22 Feb 2017
Even excluding engine parts, components represent about a quarter of aircraft maintenance spending.
And smart component maintenance has several critical dimensions. There is cost, of course, including the cost of holding inventory and managing repairs and restocking. Timing is crucial, as delays boost inventory needs and can disrupt schedules. Finally, the quality of repairs and spares counts as well, as these affect reliability and long-term value.
The best vendors pay attention to all three dimensions, as their airline customers must as well.
The aim of AJW’s Montreal repair station, AJW Technique, is to reduce the total cost of ownership in component support, notes director of sales Josh Goring. Through quality and innovation, the Canadian shop is good enough at that to provide many of the repairs for one of the largest low fare airlines (LFAs) in the world.
Any repair or replacement can be expensive, so AJW Technique first looks for alternatives. AJW Group is one of the largest providers of aircraft components, allowing AJW Technique to benefit from the purchase of major assemblies on the aftermarket, which can then be broken down into subassemblies of used serviceable materials. “That’s a 60% to 70% saving versus OEM parts,” Goring notes. “Each component is inducted and certified after stringent quality inspection. We have a very good line of sight on where to get inventory and how.”
AJW Technique also uses data analytics on the 1,200 units it processes each month, figuring out which piece parts fail, and when and why. That enables the shop to replace some parts before they break, saving future repairs and keeping components flying longer.
Developing and certifying new repairs takes a long time in aviation. AJW Technique uses its Design Approval Organization to innovate here, but also innovates in service, increasing on-wing time or delivering repaired parts faster. The shop now repairs parts in 80% of ATA chapters, including avionic, pneumatic, hydraulic, fuel, electric generation, galley and safety components.
AJW Technique undertakes a third of the $200 million in annual maintenance for which its parent company is responsible, but must compete for all the work it does. The company began working with about 10,000 unique parts but now focuses on 5,000 for which it can provide the most competitive service. Parent AJW Group tailors a variety of terms, including flighthour, time-and-materials and fixed-price, to each airline’s specific needs. With 1,300 aircraft under flight-hour agreements, keeping repaired parts on wing longer is critical to both AJW and its repair providers.
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