Slowly But Surely: A Modular Approach to MRO Digital Transformation in a COVID-19 World

The global aviation industry nearly experienced a hull loss when the COVID-19 pandemic hit. The International Air Transport Association (IATA) forecasted that airlines will lose more than $84 billion in 2020. IATA also projected that passenger demands will not return to previous levels soon.

Even OEMs were not exempted from the crisis. Embraer canceled its 2020 financial forecast due to economic uncertainties. Airbus and Boeing, on the other hand, have hundreds of undelivered aircraft.

Maintenance, Repair, and Overhaul (MRO) companies are at the receiving end of this disruption. MROs are in a holding pattern due to deferred heavy maintenance and dried-up line activities. According to Oliver Wyman, post-COVID MRO spend is expected to be just half of the projected amount.

Turn to Digital

The COVID-19 crisis disrupted 30–40% of MRO services worldwide – but it did not stop forward-thinking MROs 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%. 

Various factors drive MROs’ shift to digital, 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. But budget constraints and the high cost of buying an integrated MRO software suite are obstructing MROs’ flight to digital.

The good news is you can circumvent budget constraints and fast-track time-to-value by using a modular approach to digital transformation. A modular 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, and riskier.

Modular Approach: Benefits and Methods

A modular 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

However, it still requires careful planning and implementation. Here are the key steps you should take to ensure a smooth flight to digital:

  1. Study new-normal trends: How did the COVID-19 crisis disrupt the entire aviation sector?
  2. Identify your value chain’s unique pain points: What are your and your customers’ new-normal challenges?
  3. Invest in the right modular solution: What modular solutions can address your unique pain points?
  4. Partner with an industry expert: Does your vendor have a deeper and wider industry perspective?

Take the Modular Approach with EMX

By partnering with an industry expert like EMX, you will get not only a comprehensive technology solution, but also a deeper and wider industry perspective necessary to understand new-normal trends. 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 them further based on your unique needs.

Invest in modular digital solutions that can help you dive away from the COVID-19 pandemic tailwind, slowly but surely. EmpowerMX provides you with proven modular solutions and industry expertise to help you “fly to digital” and land on the new-normal market 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.