MRO or Maintenance, Repair, and Overhaul is an inevitable part of the Aviation industry. Each minute lost costs the airlines, hence, having a reliable MRO partner is key to maintaining the fleet healthy, particularly the aging ones. In essence, prompt MRO response results in minimum delays between stops for the airplane and ensures a safer flight.
However, there are many challenges that MRO have to tackle in order to get efficiency where it needs to be. Managing tools, parts, work order effectively is half the job done! But things are not always that smooth.
Let’s review some of the most common challenges that are faced by the MRO Tools Tracking in the aviation industry.
An aircraft might look like structure made from a few large parts, but that because we rarely see inside of it. For a rough comparison, the narrow body Boeing 737 is made up of 367,000 parts and something larger like a wide body Boeing 777 is made from 6 million parts. And to take them apart or to just fasten them, you need tools that come in varied specifications.
This is where the first series of challenges begin. As the tools are used on daily basis, the chances to them getting misplaced among the hundreds of other tools are high. And this happens more often than you think. This is why MRO companies are looking for modern tracking systems that can bring order to the chaos left awake after a major repair job.
The MRO inventories can span a large area and they often have huge aisles that are filled with different types of tools and aircraft parts. Modern methods of inventory organization include electronic means of tracking to see if all the tools and gear have been returned at the right station after successful completion of the project. This leads to a more efficient method of tool tracking for MRO.
MRO becomes ineffective in its operation if it does not have the required supplies. Again, this leads to a hold up in the tasks that are scheduled for the project. This is why parts management is very important for MRO companies.
Since the inventory includes a wide range of parts that are being used up on a daily based, poor visibility will result in the stocks running out without proper replenishment at the right time.
MRO’s invest in smart tracking and automatic updating of stocks. This approach is because of the fact that not all assets will be used at the same rate at the same time. So, some assets may be consumed quickly while others may stay idle for a long time. Inventory surplus also costs the company just like an inventory deficit.
Nowadays companies use sensors and tags to keep track of the tools and parts in the inventory. This way, they can get real-time updates on the stocks and take actions accordingly.
Misplacement of Tools or Assets
One of the major problems faced by MRO companies is tools or parts that get misplaced by their users. This often happens when the users forget to return the items that they have used. Misplacement of materials directly contribute to the first two challenges, but additionally, may pose a security and compliance issue.
Managing the workflow
The maintenance check starts with a work package, outlining each task to be performed in broad detail, leaving a paper trail. The non-digital process give way to extended service manhours due to poor planning, smooth work transfer between shifts, components/ tools management, duplication, doubling or tripling of maintenance tasks.
We may be just scratching the surface here. However, these are some of the potential challenging areas, MRO’s can benefit greatly if addressed effectively. With the aid of RFID & IoT, smart systems enable MRO’s run a tight ship.
MRO industry is certainly growing and evolving to eliminate the inconsistencies and inefficiencies that often plague its operability by adopting new technologies and process models. Once such system, EnTrackRealtime by TrackIT is a WIP Visibility and Analytics System designed and developed for aircraft engine MROs for faster service turnaround and management. Enabling process mapping and workflow creation, ensures physical tracking of material, resources in a day to day operations and provides real-time progress visibility to the executive management in dashboards. EnTrackRealtime empowers management with real-time data and analytics for decision support.