The Uptime Blog
Craig McLeod, Director of Sales for Asia Pacific at Enigma, shares a light-hearted moment with Sung-Yeon Park, Deputy General Manager and Yeon-Kwan Lee, Deputy General Manager at Korean Air at the Enigma Aviation User Conference, 2011. Pictured at left is Jim McGovern, Senior Account Executive at Enigma
Enigma recently hosted our annual aviation user conference, which offered airlines and MRO shops the opportunity to learn about current and future product offerings, and discussions about customers' experiences and opportunities.
Enigma shared detailed plans for next generation content processing automation, integration and delivery/viewing/printing of multiple data formats. Another key topic was Enigma’s ability to monitor, manage and modify all content processing/publication steps, to balance support of existing maintenance plans against fast response to unplanned situations (like AOGs). Complete demos of advanced revision management, job card production and PDF integration and data extraction generated a lot of discussion and were very well-received.
There was a detailed presentation on current and future opportunities to tie Enigma into ERP and MRO systems, improving an airline's ability to optimize parts inventory and maintenance planning. (Attendees were very interested in the off-the-shelf integrations to Oracle, SAP and Rusada.) Demonstrations of the latest specifications (i.e. S1000D, 3D data, etc.) combined with older standards (i.e. iSpec 2200) received significant attention. (This is a critical topic for airlines that are receiving new fleets—Airbus A380, A350 and Boeing 787—that must also support legacy fleets.) Finally, attendees were very interested in the best ways to meet the needs of mobile workers and the ability to provide up-to-date information to out-of-the-way locations (no Internet connection). To this end, Enigma demonstrated applications running on both an iPad and an Android smart phone.
One particular highlight of the conference was a detailed case study by a prominent airline. This Enigma customer reduced the time required to process new maintenance revisions from six months to two weeks, while simultaneously saving $500K in the first year. (For urgent situations, this airline admitted they could now process maintenance revisions in as little as three days.) In less than two years time this airline has processed almost 70 maintenance manual revisions and their maintenance department reports it is now current with latest documentation.
This airline has a large number of fleets and they found that Enigma’s technology allowed them to skip older/out-of-date maintenance revisions and simply process the latest version of each manual to bring them into compliance. (Previously, the airline had to process each revision sequentially to ensure critical information was not overlooked.) According to the presenter, this airline can instantly tell the FAA the date and time that an AD/EO/SB/TR was implemented, and conference attendees were visibly impressed. Another stated benefit is unique to maintenance execution—that is the ability to request parts while working on the aircraft and have those parts delivered from stores, to the aircraft, 11 minutes later. This airline described how all of this advanced technology was rolled out and readily adopted by a team of mechanics whose average age is approaching 50. (So much for resistance to new technology.)
The benefits of hosting a user conference, allowing customers to have face-to-face and group discussions, cannot be overstated. Being in a conference room, watching customers describe implementation challenges, asking questions and swapping suggestions reveals additional product opportunities that are difficult to capture in one-on-one meetings and readily carry over into future product plans.
Enigma’s Chief Technology Officer, Mickey Kimchi, demonstrates the InService MRO product on a mobile phone for Sung-Yeon Park, Deputy General Manager at Korean Air.
I just returned from SUGAIR 58 in Palo Alto, CA. The SAP Users Group for Airlines (SUGAIR) is a bi-annual conference for experts, executives and managers of maintenance, repair and overhaul (MRO) operations in the aviation, aerospace and defense industries. Enigma was invited to provide a status update on the integration between Enigma, SAP MRO and HCL AXON’s iMRO. It was also an opportunity to share the joint strategy with some of the members who had not travelled to Kuala Lumpur in December. SUGAIR 58 was well-attended by an impressive list of airlines and defense organizations and the feedback on our strategy was very positive.
There were many meaningful presentations focusing on mobility (online/offline data access), product roadmaps/rollout plans, spare parts planning and supply chains, performance based logistics, flight ops support, and new analytics tools. All of these presentations were well received, but clearly the tablet demos received the highest “wow” factor. Enigma was pleased to be included in the tablet demo by HCL AXON. (It’s especially cool when people find Enigma’s software so easy to use that they can demo it without our involvement.)
During one of the evening events, a topic from the last SUGAIR meeting was once again raised—namely, the strategy of Boeing and Airbus to limit service and parts information as a way to lock-in spare parts sales and control who can provide maintenance and repair services. It seems the OEMs may have backed off on some of their demands as, according to some airlines, they’ve started to discover how complex the MRO IT environment really is. Perhaps Boeing and Airbus have figured out that the airlines really do know what they’re doing and that the work of 30-40 years can’t be easily replaced? That remains unclear but certainly the panel at MRO Americas in Miami hadn’t yet heard about this change in OEM strategy/behavior. (They were still pretty ticked off.)
SUGAIR members wanted to discuss Enigma’s ability to extract information from the IPC, AMM and maintenance planning documents (MPD) and to update the master parts list (MPL), maintenance requirements (MR) and job cards (task cards) in SAP. Furthermore, the ability to then quickly identify inventory problems like “dead” parts was a source of many animated discussions. Attendees recognized the huge opportunity this represents for cost reductions in inventory and procurement.
For Enigma, SUGAIR 58 was a great opportunity to participate in solving today’s (and tomorrow’s) MRO challenges. From the feedback we received, the aviation, aerospace and defense organizations that attended gained valuable insight for how to leverage SAP and partner technology to maximize their business success.
Repairing high tech equipment can be a challenge, not only because troubleshooting the equipment is complex, but also because field technicians are often not allowed access to the Internet while servicing equipment. Limiting Internet access may seem odd, but it is common practice in some industries. This is particularly true in the high tech medical equipment or semiconductor industries where wireless Internet access may disrupt the safe operation of sensitive equipment, and companies want to protect their intellectual property regarding how their equipment is operated and serviced. As a result, technicians who don’t have the latest information to diagnose and repair equipment must make multiple service calls, or traipse in and out of the clean room (with the required change of protective clothing on each trip).
Properly servicing high tech equipment requires fast access to the right parts and service information. Otherwise, technicians spend too much time searching for information and ordering parts. In fact, technicians often order multiple similar parts hoping that one of them will “do the trick” to fix the machine. The extra parts are either stored locally (as “trunk spares”) or returned to inventory or the manufacturer, which incurs additional expense.
Fortunately, Enigma offers a field service solution with complete offline/online access to technical content and related spare parts (all of which can be driven by equipment serial number, model, customer configuration, etc.). Enigma’s solution enables manufacturers to assemble, distribute and dynamically update an integrated encyclopedia of parts and service information that ties into maintenance scheduling and ERP/inventory systems. Whether working online or offline, field service engineers are able to access all relevant technical content such as illustrations, engineering diagrams, part lists, operator manuals, service manuals, service bulletins, safety notices and other required product literature. Field technicians can look up the specific bill of materials of a particular piece of equipment, and see all of the relevant parts and procedures to complete the repair.
Toshiba America Medical Systems (TAMS), a leading provider of diagnostic imaging equipment, has a network of mobile customer engineers that provide on-site support at hospitals and clinics throughout the United States. The company recently selected the Enigma InService EPC solution to enable its field service engineers to more cost-effectively service equipment on-site, often in 100% disconnected mode. Their customer engineers can go to a customer site, access the as-maintained BOM, troubleshoot and fix problems and select required spare parts—without ever being connected to the Internet. Later, when it’s convenient, the technician automatically syncs up with the ERP system to complete parts orders and report problems. Scott Silcock, Director of Service Logistics Management at TAMS, said “We believe the Enigma solution that links parts and related maintenance information will make our customer engineers even more independent and capable of addressing a greater percentage of customer issues on the spot."
For OEMs that have to service complex equipment, it’s crucial that their technicians have the right technical content at their fingertips—online and offline—to repair assets more efficiently. What’s the net gain for the manufacturer? They are able to increase technician productivity, improve customer satisfaction, reduce the cost of maintenance and technical support, and facilitate communication between their engineering, field service, publications and parts departments.