28 Jun 2021
There are complex issues to be considered when configuring IT systems for line & component maintenance. Aircraft Commerce spoke to Sajedah Rustom on how AJW Technique leads the way as a digital incubator of first-to-market MRO technologies.
Extracts of our contribution follow - you can read the full Aircraft Commerce article here >
As with all other sectors of aircraft maintenance, the information sent to a repair shop is transferred in a paper format. Clearly, a lot of data entry and errors and time could be avoided or reduced if this information were prepared and transferred electronically.
“Most airlines continue to use the traditional hard copy paper system, but some airlines are starting to use new technologies,” says Sajedah Rustom, chief executive officer at AJW Technique. “These include API connections between the various IT systems in use. These allow shops and airlines to transfer information between each other. This is now becoming more common as many maintenance providers and repair shops create customer portals that allow the direct transmission of this information.”
Rustom adds that more airline IT systems are placing data on the part’s repair into radio frequency identification (RFID) chips. The data can easily be read by the repair shop and transferred into its IT system when the RFID chip is scanned. This includes all relevant documentation. Among the several problems inherent with a paper system, are: the lack of visibility the airline has while the component is outsourced; the absence of a seamless flow of data between the airline and component repair shop; and the fragmented data sent to an airline from the component repair shops. An airline’s main interests are to reduce repair-related costs and increase parts availability. Many airlines only receive emails from repair shops and have limited information. What an airline needs to know promptly is whether or not it is economic to repair a part, and when it can expect to receive it back from repairs.
Several solutions have evolved to track or manage components as they pass through the repair and transit cycle. One example is an electronic data interchange (EDI) connection between AJW Aviation and AJW Technique, AJW’s component repair and overhaul service.
“This gives AJW Technique advance notice of when units are coming in for repair, and it builds the framework for the repair order to reduce the manual input required when the component comes into the shop,” says Rustom. “In return, the EDI connection allows all the repair work to be monitored. We also have GATE reports, which are a visual aid to help AJW Aviation see where the part is in the repair cycle process. We have API integrations for our customers, and our in-house customer portal provides the same benefits of transparency for the airlines.”
A specialist ERP solution is required if all the relevant data is to be managed electronically rather than on paper. “This can eliminate the traditional paper and manual processes from most of the process, but there will still be some items such as test sheets that have to be filled in by technicians,” says Rustom. “These test sheets can, however, be scanned and uploaded into the ERP system, with the related repair order and other information.”
AJW Technique has been working on solutions to reduce manual interventions related to administrative work, and is exploring integrations of tablet devices and software solutions that allow the direct transfer or input of documentation from the tablet to the ERP system. Such a system would allow all technical records and serviceable tags to be produced, signed and sent to the airline electronically, if this is what is required.
“A seamless flow of electronic information between airlines and multiple component repair shops is possible, if all parties are willing to adopt new processes,” says Rustom. “AJW Technique has the functionality to log labour man-hours and material consumption used for the work. These can be sub-divided into the individual steps of the repair process.”
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