Maintaining data fidelity across hundreds of thousands of parts and materials is a challenge for all airlines. Knowing where the discrepancies exist can prove even more challenging. Few things are more frustrating than learning – after a late-night call – a key part is effective for a particular aircraft tail when the M&E system said it wasn’t. It can lead to unnecessary delays, cancellations, mismatched inventory and operational inefficiencies. For those managing materials and configuration, it can keep them up at night – literally.
Getting a good, accurate handle on parts and materials data can limit sleepless nights, frustration, unnecessary cost, incorrect inventory allocations and service disruptions. Through the help of a trusted provider with expertise in materials handling and optimization, aircraft maintenance and data science, airlines can successfully identify, fix and prevent part discrepancies within their M&E or other materials management systems. Maintaining parts and materials data fidelity, particularly across a wide variation of fleet types and effectivities, significantly benefits the entire organization.
The complexity of interchangeable part relationships across a diverse fleet can make managing applicable airframe, engine, landing gear and other assemblies and components a challenge.
A major international airline operates a large fleet of Boeing and Airbus aircraft with a mixture of diverse parts and materials effectivities. The airline uses third-party supply chain optimization software that operates on parts and materials data fed from their M&E system. The airline is challenged with data discrepancies within its M&E system. Not only do these discrepancies affect operational performance, but they also limit the airline’s ability to accurately forecast asset demand and use across its network of warehouses and stores. The issue affects all types of materials – expendables, consumables and rotables – across scheduled and unscheduled line, overnight and heavy maintenance events.
SeaTec’s expert team consists of data architects, data analysts/scientists and consultants with extensive experience in airline supply chain, materials, M&E systems and aircraft maintenance. Our team attacking this challenge has extensive expertise in identifying and solving the issues that plague airline materials systems with data discrepancies. The project involves four overarching stages to find, fix, prevent and monitor for discrepancies.
Identify the discrepancy By utilizing SeaTec’s proprietary EPICC tool, the team can compare massive airline system datasets (M&E in this case) against a source dataset to drastically reduce the number of items requiring manual review. For parts and materials, these sources can include an IPC, RSPL and vendor lists. The identified discrepancies fall into three categories:
- Part is in M&E system but not in source dataset.
- Part is in source dataset but not in M&E.
- Part is in M&E and source dataset, but discrepancies exist.
Fix the discrepancy The culled-down list of flagged discrepancies are entered into a user interface where an airline subject matter expert (or SeaTec SME) can address the list. The interface provides an efficient and user-friendly method to filter the list (fleet type, ATA, issue, etc.) and allows the user to easily identify the reason for the flag. For example, the source says the part is effective on aircraft 1, 2 and 3, but the M&E says it’s only effective on aircraft 1. The user can then make an initial correction via the interface that will be audited for quality and fixed in the M&E system itself. If appropriate, they can also choose to “accept” the discrepancy as-is and prevent it from showing up as a recurrent discrepancy in future reviews. Fixes to the M&E system can be made manually or via a script update.
Prevent the discrepancy Data on the identified issues is gathered and analyzed to identify where the discrepancy originated. This step utilizes process experts to discover faults in an airline’s standard operating procedures (SOPs) or system access controls, causing the discrepancies and resulting in errors and unwanted compliance or operational risk. Appropriate actions (revised SOPs, training, system access controls, etc.) can then be taken to mitigate those risks going forward.
Monitor for discrepancies SeaTec’s EPICC tool is then used to periodically monitor an airline’s materials or M&E system to identify any ongoing data discrepancies. This frequent, low-touch, proactive approach ensures these critical systems have the data fidelity required to run a tight organization. Issues found at this stage can be fixed long before they grow into major issues.
Across a large, data-intensive project like this, SeaTec’s team members apply not only their deep knowledge of specific airline systems but also of how the airline operates as a whole. As with all our projects, the customer, their team and their needs guide the approach and delivery of the end product. Because the overall goal is to give the airline the accuracy they need to fly efficiently.
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