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Aftermarket Trends | MRO Management

27 Oct 2023

The aviation aftermarket is an evolving landscape facing ongoing challenges while resourcefully adopting digital transformation to achieve improved efficiency and customer service excellence. Are we ready to embrace the future of the aviation aftermarket?

MRO Management’s Emma Kelly speaks to AJWs Chief Commercial Officer, Scott Symington about his views on trends in the MRO aftermarket sector 


The aviation industry is on a growth path despite the downscaling during the global pandemic. Supply chain disruptions and skilled labour shortage are among the numerous challenges the industry faces 


The shortage of skilled aeronautical engineers persists and is contributing to issues within the global supply chain and a dearth of certain components is affecting lead times. These factors have led to a diversification within the supply chain and the forging of strategic partnerships among stakeholders. 


2022 and 2023 have seen a rapid increase in OEM costs that have been exacerbated by factors such as energy and fuel price hikes, and political and economic instability across the globe, impacting interest rates and inflation. 


AJW’s Scott Symington affirms that the Group has invested in increased inventory to mitigate the more than 12-month lead time from OEMs. By holding a larger stock pool, a company can provide a cushion against extended shop processing time, but one must have the size, scale, and customer focus to make that investment. 


Aftermarket Trends | MRO Management

The Group Chief Commercial Officer speaks about the importance of having systems to monitor customer demands, trends, inventory, outstanding core returns, and supplier shop performance in real-time to predict the market. He explains that the business is further developing its repair capabilities in-house at its Slinfold and Montreal based MRO facilities 


These challenges are not going away any time soon, comments Symington, who believes it may be well beyond 2025 before we see an alleviation of the situation. By then shop visits will have peaked and there will be a return to a more regular situation.  


Aviation businesses are doing all they can to entice technical training to bring more people into the workforce, but the numbers are not sufficient to deal with current and predicted demand. AJW’s Symington remains positive and speaks about the cycles within the industry creating a bubble for all solutions and parts suppliers, The real positive…is that AJW is now investing in digitisation to position itself to optimise efficiencies. 


He adds that the ability to quote faster, have dynamic market pricing, improved inventory management, advanced visibility through predictive maintenance, allows the customer to track their shipment in real time, allows the Group to offer increased levels of service excellence that has a material improvement on airline customers’ operations.  


AJW’s digital transformation includes predictive maintenance to contracted Power-by-the-Hour (PBH) customers, trialling RFID tags to track AOG shipments and developing predictive inventory modelling systems. AJW Technique in Montreal is using dynamic forecasting using AI-supported digital tools to capture historical data. We feed this data to our supply chain team to ensure parts are provisioned as early as possible in the process to build efficiency into shop processing item. 


While the industry adapts to the evolution of aviation, one thing is certain, digitisation is pivotal to the success of this process.  




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