How often do aircraft part repairs cause your belly to ache and your heart to burst?
One minute you have a repair requirement, and the next you have 20 repair orders to ship, follow-up on, and approve.
It's the constant source, process, chase, trace and ultimately, MRO babysit doom and gloom.
I recently spoke to the VP of Maintenance for an international airline about this very problem.
The most significant problem facing most operators is streamlining repairs.
It's common for operators to pull aircraft parts from their fleet and stock them unserviceable.
They gather dust, sitting. Waiting.
They scream, “repair me.”
The reason for this, as the VP of Maintenance put it, is time allocation.
He has to pull people from their core activities to focus on repairs, which takes time.
From sourcing, shipping, receiving, and processing repair orders, it appears as a low value-added activity.
Often, they get so overwhelmed they approve repairs without questioning market or trying to drive down cost.
This isn’t a win/win scenario for the operator.
You don’t have time for a strategic, efficient repair process
You don’t have the time to babysit and piece part your repairs.
Maybe you could hire someone from Nannys.com, but I doubt they would understand.
Time is crucial and continuing to focus your resources on core activities is vital to the success of your operation.
Here are a couple of ideas…
Outsource your aircraft part repair work
Before you go thinking, “of course, you say outsource,” look at these numbers:
Several major airlines that have outsourced heavily in the last five to 10 years claim savings in airframe work of 35 percent to 45 percent. Some 53 percent of worldwide commercial maintenance requirements are outsourced today.
Now those are numbers worth crunching.
Outsourcing gives you the flexibility to refocus your attention on higher level activities and reduce overall costs.
Imagine going from a world where you have to ship, process, maintain, communicate, approve, and receive multiple repairs, to one where you approve a repair!
You go from an average repair order taking 25 steps and many manhours, to less than ten steps in under an hour.
Your repair partner does all of the work and drives costs down through consolidated shipments, repair order economies of scale, and piece parting.
They will identify, quote, contract, track, and pay various MROs, in addition to grouping your assets with others to drive efficiency and cost reduction.
Now, this is easier said than done.
Knowing your partner is crucial.
Here are a few ways to identify and control the beginning stages of your partnership:
1. How do they respond to you now? You want to work with someone that is easily accessible and who responds to your questions promptly. Don’t work with human robots.
2. Do they have other repair management partners? Have them send you a list of other partners they work with. Trust and transparency are crucial.
3. Test them with a scenario. Give them the history of your last repairs for 4 - 5 items. Have them work a repair average including freight and see how they can help you drive down cost. Remember, saving you time is a cost that is never reflected in the proposals and one thing that you should consider.
4. Review their logistical plan. Your goal is to think less about repairs and focus more on core activities. They should have a streamlined logistical plan where they can pick-up and ship back to your facility, without your involvement (you’ll want to approve freight cost of course).
Repair simplicity is no longer a commodity
Many airlines are finding value in aircraft component repair outsourcing.
It’s not that they're incapable. It's necessary to reduce costs and focus on core activities.
When you outsource, it’s crucial that you communicate your wants and needs, unless your partner is a mind reader.
Then, of course, nothing else matters.
That’s why Skylink has a 24-hour asset repair care AOG line that includes mind reading (sarcasm ensues).
With better communication, your repair process will become easier. As you and your partner work closer and closer together, they’ll become an essential part of your operation.
You may even begin considering them as your in-house team members, with none of the associated cost.
Now that’s what you want.
Effective communication and outsourced repairs will help you achieve this.