In the first installment of our series on maintenance, repair and overhaul (MRO) system transformation, we discussed the major milestones in the journey and the common pitfalls and pain points operators typically experience. We now explore the selection process, the critical first step in the end-to-end transformation journey and arguably the one that causes operators the most consternation.
Each step in the process of choosing and implementing a new maintenance, repair and overhaul (MRO) system is challenging. Among the tasks airlines and other fleet operators need to consider during the system selection step are prioritizing pain points, determining system requirements, weighing the strengths and weaknesses of system options, and translating information from multiple vendors to enable valid comparisons.
The process challenges the time, resources and expertise of operators, so a partner with deep knowledge of maintenance and operations and extensive experience coordinating MRO selection processes can be critical to ensuring the right solution is selected and expected benefits are achieved. The partner should know the many system options available and have successfully implemented them.
The MRO system is the central hub for managing aircraft maintenance, optimizing resources and ensuring compliance with safety and regulatory standards.
Airlines and other operators consider new MRO systems for a combination of reasons: to take advantage of technology that better aligns with how they now operate; to replace obsolete legacy systems that are no longer supported; to improve predictive maintenance, asset optimization and aircraft health monitoring (AHM); to mitigate the impact of technician turnover and shortages; and to streamline supply chains.
No solution is a perfect fit for every operator. Requirements, pain points and priorities vary with each operator’s unique operating model, network and scale. MRO systems deliver common functionality but have different strengths, weaknesses and technical characteristics.
The benefits, risks and drivers of change differ between operators and systems. The right approach may be to not replace the system but to customize, develop, augment or optimize the legacy system. Development and augmentation require the consideration of peripheral, niche and best-of-breed systems that replace, supplement or add entirely new capabilities.
Defining the requirements to support an MRO system selection requires detailed insights into current workflows, data, pain points, and an understanding of what the MRO system must do to support current and future operational needs.
- Providers of candidate MRO systems and existing software
- Flight, technical operations, supply chain, HR and finance leadership
- IT application support, security and infrastructure teams
- Regulatory authorities
- MRO experts who oversee maintenance operations
- Software implementation and change management experts
- User group ranging from hundreds to thousands of people representing every department and organizational level
Common factors that we find limit the quality of the selection process include:
- Too little time, resources. Aircraft operations run lean and generally do not have the capacity to set up dedicated teams with system selection experience.
- Too much or too little information. For most, it is not a core competency to be able to digest and translate software vendor information and deliver a comprehensive recommendation considering all options, technologies, dependencies, effort, change, risk, cost and benefits.
- Too little buy-in. Expediency, which is required, can come at the cost of collecting input and buy-in from all the stakeholders whose support is critical to delivering the change and benefits expected.
The MRO solution selection process and decision can be managed in-house – if the expertise and full-time resources exist – or in collaboration with a system provider. The case for engaging an independent adviser with implementation experience is strong.
As an unbiased, system-agnostic MRO selection partner, SeaTec:
- Knows the digital MRO landscape and has hands-on experience implementing and using these systems.
- Brings a playbook for identifying and prioritizing pain points and opportunities for process improvement, then maps them to the capabilities of candidate systems.
- Shares insights from people who have hands-on experience using both the legacy and target systems.
SeaTec brings a deep bench of technical operations subject matter experts to the selection process. They understand the challenges fleet operators and maintainers face and have worked with some of nation’s largest airlines and fleet operators. Having delivered end-to-end implementations and been called in to fix implementations that went off the rails reinforces the understanding of issues that can be addressed and risks that can be mitigated during MRO system selection.
SeaTec’s MRO Selection Playbook
- Requirements and constraints definition
- Evaluation method definition
- Market analysis
- Vendor and solution evaluation
- Development and refinement of business case
- Selection recommendations
- Pre-implementation planning
SeaTec has the playbook, expertise, understanding of airline operations and market knowledge of the system landscape to provide a robust selection process and recommendations backed by the experience of delivering successful implementations.
This is part of a series of articles on MRO system transformation. For more information about our engineering, technical services, MRO capabilities or related topics, please contact us or the author and follow us on LinkedIn.