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.

The aviation industry’s growth might have been slightly halted by the global pandemic, but it hasn’t changed the fact that airplanes, both old and new models, need repair and maintenance. These airplanes vary in the components that make them up — from single shaft to geared turbofan engines, and from traditional aero-structure to innovative carbon fiber reinforced polymers. As such, Maintenance, Repair, and Overhaul (MRO) providers must keep up with these multiple variations and optimize the use of diverse technologies. This is where digitization comes into play.

In 2020, airline companies reduced their budget for IT to $20 billion, a 60 percent decrease from the previous year. In spite of this cutback, however, airline and MRO digitalization will likely progress as companies turn toward digital platforms to improve functions, such as fleet management and maintenance planning. 

MRO service providers must leverage mobile innovations that give access to technical documentation — and having access to the right information at the right time. With general electric aviation being expected to account for over 30 percent of the aircraft engine maintenance, repair, and overhaul (MRO) market between 2020 and 2029, MRO must implement further optimization measures for their services, from assessment to renovation and modification, as well as supply chain management for spare parts and accessories. Enable your transformation today with this brief guide.

Enable quick access to information.

Quick access to information can help MROs achieve a short and consistent turnaround time (TAT) for MRO services. 

Mechanics and personnel in airline and MRO companies spend more time doing non-productive work, or non-value-adding tasks. These include paperwork and documentation processing, conducting rework and workarounds to make up for the lack of enough spare parts, looking for tooling, searching for engineering blueprints, moving back and forth to the office for materials, and endlessly waiting for instructions. All of these can be ascribed to the lack of quick access to information, which in turn significantly slows down the turnaround time of MRO services. 

This is why MRO and airline companies alike need to come up with a solution that enables every person to have instant but secure access to the information — be it documentation or the whereabouts of parts — they need by leveraging advanced analytics to improve planning and processes that increase productivity.

Improve maintenance planning.

Even the best MRO solution cannot fix disparate and complex information systems; enterprises need to improve the design and planning of maintenance.

Process reengineering and integrating the MRO solution with the MRO system are important steps in improving maintenance planning. To do this, the MRO management should understand which processes are routine and which are non-routine, and then create a database of which processes and procedures worked well and which ones fell short in their objective. Performance data is a fundamental factor in getting all of this gathered, organized, and analyzed, which leads us back to the need for advanced analytics.

Select the right MRO solution that brings value.

The replacement or upgrade, or even introduction, of an MRO IT solution can be daunting — from its cost to its complexity to the need for extreme change management in place to involve all stakeholders. But the lack of one poses many more risks for the enterprise, as legacy systems are getting increasingly expensive to support in terms of maintenance and mobility. 

Choose the right MRO solution that can easily be adapted for mobile devices, wireless connections, etc. Prior to making this move, your enterprise decision-makers should ask these questions:

  • Are we prepared?
  • How can we maximize the value of the MRO solution investment?
  • Who is accountable for the investment and who can help us?

If the answer to the first question is yes, then the answers to the next two must be clear, particularly the last one. Maximizing the value of any IT investment requires years of expertise and experience working with the best of breed in the industry.

Optimize MRO with EMX

By partnering with an industry expert like EMX, you will not only get a technology solution but also a deeper and wider industry perspective to better understand proactive maintenance. Buying a technology solution from industry experts is a competitive advantage because they have worked with other companies similar to yours. You can also tailor solutions based on industry trends and your unique needs.

Invest in proactive digital solutions — such as MRO Software and Maintenance Planning — 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.

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 with 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.

In the vast world of business, faster is always better. It’s no different when it comes to aircraft maintenance. Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, the United Nations has reported a “dramatic” drop in international air travel. However, thousands of aircraft are still going in and out of hangars for repairs, and every moment that a plane is out of commission just adds to the bleeding that aviation businesses have been experiencing. This is why cutting down cycle time is always the preferred scenario for airlines and MRO companies.  

Maintenance cost is a major challenge for airlines, particularly for both keeping aircraft up in the air and finances stable. So how exactly could long cycle times affect an aviation business? And what are the different factors that could keep your aircraft grounded for longer than they should be?

A Domino of Delays

Even a small mistake or inefficiency could set off a chain of costly events for an aviation business. Consider a warehouse running out of one component that is hard to procure. Normally this would be perfectly fine; after all, running out of certain inventory items happens occasionally. But sooner or later, repairs will come in, and that’s where the problem begins.

Suddenly, your supply chain is interrupted, and you’re scrambling to order the critical component. Because of the lead time, your maintenance personnel have to wait to finish their repair jobs. Your plane then can’t get clearance to fly, and it has to keep using up hangar space that could have been allotted for another important repair. Eventually, you’ve not only lost out on profit, but you’ve also had to shell out more to get your cycle times back on track. 

Delays in one minor repair can quickly snowball into major delays in all of your operations. This isn’t just a possible threat to your scheduling, it could also compromise overall efficiency and safety. And of course, having planes stuck on land will hit your bank. According to the Financial Times, it costs up to tens of thousands of dollars, specifically about $30k, to keep one plane secured on the ground. Factor in the lost revenue in canceled flights minus the flight operation costs you wouldn’t have to pay, and this would add up to be a big financial hit.

Keeping Cycle Times Down

The best way to keep cycle times down and planes up in the air is to streamline the entirety of your MRO operations. With so many stages of the workflow where things can go wrong, reliable MRO software is invaluable. With the right technology, you can:

  • Manage warehouse inventory seamlessly 
  • Forecast maintenance requirements as accurately as possible
  • Monitor projects and labor resources efficiently; and
  • Manage contracts, billing, and invoicing

Even long after the end of the COVID-19 pandemic, one thing that would always be a constant in the aviation industry is the need to efficiently maintain aircraft. Thankfully, technology has evolved and is now capable of making so many jobs easier. 

Speak with an EmpowerMX expert to find out how to optimize your MRO.

The effect of the Covid-19 pandemic has been felt in many industry verticals, but particularly by the aviation industry, where over 18,000 planes had been sent to storage in just a matter of months. And due to international travel restrictions, passenger air travel has come close to a standstill, leading to a considerable airline financial loss of over $370 billion in 2020.

Additionally, the pandemic has compelled many operators and MRO providers to re-think their operational realities. Some have gone digital and moved away from the traditional way of completing tasks, and paving the way for going digital to play a more important role.

Digital MRO for the “New Normal”

Nascent technologies such as Augmented Reality, the Internet of Things, blockchain, Artificial Intelligence, and Big Data Analytics are proving to be essential factors in transforming typical MRO services. To gain a definite competitive advantage and increase operational efficiencies, aircraft manufacturers and MRO providers should veer away from the traditional manufacturing processes. Here are some of the benefits of adopting a Digital MRO in your operations.

Digital MRO improves inventory.

Comprehensive dashboards and status reports help keep track of essential parts needed for repair—based on the frequency and quantity of their use. Consequently, they can prevent excessive items in storage, as well as unaccounted overhead costs by establishing a regulated replenishment cycle.

Digital MRO streamlines operational workflow.

Disparate systems tend to create inefficiencies in your operational processes. Having a core platform or solution to create detailed production schedules and monitor your operations can greatly help in your demand forecasting, as well as facilitate a smooth workflow.

Digital MRO eases collaboration.

Swift communication is key in maintenance operations. Digital MRO integrates Cloud-based and mobile solutions to simplify collaboration with your team by analyzing maintenance activity quickly, and resolving critical items faster than doing it traditionally. Now, it’s easier to have real-time insights into your aircraft status and repair requirements.

Digital MRO eliminates paper mess.

Go paperless with readily accessible digital reference materials and electronic task cards. With Digital MRO, it’s very convenient to create comprehensive status reports and utilize dashboards to see timelines and anticipated issues.

Digital MRO complies with regulatory requirements.

Equipped with electronic task cards with automatic time tracking, and electronic signatures and verifications of technician qualifications, Digital MRO ensures your maintenance program stays compliant with regulations.

Despite the ongoing restrictions due to the pandemic, industry experts anticipate that the global digital MRO demand will fully recover by 2023. Leveraging a Digital MRO to optimize your critical maintenance operations, as well as maintain on-time delivery and enhance compliance will certainly put you at a competitive advantage. EmpowerMX offers comprehensive MRO Software that lets you streamline your MRO operations by giving you increased visibility into day-to-day tasks, as well as insight into inventory trends and forecasts. To learn more, request a demo today!

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