely on data analytics to manage their supply chains, which can be of great help in optimizing fixed inventory and overseeing just-in-time spare parts management. By leveraging big data analytics, your organization can make maintenance smarter, flights safer, improve service, and minimize costs. Biometrics Paper documents to track aircraft maintenance works are critical in MRO operations. But the proliferation of a paperless documentation system has led to the development of a fingerprint-based digital signing system to fully digitize the process of signing off on maintenance work orders. With the use of Biometric eSignature and digital storage,you can simplify and streamline MRO activities. Blockchain The use cases for blockchain technology are numerous and it has a huge potential in increasing transparency and comprehensibility in flight maintenance. Blockchain works as a way to store information; for example, manufacturers can register the serial codes of components in a blockchain. Then, once a component is installed in an airplane, data such as flight hours can also be installed in another blockchain. This stored data can then be used by maintenance technicians to verify flight hours, and to consider if the part should be repaired or replaced. Blockchain can also be beneficial for job cards and certifications compliance with MRO regulatory requirements. Utilizing blockchain in MRO operations can help minimize costs and losses due to downtime and unplanned maintenance. Artificial Intelligence (AI) Today’s modern aircraft is equipped with a myriad of sensors to monitor its structural health data in real-time. These data are used to feed AI systems to help predict potential maintenance failures in aircraft before accidents occur, as well as schedule routine maintenance checks and preventive maintenance. And over time, the AI system develops and learns from the data, leading to better analysis and prediction of failure patterns and maintenance requirements. Eventually, the expiry dates of aircraft parts can be accurately forecasted. The use of AI can increase speed, efficiency, workload, and safety in MRO operations. Augmented/Virtual Reality (AR/VR) The market for AR and VR is steadily growing as more businesses realize their potential applications and benefits, one of which is bridging the skills shortage gap. Using compatible headsets or wearable devices, AR and VR simulations can help train maintenance professionals and can even speed up the training process. Another use case of AR/VR is managing remote maintenance tasks by integrating it with a configuration-controlled solution. It works by connecting a technical expert located anywhere in the world to an onsite operator in real-time. Again, using a compatible wearable, maintenance workers in remote locations are assisted by a virtual pair of expert eyes and hands to guide them through a complicated task. With AR/VR technology, MRO operators can ensure social distancing protocols in the workplace, save time and money, and improve operational efficiency. Internet of Things (IoT) Internet of Things-enabled devices such as smart sensors are being incorporated in today’s modern aircraft, making it possible to have a connected ecosystem in aviation. IoT sensors are used to collect huge amounts of data on everything from parts performance to overall aircraft efficiency. Some MRO operators are now using tablets and other smart devices to communicate with aircraft sensors to monitor and quickly identify malfunctioning equipment in need of repair or replacement. Paired with data analytics and AI, IoT can significantly reduce downtime for aircraft fleets or mitigate the need for unscheduled maintenance. Furthermore, MROs can benefit from increased operational efficiency, improved asset utilization, and reduced equipment lifecycle costs. Leveraging the above digital trends as part of your digital transformation can greatly help MROs in their overall operations. But if you think digital transformation is expensive and time-consuming, you can gradually transform your organization digitally by using a modular strategy. EmpowerMX helps MRO providers gradually transform their organization digitally by offering modular solutions that are cost-efficient and easy to deploy. To learn more, request a demo today! Reuters reports that the number of casualties in huge commercial airplane crashes rose in 2020 to 299 worldwide, even though crashes have been reduced by more than 50%. Aviation consulting firm To70 said there were 40 accidents last year involving large commercial passenger planes. In 2019, there were 86 accidents, resulting in 257 fatalities. The decline in crashes came amid a sharp decline in flights due to the coronavirus pandemic—but aircraft maintenance companies are at the receiving end as they are in a holding pattern due to deferred heavy maintenance and dried-up line activities. Nonetheless, the COVID-19 crisis did not stop forward-thinking aircrafts to digitally transform their infrastructure. According to Research and Markets, the Digital MRO market will grow from $606 million in 2020 to $1.8 billion by 2030, at a CAGR of 11.6%. And this is where proactive maintenance comes into play. Digital “Proactive” Maintenance — Methods & Benefits Various factors — workflow efficiency enhancement, aircraft downtime reduction, growing Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) adoption, increasing AR/VR implementation, aviation management information system improvement, and repair and maintenance operations optimization — drive MROs’ shift to digital. But budget constraints and the high cost of buying an integrated MRO software suite are obstructing MROs’ flight to digital. But the good news is you can circumvent budget constraints and fast-track time-to-value by using a proactive approach with digital transformation. Proactive maintenance in aviation originated in the mid-90s and encompasses a business-like management approach to the safety of flights. In recollection, the initial “fly-fix-fly” system (1920s–1970s) was reactive in nature. Individual risk management, intensive training, and accident investigation were the focus of this approach. It was progressively replaced by a new system-based concept. From the 1970s to the mid-90s, the implemented model was primarily influenced by the evolution of technology and shifted the concern toward human error. Containing and mitigating human error through regulation and training became the new focus. Lessons were being learned from incident investigations and other industries. Despite significant resource investments in alleviating human error, the most important reason for safety breakdowns remained to be attributed to inadequate human performance as a persistent factor. From the mid-90s onward, a modern approach toward managing safety was embraced: proactively employing and analyzing regularly accumulated safety-related data. Proactive maintenance is based on following a risk management strategy that includes detecting hazards before they occur into incidents or accidents and taking required actions to lessen the safety risks. Components of a proactive safety management strategy are: Safety policy ensuring commitment to safety Hazard identification and risk assessment using advanced digital methods Safety reporting systems Investigation of safety incidents Safety monitoring and oversight Dedicated safety training for personnel Safety lesson distribution and best practice sharing Building a corporate safety culture Proactive Maintenance with EmpowerMX By partnering with an industry expert like EmpowerMX, you will not only get a technology solution, but also a deeper and wider industry perspective necessary to understand proactive maintenance. Buying a technology solution from industry experts is a competitive advantage because they have worked with other companies similar to yours. Tailor solutions based on industry trends and customize your solutions based on your unique needs. Invest in proactive digital solutions — such as Line Maintenance and Support Shops — that can help you perform proactive maintenance. EmpowerMX provides you with proven solutions and industry expertise to help you “fly to digital” without friction. Based in Frisco, TX, EmpowerMX is a leading cloud-based software platform that is designed to accelerate digital adoption in the Airline, MRO, and Defense establishments. Our product suite helps engineering and compliance, heavy and line maintenance, and shop and materials management. For more information, contact EmpowerMX. In the past years, Maintenance, Repair, and Overhaul operations have moved steadily towards digital platforms. And projections show that the trend is only going to continue. Soon, digital MRO will be the standard, instead of just an innovation made possible by new technology. Among its advantages are the ability to anticipate the demand for parts and the need for crucial maintenance procedures. However, it is important to point out that forecasting using historical data is not enough to optimize your MRO data analytics. Historical data can be generally defined as any piece of information gathered from previous projects or events within an industry. In the case of MRO, these include data on repair frequency, parts requirement, and turnaround times. These are the statistics which, when put in proper context, tell you exactly what you’ve been doing and how you’ve been doing it. In theory, putting all these together should be able to give you a clear picture of the “whats and whens” that you should take note of. Reality, however, is very different. Data Plagued With Uncertainty The onslaught of the COVID-19 pandemic is one good example of the cons of relying on historical data. In a span of months, the global outbreak grounded entire fleets of aircraft, and travel went from “full speed” to barely a trickle. In January 2020, before the pandemic’s peak, nearly 28,000 planes were in service across six continents globally. That figure dropped drastically in the following months, with over 18,000 aircraft sent into storage at one point during the year. This single event wreaked havoc in the daily operations of many companies and completely invalidated their previous MRO projections. Simply put, historical data does not hold water in the middle of a pandemic. Let’s break it down: History hasn’t seen everything. The last major pandemic was in 1918. During that time, the airplane was still a relatively new invention, and aviation was a far cry from what it would turn out to be today. In fact, the first commercial flight only took off a few years prior. This means that MROs today do not have any previous references to use as a guide to handle the current pandemic. This is the first time since the aviation industry boomed that operations took a sharp nosedive, and the historical data available do not give an accurate representation of the current demands. There’s a “new normal” in MRO, too. The MRO industry is at an unprecedented stage of transition. With aircraft usage at a new low, the level of uncertainty is at a high. And since fleet usage is far differentーloads, schedules, paths have likely changedーexisting data and projections about maintenance needs are not as reliable. On the other hand, companies could forego preventive maintenance and choose event-based maintenance. However, there will be no telling whether your next project will be a quick fix or one that would see your fleet grounded for longer than necessary. There’s more data to consider. Modern day analytics software packages are powerful, and they’re only getting better. These programs could actually take in more kinds of data than before, giving you a significantly clearer picture of your MRO operations. Pieces of information like task progress, labor trends, as well as real-time aircraft status and maintenance flow could help you make better decisions, among other benefits. There’s no reason to limit your analytics to just one type of data when the industry is a goldmine of data in itself. There’s no denying that historical data has its uses and that it has led to many successful forecasts in the past. However, you cannot count on this alone, especially at a time when the COVID-19 pandemic has introduced turbulence within the industry. No doubt, the MRO field is set for more developments and transformations, but the good news is, there’s technology available to keep up. Visit www.empowermx.com to learn more about how you can optimize your MRO operations. Some aircraft maintenance, repair, and overhaul (MRO) companies still rely on paper-based processes across their operations — which translates to large piles of documents in hangars, bulky maintenance manuals, and easily misplaced paperwork. Paper-based MRO allows inaccurate keying of information and manual population of maintenance information systems, as well as lost task cards, part tags and inefficient information search and retrieval. As such, more time is spent on data entry and non-routine printing, and this slows down customer approvals. These, in turn, provide the shop level with no real-time task completion data and no standardized aircraft workflows. More importantly, it offers the management no real-time visibility into the real status of aircraft maintenance projects, which may cause poor decision-making due to lack of data. It’s no wonder why modern MRO companies wanting to avoid disruption choose to start walking down the digital path through cloud-driven transformation. As the aircraft MRO market, valued at 49.8 billion dollars in 2020, is expected to grow at a CAGR of 4.04% from 2020 to 2028, digital transformation is central to this growth, which makes it an important driver of success for aircraft MROs, particularly post-COVID 19. Cloud-driven digital transformation streamlines the flow of data across different levels in the MRO organization chain and the communication between stakeholders, and it also helps in risk reduction, such as profit loss, and overall operational efficiency. Cloud-Powered Digitalization Various factors drive MROs’ shift to the cloud, including workflow efficiency enhancement, aircraft downtime reduction, growing Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) adoption, increasing AR/VR implementation, aviation management information system improvement, and repair and maintenance operations optimization. Transitioning to paperless operations can significantly reduce inefficiencies and improve turnaround time. Automating manual and repetitive tasks, for instance, results in faster throughput in cycle time. Moreover, integrating with hybrid models and ecosystems leads to better interoperability and interdependence. However, for some MROs, budget constraints and the high cost of buying an integrated MRO software suite are obstructing MROs’ flight to digital — but the long-term benefits outweigh the costs. ICF International, Inc estimates that the aircraft MRO industry can save more than 5 billion dollars a year with digitalization, particularly in health monitoring and predictive maintenance ($3B), fuel cost ($1.7B), and delay reduction ($0.8B) The good news is you can circumvent budget constraints and fast-track time-to-value by using a proven modular cloud-based approach to digital transformation. A modular cloud-based approach allows you to slowly “lift and shift” and “move and improve”, rather than “rip and replace” your entire legacy infrastructure — which can be more expensive, more complex, take a much longer time and riskier. A cloud-driven digital transformation approach is less complex than a full IT transformation strategy. It offers benefits such as seamlessness, faster time to value, and lower costs. It enables you to: Upgrade one system — or a part of that system — at a time Deliver digital services in weeks and gradually scale to meet other needs Take advantage of “plug-and-play” digital solutions that allow you to utilize existing core services while reducing costs Move to the Cloud with EMX By partnering with an industry expert like EMX, you will get not only a technology solution, but also a deeper and wider industry perspective necessary to understand cloud trends. Buying a technology solution from industry experts is a competitive advantage because they have worked with companies similar to yours. As such, you can tailor solutions based on industry trends, and customize solutions based on your unique needs. Invest in cloud solutions that can help you dive away from the COVID-19 pandemic tailwind, slowly but surely. EmpowerMX provides you with proven cloud solutions and industry expertise to help you “move to the cloud” seamlessly. Based in Frisco, TX, EmpowerMX is a leading cloud-based software platform that is designed to accelerate digital adoption in the Airline, MRO, and Defense establishments. Our product suite helps engineering and compliance, heavy and line maintenance, and shop and materials management. For more information, contact EmpowerMX. In the aviation industry, speed, preciseness, and efficiency are crucial. Aircraft operators should strategize how to prevent a domino of delays that can negatively impact their business. They should be nimble and quick to formulate decisions and implement actions. Without real-time access to data, this can be impossible. Real-time access to data is particularly crucial in aircraft maintenance because MRO activities are the major bottleneck in aviation. The longer the aircraft stays on the ground for maintenance, the greater the wastes and the higher the costs. By enabling real-time access to actionable data, you can optimize MRO activities and deliver better and faster services. You will be able to see live aircraft status, proactively and strategically plan and execute maintenance activities, check milestones and progress, and minimize delays. How to enable real-time access to actionable data To enable real-time data, you should bring your data to the Cloud and use a reliable cloud-based MRO software that helps you easily turn data into real-time intelligence. Send data to the Cloud. Data that is still on paper and stored in physical storage can’t be always available and accessible. MRO activities can be made more efficient — and environment-friendly — if you go paperless. However, if you store digitized data in siloed on-premise databases, you won’t be able to maximize its value. You need to digitize data and store it in the Cloud, so you can access it remotely and in real-time, wherever you are. Aside from data or documents, you should also bring your workloads, processes, and applications to the Cloud. Using Cloud, you can build digital twins of your physical assets, optimize analytics, enable remote collaborations, and proactively mitigate risks. Invest in a reliable cloud-based MRO software. To maximize the benefits of migrating your MRO processes to the Cloud, you need to invest in a cloud-based MRO software that allows you to quickly and easily turn data into actionable intelligence. Take EmpowerMX’s MRO software, for example. EmpowerMX’s MRO software eliminates inefficiencies in your operations by allowing you to shift away from the traditional way of doing tasks — including the over-reliance on paper in logs, task cards, and maintenance schedules. It enables you to streamline MRO operations by providing you with increased visibility on day-to-day tasks, as well as insight into inventory trends and forecasts. It gives you greater flexibility and control so you can keep downtimes to a minimum, while speeding up maintenance. Success Story Businesses that leveraged EmpowerMX’s MRO software were able to reap unparalleled benefits. Coopesa, for one, was able to go from effective to efficient after implementing EmpowerMX’s MRO software. In this case study, Walter Ching, Director Operations / COO at Coopesa shared why they chose cloud-based MRO software and how it helped them revolutionize their MRO processes. They wanted to implement an MRO software solution to move away from being production-driven and become a planning-driven organization. They also thought that it would empower staff with key data, measure their performance, and improve accountability. This initiative would also allow them to set the path for going paperless and increase business efficiency. After the implementation, Coopesa was able to reduce the pre-planning process by 70%. It also optimized customer approval of non-routine manhours, reducing wasted time by 94%, and non-routine paperwork errors by 42%. The MEO software implementation also helped them manage task cards more efficiently, and empower the staff with mobile capabilities, which significantly increased productivity. You can also reap the same benefits — or more — if you migrate your data and processes to the Cloud and use EmpowerMX’s robust cloud-based MRO software. If you want to get started, reach out to a Cloud expert with proven industry experience and expertise. Contact us. After the COVID-19 pandemic left the world reeling, the aviation sector had to make quick and drastic adjustments to stay in business. The International Air Transport Association, for instance, estimates significant losses across the world: $118B in 2020, and $38.7B more in 2021. A new report by management consulting firm Oliver Wyman also sees a certain level of uncertainty over the next 10 years. Many factors will come into play that could accelerate or push back the projected recovery of the airline and MRO industries. Thankfully, with the rollout of vaccines now kicking into high gear, aviation and MRO can finally get started on the road to recovery — and big changes lie ahead for the air transportation industry. For example, a more efficient vaccine rollout could help bring back passenger levels to pre-COVID days, while a shift in the retirement schedules of aircraft would also change MRO demand. Here are some of the most significant changes expected in global fleets in the next decade: More in-service aircraft and travelers. This is unsurprisingly one of the biggest changes expected. After dipping to as low as 13,000 in-service aircraft in 2020, data projects about 23,700 operational aircraft in 2021 and up to 36,500 by 2031. This is good news despite the numbers being lower than the pre-COVID estimates. The passenger fleet itself is expected to increase by 2.5% yearly, with 34,000 out of the 36,000 aircraft being passenger planes by the turn of the decade. An older, different fleet. Oliver Wyman’s Global Fleet & MRO Market Forecast Commentary 2021-2031 also predicts an increase in the average age of fleet aircraft. From 12.1 years, this is expected to go up to 12.8 years because of delayed retirements and new aircraft deliveries. To put things into perspective, 1,400 aircraft retired worldwide in 2020, a staggering double the average annual level between 2011 and 2019. In response, expect to see fewer retirements in the next couple of years before things go back to normal level. Aside from the age, the distribution in the type of in-service aircraft is also expected to shift. Projections show an increase in the number of narrowbody aircraft compared to widebody aircraft as the industry turns its efforts toward improving load factors. A shift to greener aircraft. With the world starting to get its bearings with regards to COVID-19, nations can now focus on issues that were put in the backburner temporarily. Climate change is one of those concerns, especially as the U.S. rejoins the Paris Climate Accord. The short-term increase in aircraft retirement clears the way for the modernization of the fleet, leading to the improvement of overall fuel efficiency. At the same time, manufacturers themselves are working on zero-emissions aircraft in order to minimize carbon dioxide emissions. Clearer Skies and Positive Projections Overall, the Oliver Wyman report predicts that the world may see pre-COVID passenger levels as early as the end of 2022, with a compound annual growth rate of 3% until 2031. This shows that while expectations are down, growth is still expected. All of the changes in the global fleet are expected to affect the performance of the Maintenance, Repair, and Operations Industry as well. MRO spending dropped from about $40B in 2020 because there were fewer aircraft needing maintenance, but the demand is expected to rise again to as much as $115B by 2030. It remains to be seen what type of MRO services will be prioritized in the coming years, because this depends on the aircraft that will be favored during that time. Business Goes On for Aviation and MRO It’s not exactly business as usual for these two industries, but one thing is for sure: planes will continue to fly and need maintenance over the next 10 years. And whether there are more or fewer in-service aircraft compared to estimates, it doesn’t change the fact that operational planes need to have as little service time as possible. As the industries embark on the journey to recovery, tools such as automated line managers or warehouse managers will be invaluable to airlines and MROs in maximizing profit margins amid the ongoing slump. Visit www.empowermx.com to learn more about how you can optimize your MRO operations. The airline industry had been on a positive trajectory due to a flourishing demand for air travel, strong consumer buying power, emerging technology trends, low-interest rates, and low jet fuel prices. But since the COVID-19 pandemic hit, the outlook for the airline industry has been bleak. Air travel has been one of the severely affected industries in the early days of the pandemic. According to the International Air Transport Association (IATA), the airline industry lost over $118 billion in 2020 as the pandemic spread across the world. The ramifications of the pandemic on the three segments – airlines, aerospace, and maintenance, repair, and overhaul (MRO) – have led to major airline bankruptcy filings in 2020. The worst financial year, to date Airlines go bankrupt for different reasons, such as poor business models, inability to meet fixed costs, inadequate passenger revenue, and other local issues. But the disruption caused by the global pandemic in 2020 will go down in history “as the industry’s worst financial year, bar none,” said Alexander de Juniac, IATA’s Director General and CEO. Several airlines that have sought bankruptcy protection are now faced with the prospect of restructuring and consolidation, while a few have stopped flying entirely. No less than 20 airlines around the world have filed for bankruptcy protection in 2020. A list of the most notable airline bankruptcy filings is available in Oliver Wyman’s report Global Fleet and MRO Market Forecast 2021-2031: Source: Global Fleet and MRO Market Forecast 2021-2031 The report listed the low-cost carriers to have been hit hard, particularly Norwegian Air Shuttle and AirAsia X, two of the largest long-haul, low-cost carriers in the world. In another report by IATA, the global pandemic has dipped major operational parameters in the passenger business to all-time lows. Passenger numbers were down to 1.8 billion from 4.5 billion passengers in 2019, passenger revenues fell to $191 billion from $612 billion earned in 2019, replete with a weak passenger load factor of 65.5% from 82.5% in 2019, which experts said was at a level last seen in 1993. To contain the pandemic, almost all nations around the world have implemented tight restrictions for cross-border travel. Business travels, which accounted for most international travel, have plummeted. The global lockdown pressured global carriers to put thousands of their aircraft into storage, retire twice as many as normal, convert some for carrying cargo, and cancel or defer some deliveries of new planes. Thus, the global fleet was at its lowest point to about 13,000 aircraft in service in 2020. This trend has also affected aerospace manufacturers given that there will be a surge of used, serviceable parts, and green-time engines taken from retired aircraft versus sales of new parts. Likewise, this also translated to less work for MRO service providers, due to smaller fleets and reduced demand for repair work. Governments across the world have provided over $170 billion in relief funds and other financial support for airlines to mitigate losses and stabilize the industry. In the U.S., airline carriers and their employees have received a combination of government relief and private financing under the March CARES Act. But these actions had not been enough for most airlines to carry them over the next year so as not to declare bankruptcy or to cease their operations. Looking ahead, the road to recovery According to the Oliver Wyman report, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) has predicted the economic recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic to be “long, uneven, and uncertain” for almost all countries. The IMF projected a decline in the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of 3.3% for developing regions such as Asia and the Middle East, compared to 5.8% for advanced economies such as North America and Europe. In consequence, the largest gains over the next decade are expected to come from Asia and the Middle East, with recoveries of 87% of their pre-COVID fleet size as of January 2021. Furthermore, experts said that four key factors will drive the timeline for recovery: epidemiological timelines, traveler sentiment, government restrictions, and macroeconomic impacts. In an accelerated recovery scenario, with COVID-19 vaccines now widely distributed around the world, case counts declining, and with governments lifting travel bans, demand for air travel could spike up again, and stored domestic fleets could return to service. While the road to recovery is expected to be difficult and long, it is never too late or early to leverage tools that ensure aircraft are fully airworthy and maintained. To achieve significant improvement in the efficiency of your entire operations and quickly understand and resolve critical items, EmpowerMX offers modular solutions to provide you with better insight into real-time maintenance execution. Talk to an expert today to learn more about how our solutions can help maximize your profit margins amid the pandemic. The aircraft MRO sector was estimated in 2020 at US$ 49.80 billion and is expected to reach 68.35 billion eight years afterward — a growth forecast of 4.04 percent CAGR. As competition rises globally, implementing digital technologies into their organizational fabric has become a high priority for MRO companies. In this blog post, we enumerate the digital technologies that can significantly impact all areas of the supply chain for aircraft operations, manufacturing, and traffic management. Additive Manufacturing Additive manufacturing — the use of CAD software or 3D object scanners to create 3D printed goods — can have a profound impact on inventory. This technology can enable the seamless printing of replacement parts, helping reduce inventory costs for maintenance providers. While MRO providers are already implementing additive manufacturing for developing minor cabin components, they have yet to explore its use for significant structural components, such as Lufthansa Technik’s and Air France’s attempts to apply this to metal printing. The advantage of implementing additive manufacturing is that when new specifications need to be incorporated into new products, they can be input seamlessly during the next printing. This will help reduce costs and increase the probability of having available parts, thus reshaping the supply chain of aircraft MRO in the long term. Add to this the benefits of planning and predictive capabilities, and the industry is likely to reach new heights — ensuring a steady and reliable supply chain with little to no interruptions. Robotics, Drones, and Augmented Reality Drones and robotics are often spoken in the same light in the aircraft MRO sector — and are both hot topic technologies among industry thought leaders. Remote automated plane inspection and dissemination (RAPID) systems are already being used by EasyJet and Thomas Cook Airlines for their remote plane inspection. While progress is being made toward their actual implementation, the industry is still skeptical about the application of such technologies in consideration of the probable risks and inefficiencies they would bring in line with maintenance work. Augmented reality, meanwhile, is a game-changing technology ever since Google Glass was introduced back in 2013. The MRO industry has looked into the benefits of AR in MRO training, such as in the Royal Netherlands Aerospace Centre’s MRO training course, where trainees walk around a scaled aircraft 3D model wearing Microsoft HoloLens AR goggles while receiving instructions and collaborating with each other. Analytics, AI, and Machine Learning Data analytics, artificial intelligence (AI), and machine learning are another breakthrough in computing — and their usage has been proven beneficial for aircraft MRO companies. Robotics, drones, augmented reality, and even additive manufacturing are all tied to how well machines learn in performing repetitive tasks — and adjusting to demands as needed — which will afford the organization more time to focus on strategy and overall operations. Developments in data collection and analysis through machine learning and AI will lead to data-powered advancements that can help machines recognize patterns and predict vulnerabilities. Pulling data from maintenance logs and sensors in aircraft, for example, can help management think of improvements in processes, giving rise to predictive maintenance. Predictive maintenance helps aircraft MRO companies in anticipating component failures and reducing unexpected maintenance. Workforce and Production Control Technologies Workforce management is just as important as the efficient handling of material resources. AI-powered tools can help MRO companies forecast manpower needs, and then adjust them accordingly. Technologies that handle production management help make heavy maintenance much easier, offering functions like time tracking, material tooling, and even aircraft log monitoring. Some tools even allow pilots to log aircraft problems mid-flight, letting engineers at the ground prepare early and do the repairs much faster. Continuously Evolving MRO Digital platforms are the future for MRO and countless other industries, and it is best to rely on an advanced MRO software suite that combines many powerful functionalities — so you can implement advanced technologies with ease and accuracy. With EmpowerMX, you get access to various Cloud-based and mobile solutions that will help you optimize your operations and leverage your technology investments to their full potential. Learn more at www.empowermx.com. As the world starts to see hope for an upcoming end to the COVID-19 pandemic, air travel is expected to undergo a resurgence after seeing drastic lows in 2020. And with more planes going back in operation, MRO companies will once again have their work cut out for them. Despite an estimated air passenger revenue loss of $314B, projections are positive for the global MRO market. In fact, by the year 2031, it is estimated that global aircraft MRO spending will hit $117.6B. Technology plays a critical role in MRO operations and the recent trend has shown a steady shift towards digital technologies. So which technologies and functionalities actually provide the biggest advantages for those in the aircraft MRO industry? And are they worth it? Optimizing MRO Using Advanced Technology Because the MRO industry works with aircraft that transport thousands to millions of people every year, technology is critical. Every improvement that makes the aircraft maintenance process easier and more efficient goes a long way towards keeping people safe. And the ability to minimize downtime helps companies keep their profit margins secure. There are many points in the aircraft maintenance process where key technologies are a big boon. From the administrative aspect down to maintenance management, certain programs and tools can be used to improve performance. Here are a few examples: Supply Chain Management. Planning and predictive capabilities have come a long way since supply chains went digital. And these are helping industries like MRO and manufacturing reach new heights in their business. Supply chain management has evolved into an independent department with its own workflows and nuances, and it’s no longer just a function under sales or manufacturing. For aircraft MRO, tools that provide planning, forecasting, and replenishment functions ensure a steady and reliable supply chain with little to no interruptions. Labor Oversight. Just as important as managing materials is handling manpower, which can be made easier using an automatic schedule generator. However, labor demands and requirements aren’t always constant, so your tools must also be able to handle demand forecasting and adjust manpower as needed. Staff and workers are crucial resources too, and MRO companies must properly allocate them to maximize productivity. Production Control. A lot goes into the repair and maintenance of planes and other aircraft. Not only do you need to manage the materials and the manpower, you also have to make sure production schedules are being followed and status reports are consistently being generated. Technologies designed for production management help make heavy maintenance much easier, offering functions like time tracking, material tooling, and even aircraft log monitoring. Some tools even allow pilots to log aircraft problems mid-flight, letting engineers on the ground prepare early and do the repairs much faster. Administrative Tools. Aside from helping with actual maintenance processes, various modules and tools can also significantly streamline administration tasks by setting up contracts, billing, and invoicing using a central interface. In fact, most of these can be automated, further minimizing the need for human intervention aside from exceptional circumstances. Choosing the right MRO automation tools As new technology emerges and continuously gets better and better, MRO software and tools will only become faster and more powerful. It is of utmost importance for companies to know what kinds of functionalities would best support their business needs. Digital platforms are the future for MRO and countless other industries, and it is best to avail of a reliable MRO software suite that combines many powerful functionalities. EmpowerMX gives you access to various Cloud-based and mobile solutions that will help you optimize your operations. Learn more at www.empowermx.com.