Low-code: The future of aircraft MRO operations
- Last Updated: June 1, 2023
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- 5 Min Read
Safety is paramount in aviation, which is why it's a highly regulated business. The smallest bolt in an engine assembly, a hairline crack on the fuselage, or a faulty electric wire can lead to catastrophic failure and result in an AOG (aircraft on ground) situation. This has cost many airlines dearly; when they can't fly passengers or material, they don't make money.
There's a lot of complexity behind these simple economics. It can take just one SB (Service Bulletin) or AD (Airworthiness Directive) to prompt a series of changes in maintenance procedures, leading to multiple changes at a work-order or task-card level.
But even amidst today's difficult macroeconomic situations, there's hope, as the aviation industry is expected to experience tailwinds and signs of profitability in 2023. In this blog, let's unravel some of the intricacies of MRO operations and how low-code solutions can help beat the clock and crank up legacy IT deployments.
What are Part 145 operations in aviation?
Part 145 is a regulation under the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) that sets standards and requirements for aircraft maintenance organizations in the US. It's designed to ensure these organizations perform their work safely and consistently. The regulation requires aircraft maintenance organizations to establish and follow written procedures, to use appropriately trained personnel, and to have the necessary tools, equipment, and facilities to perform their work.
The FAA issues certificates to facilities inside and outside the United States. The total number of domestic and foreign repair stations has grown tremendously to meet the globalization of air travel and maintenance demands. At last count, there were approximately 5,000 Part 145 repair stations. But not all repair stations can perform all tasks. Most specialize in one of the following: airframe, powerplant, propeller, radio, instrument, and accessory.
Low-code for aircraft MRO operators
Low-code software development platforms offer a promising solution for aviation maintenance organizations seeking to manage their MRO operations while efficiently complying with regulations. With low-code platforms, non-IT users can create complex applications using a visual drag-and-drop interface, reducing the time to develop and configure complex workflows. By automating manual processes—such as tracking maintenance schedules, managing inventory, and generating compliance reports—low-code platforms can improve efficiency and reduce the risk of errors.
Business heads can manage all aspects of MRO operations on the go from their mobile app; this can help reduce delays and improve the quality of maintenance work. Additionally, low-code platforms offer flexibility to adapt to changing regulations and requirements, allowing organizations to quickly modify or create new applications.
It's not always easy to manage operations on the go. But if you're heading toward sustainable operations and want to reduce paperwork, you can make it happen with low-code. Mobile applications enable technicians to access work orders, provide updated statuses, and record maintenance activities in the field—and a low-code mobile app can ensure you don't spend a lot of time in development.
Reporting and analytics
The software provides reporting capabilities to analyze maintenance data, generate performance reports, and identify trends and patterns. It can help you make data-driven decisions and improve maintenance processes. You can quickly build custom dashboards and integrate third-party apps with a low-code platform.
At most enterprises, MRO software integration has enabled a seamless exchange of data with existing enterprise resource planning (ERP) software, asset management systems, and Internet of things (IoT) devices. Users across functions can now make data-driven decisions regarding asset utilization, maintenance planning, performance optimization, and strategic investments; this helps improve operational efficiency, reduce costs, and drive overall business growth.
Essential features of comprehensive MRO software
Managing your equipment, machinery, and other assets is a complex task. Aircraft MRO software helps airlines, maintenance organizations, and other aviation stakeholders optimize operations, reduce manual work, and improve overall efficiency by centralizing data and providing real-time insights. It lets you track asset parameters like maintenance history, warranty information, and location.
Work order management
Work order management can involve a lot of paperwork in the case of routine C checks or D checks, where technicians are required to inspect engines, airframes, and aircraft components. Irrespective of the type of routine or non-routine checks, with a digital work order management app, you can create, assign, and manage tasks for your maintenance programs. You can prioritize and schedule work orders, and track their progress from a single screen.
Preventive maintenance focuses on identifying and addressing issues before they escalate into major problems. Conducting routine inspections and adhering to maintenance schedules can detect potential failures early on, preventing costly breakdowns and disruptions. AI-powered MRO software assists in implementing preventive maintenance strategies by fetching insights from historical events and prompting the right corrective measure for in-field technicians. It helps you create maintenance schedules, set up recurring maintenance tasks, and generate automated reminders.
Tracking and managing the inventory of spare parts and ensuring that the right parts are available when needed is one of the most crucial parts of any aviation business. These apps include features to manage spare parts and inventory associated with maintenance activities. You can track stock levels, reorder points and purchase orders, and manage vendor information.
Maintenance planning and scheduling
If you're an airline professional or an MRO operator, you know the significance of quick turnaround times. You can build a low-code-powered maintenance system to track and manage maintenance schedules and flight hours and allocate resources based on availability, equipment downtime, and technician skill sets, to optimize scheduling.
Managing your maintenance workforce, and ensuring they're skilled and certified for the job, is an essential part of maintenance planning activity. Custom aircraft MRO software allows you to build approval workflows quickly, assign tasks, set routine reminders, track technician availability, monitor productivity, and more.
Compliance and safety management
MRO software can help ensure regulatory safety standards are met. Maintenance teams can store and manage maintenance-related documents, manuals, schematics, and other reference materials. It also ensures technicians have access to accurate and up-to-date information.
MRO operators can maintain a digital copy of certifications, track safety inspections, and maintain compliance records. Keeping an audit trail of all maintenance activities, including work orders, checks, repairs, and parts usage, helps track maintenance history and identify recurring issues.
Overall, low-code software development platforms provide aviation maintenance organizations with a cost-effective and efficient solution to manage their MRO operations while ensuring compliance with regulations. If this sounds interesting, our solution experts would be happy to discuss more about your business needs.
- Pratik Rohra
"Salvador Dali famously said" At the age of six I wanted to be a cook. At seven I wanted to be Napoleon. And my ambition has been growing steadily ever since.” I am no Dali, but I wish to be someone with his stature someday. My drive is to learn constantly, be in challenging situations, and develop new skillsets.
I'm a B2B Product Marketer with 7years+ work experience. Currently charging my creativity with some groundbreaking campaigns to take Zoho's business to the next level. My drive to understand the depth of the customer's business has helped me evolve as a business professional.
Outside of my 9 to 5, I'm an aviation enthusiast, passionate about personal finances and investing. I also love long drives, backpacking trips and unwinding in solitude."
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