7 Feb 2024
The aviation industry is navigating a multitude of challenges concerning parts availability across new, repaired/refurbished, and Used Serviceable Material (USM). This complex scenario is steering industry stakeholders towards more forward-thinking operational strategies.
The dearth of parts across the industry is due to the now all too familiar struggles with fewer aircraft teardowns (ageing fleets are staying in service for longer) and slow turnaround times due to shortages in spare parts and skilled manpower at repair shops. As a result, companies are attempting to stockpile parts to build a buffer against the disparity between supply and demand.
This situation started improving towards the end of 2023, however, one cannot deny that the aftereffects of Covid-19 are still evident across the industry. It boils down to insufficient supply to meet demand.
AJW Group’s Cooper believes there are two key factors contributing to this complex scenario. Firstly, operators are extending the lifespan of older aircraft due to challenges with new-gen planes, and secondly, supply chain disruptions are causing delays in component delivery and impacting repair processing times. Effectively balancing inventory is a balancing act, says Cooper, but those who have made substantial investments in stock are better equipped to navigate supply chain disruptions.
“We employ a proactive approach by maintaining a robust inventory, ensuring a resilient buffer against uncertainties in the supply chain.”
Through a constant influx of aircraft for disassembly, the Group bolsters its stock levels and provides a steady supply of serviceable material to the market.
“Managing stock levels is a data driven science and utilising advanced analysis tools enables us to identify demand trends,” explains Cooper who also believes the Group’s success can be attributed to its strong relationships and effective collaboration with OEMs and MRO providers, including its own MRO facility, AJW Technique, in Montreal, Canada.
Others reinforce the sentiments of AJW’s Head of Asset Management and add that data management and accurate tracking also play a part in inventory and order management. The article touches on new technologies and the potential benefits of 3D printing in relieving the parts shortage and the enhanced accuracy of laser welding compared to traditional parts production methods.
As operators face hurdles such as prolonged logistic lead times, among others, there is a trend towards greater regionality in sourcing affirms Cooper. AJW’s operational agility has led the Group to drive a sophisticated pooling strategy with inventory placed purposefully around the globe, allowing easy access and distribution to its regional customers which is invaluable to operators and MROs.
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