The Uptime Blog
The Airline & Aerospace MRO & Operations IT Conference APAC, organized by Aircraft Commerce, took place in Bangkok, Thailand this week. If I’m not mistaken, this is the fifth time this conference has taken place in Asia. Aircraft Commerce holds similar conferences in the US and Europe every year.
In previous years, this conference attracted around 20 vendors and a good turnout of most of the airlines in the region (except for the Chinese, who never turn up). This year the number of vendors soared to over 30, while the number of airline delegates seems to have decreased, both in number and in seniority of participants. There were probably no more than 100 delegates, more than 50 of which were from two local airlines: Thai Airways and Bangkok Airways. This led to “thin traffic” throughout the two days of the show – fewer delegates spread over more booths.
The conference itself was very “hands on” in nature, with many of the sessions dealing with mobility. Apparently iPads are still deemed as “sexy” gadgets by many in this conservative and slow-moving industry, even if there isn’t much adoption of this new technology yet.
One interesting session dealt with “IT integration”, with panelists from Airbus, MRO system vendors and airline IT executives. It very quickly turned into an “OEM bashing” session, with the Airbus guy naturally taking the brunt of the bashing. The main complaint was that OEMs do not provide all the data the airlines need and charge too much for the little data they do provide. The cost is especially prohibitive for smaller airlines. Furthermore, the same OEM provides different formats on different, non-integrated, systems for different fleets. The Airbus answer for this was to recommend airlines pay separately to an integration company (not a surprising answer, given the recent Airbus-IBM partnership).
Oddly enough, the panelists concentrated on the symptom: not enough data and lack of integration. They did not speak about the root cause of the problem: the fact that OEMs have no interest and no incentive to give airlines too much control over the data.
Aircarft Commerce was successful in making this conference the main IT event of the industry, taking customers away from the Aviation Week conferences. But it seems that it is also becoming a victim of its own success. Many IT vendors have recognized the success and signed up to exhibit and sponsor, but Aircraft Commerce was not as successful in growing the number and quality of participants. Many airlines did not show up, or sent one junior delegate. To continue being successful, Aircraft Commerce must find a way to increase the ratio of delegates to exhibitors.
Still, the PTC/Enigma team was able to have some interesting discussions with delegates around InService MRO and the concept of PTC’s Service Lifecycle Management.
Enigma (now a part of PTC) is gearing up for the 2013 Airline & Aerospace MRO & Operations IT Conference - APAC. The conference is slated for October 16th and 17th and will be held at the Amari Watergate Hotel, Bangkok, Thailand. It’s the world's leading aviation IT conference/exhibition for MRO and Flight Operations software solutions and one that Enigma has attended for many years. It is hosted by Aviation Maintenance Magazine, touted as the most cost effective, independent, commercial aircraft research tool on the web today.
The two day event includes presentations, case studies and interactive workshops led by industry experts as well as airline and MRO IT users who contribute first-hand insight and expertise. It is the ideal place to learn about new topics and discover the latest trends in aviation and aerospace maintenance repair and overhaul.
Enigma/PTC staff will be on hand to share some exciting information. First is the announcement that Enigma has been acquired by PTC and what that means in terms of being able to provide a broader based MRO solution. With Enigma now an active part of the PTC Service Lifecycle Management group, we’re able to add agility in sensing and responding to service parts demand on a global scale. Tools like service resource forecasting, planning, sourcing, and provisioning truly complement Enigma’s existing InService MRO. That, combined with service network planning, and a global sense and respond capability make our robust system even more powerful.
We’ll also be there to share information about our InService MRO software, with our InService Job Card Generator and InService Revision Manager with airlines, aircraft operators and MRO providers. Find us at booth E36.
The 4th Asia Pacific Airline & Aerospace MRO & Operations IT Conference, organized by Aircraft Commerce, took place in Bangkok, Thailand this week.
Attending the conference were mid-to high-level managers from airlines and MROs in Asia with about 30 solution vendors vying for their attention (and future IT budgets). Conspicuous in their absence were delegates from the largest airlines in the continent – the Chinese – but this did not seem to impact the lively atmosphere in both the conference rooms and the exhibition space.
The mobility “buzz” dominated the conference proceedings, with EFBs (Electronic Flight Bags) leading the pack. I counted no less than six presentations with the words “EFB” or “iPad” appearing in the speaker summary notes. The proponents of mobile solutions also made sure they were creating a parallel “buzz” on the LinkedIn group “Aviation Service Lifecycle Management” by commenting to each other about the greatness of mobility in the cockpit. Given all this background noise, a visitor from Mars sitting in the conference ballroom would surely have reached the conclusion that the aviation industry is obsessed with one topic only: how to put iPads in the hands of pilots, and fast.
But if one were to turn from this hypothetical Martian in the conference room to an even more hypothetical fly on the wall in the exhibition room, the conclusion would have been markedly different.
When the managers and executives of the airlines actually sat down for serious discussions with each other and with the IT vendors, the issues that came up were very far from the “sexy” image of pilots in crisp uniforms holding an iPad in one hand and navigating the airplane with the other. The issues discussed were, alas, more mundane and down-to-earth: how to make maintenance mechanics more efficient, how to reduce unnecessary overhead in maintenance operations and how to make the multiple MRO IT systems work together in an integrated environment. As one sober industry executive put it recently: “The iPad is a basic, consumer product with limited built-in connectivity and content upload capability. It was never designed to be used in an aircraft environment and is not manufactured with aircraft-grade components. It is a consumer device, not an aircraft device”.
So it was encouraging to see IT and M&E managers sitting down for serious evaluation of the solutions available on the market. The hard times that have been hitting this industry for the past few years have helped introduce some rationalization in the airlines’ approach to MRO IT solutions. We no longer see extreme approaches to IT projects, with some airlines embarking on ambitious, all-encompassing, paradigm-shifting, multi-million dollar projects, with other airlines sitting on the sidelines and doing nothing for fear of change. It seems the approach today is more focused on achieving tangible results for a reasonable investment.
A welcome new vendor on the exhibition floor this year was Enigma’s partner, Oracle, offering their cMRO solution. Mr. Sook Hyun Cho, leader of the MRO ERP project at Korean Air gave a keynote case study presentation of the implementation of cMRO and Enigma’s InService MRO at the airline’s M&E organization, a project that went live almost two years ago. Mr. Cho highlighted the tight integration between the Oracle and Enigma systems, enabling KAL engineers to generate thousands of job cards daily. He stated KAL has met its project goals and can already boast efficiency improvements in MRO operations.
Kudos to Aircraft Commerce for organizing another successful Asia Pacific event.
Autumn is smack dab in the middle of trade show season and Enigma is right there too. We’ll be exhibiting at two Aviation/MRO related events during the month of October.
If you’re in the aviation, aerospace or the MRO field, you may want to check out these events and swing by the Enigma booth while you’re there.
October 17 -18, 2012 in Bangkok, Thailand:
Airline and Aerospace MRO & Operations IT Conference APAC 2012 by Aircraft Commerce
Touted as the world’s leading aviation MRO and Operations IT software solutions, this event, according to the Aircraft Commerce website “provides a one-stop solution for airlines, aircraft operators and MROs seeking to implement or discover more about how new technology can streamline and increase their MRO and Flight Operations efficiency as well as reduce costs dramatically. For those companies who already have systems in place, they will be able to view and demo the latest add-ons and learn how new software can be incorporated and provide further benefits.”
The event provides opportunities to see software demonstrations, listen to industry experts speak about the latest key issues and trends, and network with other senior management colleagues from the airlines/MRO industries.
Enigma will be on hand to share our latest InService MRO, InService Job Card Generator and InService Revision Manager software updates with airlines, aircraft operators and MRO providers. Find us at booth E24.
October 22-24, 2012 in Scottsdale, AZ:
ATA e-Business Forum by ATA e-Business Program
The ATA e-Business Program website reports that this event is “the industry's premier event to learn about the latest developments in information exchange to support engineering, maintenance, materiel and flight operations. This conference is the most comprehensive event dedicated to information exchange standards and technologies in the global aerospace industry. This educational forum provides a high level overview of the ATA e-Business Program and the many specifications and industry initiatives underway to facilitate effective and efficient information sharing between trading partners.”
At this event, attendees will learn about the industry's most widely accepted e-business specifications (Spec 2000, S1000D, iSpec 2200, Spec 42 and Spec 2300), and gain insight on how the industry has earned significant savings and operational efficiencies through the use of global standards.
Enigma’s John Snow, VP of Global Marketing and Strategic Alliances will be an industry expert speaker delivering presentations on both days of the event. His topics are (presentations will be posted following the live presentation):
- Tablets on the Tarmac - Connecting MRO Diagnosis, Planning and Execution to Minimize AOGs
- When Standards Collide - Case Studies for a Unified MRO Process that Supports S1000D, iSpec2200 and PDF
If you’re in engineering, maintenance, or material and flight operations, be sure to stop by the Enigma booth to learn about our latest InService MRO, InService Job Card Generator and InService Revision Manager software updates with airlines, aircraft operators and MRO providers.
We’ll see you at the Shows.
Korean Air (KAL) knows how to operate the A330 aircraft, at least according to Airbus. The manufacturer of the A330 gave KAL the award for Best A330 Operator at the Technical Symposium in Bangkok (June 12-14).
Based on a detailed evaluation of KAL’s A330 performance, including on-time operation and aircraft utilization, Airbus recognized KAL for its overall excellence in maintenance. According to the article, “Operating a total of 23 A330s, Korean Air has the highest recorded on-time operation rate of 99.78% amongst 120 airlines from 2010 to 2011.”
Enigma is proud that KAL has demonstrated such great success while using our InService® MRO product – ensuring maximum uptime with minimum turnaround time (TAT) for their A330s. At a recent MRO tradeshow KAL executives described Enigma's value, which was also reported in another recent magazine article.
Clearly KAL's maintenance strategy is paying off, for their passengers and for their operations department. Enigma extends our heart-felt congratulations to Korean Airlines, for winning this prestigious Airbus award!
l-r: FedEx VP of Engineering Mark Yerger and Enigma CEO Jonathan Yaron presenting at the Airlines And Aerospace MRO & Operations IT Conference, March 2, 2011
Last week I had the pleasure of attending the Aircraft Commerce Airline and Aerospace MRO & Operations IT Conference in Miami. There was an impressive array of delegates, not only from North America but from Europe and Asia as well.
I also had the honor of delivering a presentation at the conference, on “Repurposing Technical Data to Reduce Inventory, Improve Asset Utilization, and Increase Compliance,” which followed a related presentation by Mark Yerger, Vice President of Engineering at FedEx. The topic was well-received because so many airlines and MRO shops face the challenge of ensuring inventory and maintenance plans remain accurate and compliant. Many airlines have found that the key is to synchronize the latest technical content with IT systems because while technical content is revised frequently (by both OEMs and airlines/MRO shops) those changes take longer to be pushed into ERP. This is a major problem, because technical documentation is the primary method of communicating important changes throughout an MRO ecosystem, and it is the foundation for compliance. Outdated ERP information creates a ripple effect that drives up costs, increases downtime and causes fines.
Technical content drives every decision around maintenance and inventory planning, and impacts the technicians’ ability to do their job quickly and remain compliant. Yet many airlines and MRO shops still use manual processes to 1) incorporate OEM revisions into current maintenance practices and 2) update service parts and procedures in the ERP, MRO, PLM and SCM systems. Doing this work manually is labor-intensive and prone to human error; as a result it is not cost-effective.
Integrating IT systems drastically reduces manual intervention for processing technical documentation and revisions. Automating those manual processes saves significant time; by using Enigma InService Revision Manager, airlines have reconciled new OEM revisions 80% faster (in days rather than weeks). For example, processing one aircraft maintenance manual (AMM) requires the tech pubs department to review all 15,000 tasks in the document looking for changes, or at least the 3,200 tasks that have been marked as changed. However, because of InService Revision Manager’s ability to isolate just those changes that require human intervention, manual review and approval is needed for only 457 changes. Similar results are seen on other forms of technical documentation as well. This accelerates the implementation of new service and parts revisions from 3-6 months to less than a week.
Nonetheless, automating revision management is only one part of the solution. Synchronizing technical documentation across Engineering, Maintenance and Inventory systems is another key element. Bridging these environments is possible, by integrating technical documentation with the ERP system. This ensures that the latest service and parts information is available across all maintenance and support departments.
Considering that each fleet has millions of pages of content (maintenance manuals and planning documents, parts catalogs and service bulletins), as well as multiple data formats, data viewers and IT systems operating in parallel, it is absolutely essential for airlines and MRO shops to have an integrated environment that synchronizes all service and parts information. The benefits are increased aircraft uptime, decreased operating costs and greater compliance.
For details, click here to download my slide presentation from the conference.
This week's Aircraft Commerce: Airline & Aerospace MRO & Operations IT Conference for the Americas was a great success. It's the first time this event has been held in North America—over the past four years the focus was on EMEA and APAC. This was a well-executed conference, with over 200 attendees from 60 companies (from across the Americas) and 22 different exhibitors.
By specifically focusing on IT for airline MRO and operations, this event fills a gap in the current list of aviation conferences. Moving forward, we believe this show will gain importance for the aviation community as automation, compliance and safety become a focal point of technology and cost-saving initiatives.
For many attendees, this was the first time they learned that the wait for paperless is over; the technology is available and is being rolled-out today at numerous airlines around the world. Those in attendance seemed to agree, based on the feedback received from the Tuesday morning presentation: "IT considerations in a modern MRO facility; Will paperless become a reality?" delivered by Scot Struminger, FedEx Service's VP of Airline Technology and Jonathan Yaron, Enigma's CEO. Not only was the audience very receptive to the topic, but Scot and Jonathan were pulled into numerous conversations with attendees throughout the remaining two days of the conference.
As the show in Miami came to a close, Enigma was encouraged by the renewed level of interest in finding IT solutions to address the challenges of operating an airline or an MRO organization. Having worked with many OEMs, airlines and MROs we know we can help the aviation community alleviate the growing concerns—economic, regulatory, safety, productivity, quality, retirement, etc.—that have come to dominate today's aviation business strategy.
Last week I attended the Aircraft Commerce 3rd Annual Airline & Aerospace MRO & Operations IT Conference in Frankfurt, Germany. (Now, isn’t that a mouthful for a conference name?) Here are a few of my observations from the show:
- IT vendors are all reporting booming growth. In a vendor roundtable session, every representative stood up and spoke about how much recent business they had signed. If one were to add all the numbers the inevitable conclusion would be that there are hundreds of airlines in Europe alone and they are all buying new software! Be that as it may, the bottom line is that the MRO market is growing fast, so airlines and MRO shops are increasing their investment in IT systems to support this growth.
- The show was attended mainly by MRO management software companies, so the usual suspects were present: Swiss Aviation Software (AMOS), Ramco, Mxi, Trax. It was interesting to see IFS and Servigistics also present, an indicator that companies offering adjacent technology solutions are turning their focus to MRO as well. Conspicuous by their absence were the ERP players: SAP and Oracle (the show organizers mentioned that SAP has booked a space for next year).
- From a customer perspective, the show was mostly attended by 2nd and 3rd tier airlines. The only major airlines I noticed were South African, Singapore (SIA) and Malaysian (MAS). The organizers really need to attract more 1st tier airline delegates; having both SAP and Oracle exhibit would increase the chances of that happening.
- Electronic Flight Bag (EFB) was a hot topic, but the plethora of offerings around EFB and the wide variance between the different solutions indicate that this technology is still in its early stage. Handheld devices with EFB solutions were proudly demonstrated by some vendors, but several delegates questioned whether such contraptions would really be useful. The EFB solutions will need to mature before taking their place beside the more-established IT solutions for aircraft management.
On a general note, the show was well-organized, with the right balance between conference sessions and exhibition time. Unlike the Aviation Week MRO events, where the IT business takes second stage, if the Aircraft Commerce people focus on IT they can grow this event to become the leading event for MRO technology. This show could easily become the place to be for airlines looking for IT solutions that will improve their business processes.