aircraft maintenance check

The One Aircraft Maintenance Check Problem That Makes You Want To Scream

The One Aircraft Maintenance Check Problem That Makes You Want To Scream

You clench your fists. You squeeze your lips, and you...


Why is it on every aircraft maintenance check project you’re involved with, there’s always an issue?

Always the last minute rush.

It happens to every airline. Every aircraft maintenance facility. Unforeseen issues and problems.

Just between you and me, it happens here at Skylink as well.

It's a key reason we’ve built in “be willing to accept and solve problems” as one of our living core values.

The Lessons Learned From A Failed Aircraft Maintenance Check Plan

Have you ever tried juggling multiple things at once?

You secretly whisper yes while you think of the dreadful memories.

The good news is you're not alone.

Skylink aircraft maintenance
Skylink aircraft maintenance

I worked with an aircraft maintenance customer who seemed to be living large under the umbrella of a large commercial airline.

With various Phds on staff to fine tune their forecasting methods, things seemed under control, until...

Budgets began tightening.

Several layoffs occurred and he was in charge of managing stores, organizing maintenance checks, and structuring a repair strategy.

Their simply wasn’t enough time to do it all. With a couple Boeing 737-800 and A330 undergoing c-check, the stress was wearing on him. How was he going to figure out how to do it all?

His team didn't have time to do it all. From cutting POs, following-up on ROs, processing various orders, managing the aircraft maintenance company, and organizing ferry flights, there wasn't enough time in the day.

As his aircraft went through maintenance, he experienced delays with component supply. As more delays occurred, his team began falling further behind. Time became a bigger issue so they spent more money on expediting and increasing their initial maintenance expense.

Delays didn't diminish, and their c-checks were delayed costing thousands of dollars.

Distribution chaos

Aircraft distribution chaos is having various projects with high ineffectiveness tying them together.

Aircraft c-check planning is the most crucial starting point. It's where you review and organize proper procurement and logistics plans. The aircraft maintenance facility can do the repair work, but you'll still have to babysit them with many activities, especially if you're going to supply your own rotables and consumables to drive down costs.

Airlines sending out mass RFQs is standard in the industry. This isn't efficient or cost effective once you get to the ordering stage. Begin thinking of partners who can do most of the consolidations for you, and who has the capabilities for your c-check list. This will streamline your procurement process as you'll do less purchasing, following-up, and organizing logistics. You'll reduce administrative costs significantly as well.

After you have a procurement and logistics plan in place, don't wait until the last minute to make key decisions. If you know you'll need 20 rotables, then begin organizing the procurement. Problems always pop up so getting started quickly is key.

The next step is to have several contingencies in place. Your aircraft component partner must follow this concept as well. Each rotable and consumable should have contingencies if an issue occurs. Items with no contingencies or long back up lead times must be noted.

You work like a mad man but it's impossible to do it all yourself. Even if you had a great supporting team, efficiency is brought on by utilizing and outsourcing activities to experts in that desired field. Aircraft painting, catering services, and component supply are 3 high value outsourcing areas.

The last step is to put trust in your partners. If you've developed a relationship, you trust them and they get things done, utilize them. It costs you more time and money doing it all on your own.

Have a "list”partner

When it comes to organizing your aircraft c-check, you know you'll have hundreds of rotables and consumables that will be required.

Sending RFQs to hundreds of suppliers, cutting POs and having everything shipped from various sources is highly inefficient. Go ahead and count the cost of what you spend in administrative and shipping costs when it's done this way.

The best solution is tapping into your partners who can quote "lists."

By lists I mean you send them a 100 parts you need and they quote you 95% of the list. They have 70 parts in stock, relationships with 10 more parts you need through OEMs, and the remaining they'll consolidate on their own.

All you have to do is cut one PO and have one shipment.

They won't settle with quoting what's easy.

You may be hesitant at first, but if they're good they'll be able to back this up with consistent reliability.

Partners working lists is great, but it's not great if they're robots blindly quoting.

You want to work with partners who are knowledgeable, diligent, and approachable (even on the weekends).

Aircraft c-checks are a stressful time.

Outsource your rotable and consumable requirements to partners who can take care of the entire component distribution. They'll ensure you have a streamlined process and save you thousands of dollars on administrative and logistic expenses.

P.S. We support thousands of parts every year through our airline partners c-checks. We quote the entire c-check lot, consolidate the part,s and use our logistics service to ship the components to your aircraft MRO. Click here and ask us how we can support your upcoming c-check.

The Shocking Truth About Your Time And How To Save It

Have you ever sat in your office and thought about curling up under your desk and hiding? If you say no, you're not kidding anyone.

Hiding from aircraft maintenance problems

I think I can count 20 times that I've wanted to do this.

You may want to curl up under the desk out of fear. Stress has overcome you and you feel that most of your time is resting on the moon, out of your reach.

Is there such a thing as enough time?

No, especially when it comes to aircraft maintenance. You have a thousand things to do and a thousand and one people to communicate with.

Think of this:

We all know the quickest way to get from point A to point B is through a straight line. So why create a mess in the middle?

From multiple vendor shipments to hundreds of MROs to follow up with, the straight line gets out of control very quickly.

Just thinking of this makes me want to curl up under my desk right now.

The good news is this doesn't always have to be the case.

Make Your Supplier Stress and Sweat (Not Literally)

The best solution to regain your time is to surround yourself with good reliable people. If you can't rely on other people then you'll never regain control of your time.

By putting some of the burden onto your supplier, you can free up 25% of your time by creating a Just In Time agreement. You tell them what you need and when you need it on a 12 month forecast and the material arrives at your door, as needed.

What a relief!

But this takes planning and trust.

Mutual understanding will streamline your network and create an efficient supply chain. No need to feel all over the place.

Being efficient

By utilizing a Just In Time agreement with your supplier you will undoubtedly become more efficient.

Give the stress and responsibility to your supplier and give yourself more freedom to work on other important areas that you now only give 50% of your attention to.

You will have time for better focus and better results.

By creating ways to regain your time, you unknowingly increase your efficiency. Don't let your supplier sit there stress free and let you do all the work. Utilize them, partner with them and create solutions so you can make your aircraft maintenance as efficient as possible.

A relationship supported by a Just In Time agreement can only help by saving  your sanity and streamlining your logistics.

P.S. If you want to know more about our JIT program and our relationship based operation, click here.

Tell me about your experiences with not having enough time in the day. Comment below.

Why Six Sigma Is Essential To Reducing Your Aircraft Maintenance Cost

You and I can agree that accurately forecasting aircraft maintenance cost is a job for a mathematician. From statistical analysis and exponential smoothing to extrapolation and the econometric forecasting, it's a world of its own. Did reading those terms bore you? I nearly fell asleep just typing them.

While focusing on your aircraft maintenance cost, there is one proven method that can help regain control of cost variation and waste.

Six Sigma Is Essential To Reducing Your Aircraft Maintenance Cost

The method which I'm talking about is Lean Six Sigma.

This methodology is known all over the world so I can be safe to say that I don't have to define it here. Instead let's discuss it's implication and how it can help you control your maintenance activities.

Key Principles of Lean Six Sigma And Your Aircraft Maintenance Cost

Lean Six Sigma is a proven method for improving your maintenance efficiency and effectiveness. Here are 6 principles to follow when implementing Lean Six Sigma:

-Identify your value stream and how the work gets done. -Manage, improve and smooth the process flow. -Remove waste. Non-Value-Added steps increase cost. -Reduce variation by managing by fact. -Involve the right people in the process who are fully equipped. -Engage in improvement activities in an organized way.

These 6 principles are vital to a successful Lean Six Sigma team. The key is to reduce waste and focus on value added activities. If a technician is running around to multiple projects, there is a possibility they may miss an important aspect of the inspection. This was mentioned in our last article.

In order to accomplish this, you must also implement a framework that can help with this process.

For improving activities in your maintenance processes you'll need to employ the useful framework of DMAIC.

Use DMAIC In Lean Six Sigma

To undergo improvements in regards to your aircraft maintenance processes utilizing Lean Six Sigma, you will need to use the framework of DMAIC.

Define: All projects start with a problem. This problem needs to be defined and everyone involved knows their role. Think about why you're doing this project and what you're trying to achieve.

Measure: The Define stage is what you "think" the problem is. Through the measure stage you'll need to be clear by coming up with how the work gets done and how well once finished.

Analyze: Now that you have an understanding of what is happening, it's imperative to find out why. Never jump to any conclusions. Manage by fact and narrow down to the best possible causes. Once the possible causes are identified you can pinpoint the root cause.

Improve: Now that you've identified the process and the problem, here is where you identify a solution to the root cause. Come up with various ideas and select the best one. Once the best one is selected, test it out.

Control: You need to control the gain you're trying to achieve. Come up with a control plan so the process is carried out consistently.

Utilizing DMAIC is imperative to the success of your Lean Six Sigma and cost control endeavors. Here is an easy way to identify your wastes.

Meet Tim Woods

In order to be successful at reducing your waste, you must first identify it. Use the acronym Tim Woods to achieve this.

T: Transport – Moving people, products & information I : Inventory – Storing parts, pieces, documentation ahead of requirements M : Motion – Bending, turning, reaching, lifting

W: Waiting – For parts, information, instructions, equipment O: Over production – Making more than is IMMEDIATELY required O: Over processing – Tighter tolerances or higher grade materials than are necessary D: Defects – Rework, scrap, incorrect documentation S: Skills – Under utilizing capabilities, delegating tasks with inadequate training

By utilizing Lean Six Sigma within your aircraft maintenance process you'll ensure that the varying cost can be reduced in one aspect or another. Don't let wasteful process deplete your bottom line. I encourage you to implement the Lean Six Sigma way and to reduce aircraft maintenance costs throughout your organization.

It may seem difficult at first but it'll save you from days which you result to hair pulling, screaming and banging your fist on the floor. Your goal is efficiency and less stress.

P.S. We can help you control your WOODS waste. We would love to talk about your needs so contact us today by clicking here.

Where do you see waste in your aircraft maintenance process?