Maintenance tracking is an important function for any Airline, Aircraft Operator or Aircraft Owner. Poorly maintained aircrafts can cause safety and compliance related issues. Maintenance tracking was previously done using maintenance log books. Even today one would need to keep hard copies. Yet, with the power of IT, you can get so much more valuable information in a very short span of time from an automated system. That is why more airlines, operators and MRO’s are using computerized maintenance management applications.
While choosing a maintenance management system, you have a choice between Ready-to-use applications and tailored ones. In this blog we tried to explain the difference between two systems and how you could benefit using either one.
|The ready-to-use option for software can give you a fair to excellent amount of capability.||The tailored solution can give you everything you want, excluding what you don’t want – but at a price.|
|They are sold in large quantities, the per-unit price is lower as the development costs are shared by many.||It is designed especially for you so cost advantage you won’t get here.|
|With Cloud based deployment, implementation is faster and smoother.||Development time is added with deployment time, it generally takes a longer time to develop and implement tailored aircraft maintenance solution.|
|Additional functionalities may not be available with ready-to-use.||If you want more functionality, you must pay again.|
|It is designed for a wide audience, you may not get all the features you expect.||Designed as per your preference. You are ought to get all functionalities.|
|Updates are vague, may not be always useful for you. Not done as per your schedule and preference.||Updates are done on your schedule, as per your preference.|
|Ready-to-use software can help you identify process flaws and ultimately guide you in streamlining your processes, as these systems are aware about the standard processes/practices from other vendors.||Team/Vendor developing tailored software may not have any prior knowledge in the field.|
Points to consider before signing up forReady-to-use or tailored software
- Mere Maintenance tracking does not make anaircraft maintenance management tool. Beyond the fundamentals of maintenance tracking, what kind of added features are important to you.See what features are nice to have, but not necessary?
- With automation, you should get the power to do much more than regular spreadsheets. You should be able to access detail down to the part level and track the part through its entire life on the aircraft. Work orders, Purchase orders add value to maintenance software.
- See if information is organized properly and in several levels of detail. The maintenance technician or system user should be able to see what’s going on with engine number xx22xx33 on ABC aircraft or the overall maintenance status of ABC aircraft. Basically, an aircraft maintenance software needs to see the big picture of the entire maintenance operation.
- An Aircraft Maintenance system should track maintenance costs and labour hours along with the basic maintenance tracking functions. For a fleet of aircraft, you should know what an overhaul or maintenance task is costing you. This will help in financial planning for future tasks. Knowing the technician man hours for each task allows you to identify the priorities and plan the man power accordingly.
- See if you need Inventory functions along with maintenance tracking. Most vendors provide all sufficient functions. Look for the software which give additional features and good reporting support. Item replacement, warranty tracking, minimum stock levels, multiple vendor management.
- Management might want to have look at costs incurred and overall performance of maintenance operations, so admirative reportsare important, especially for airlines and aircraft operators. Notable points could befleet status, which aircraft will need major maintenance the coming year? Where the maintenance dollars are being spent? Etc.
- See if vendor can incorporate any additional functionalities or alter the current formats for you. Important thigs to consider whether system allows you bar coding of parts, different user levels for access. If you don’t need them, can you turn it off? If there’s a need in the future, it’s nice to know if it is there to use. Tailored Solutions can get you those functions that you need.
- For an airline with hybrid fleet, it is important that software is able to track all aircraft make and models. Solution should not have ambiguity in tracking different models for you. Running multiple maintenance applications for mixed fleet will increase training time, chances of confusion and won’t be a cost-effective option for an airline.
- See if system interface is easy to manoeuvre. The maintenance tracking system are powerful and complex tools. See if your day to day tasks are easy, rather less time consuming. With software’s you get the flexibility in designing your own flow.
- See if vendor provides any additional tools, like automated email alerts, push messages on mobiles, browsers, Artificially intelligent tools, such as email bots, chat bots etc.
- Last but the most important aspect is support and training. See if proper training and help manuals are provided. You may also raise query if recurrent/refresher trainings are held? and at what cost?Turnaround times and Service levels play most important part in software support, you might ask vendor to provide support and service levels agreement to sign up for. See if vendor is able to provide round-the-clock support via email, telephone etc.
For Tailored one
With Tailored maintenance software,you can get all the functions you need. It tends to be substantiallyexpensivefor development and implementation. If your operations are large and complex, then a Tailored Solution may be the one you need.
See if you are planning to use same set of procedures for longer period and whether your flow is content. Aviation is dynamic industry, changes can be frequent. In this case, you may also need to plan recurring costs for redevelopment and changes in developed system.
If you are a small or medium operator, best way is go for Ready-to-use software. You may control the costs and have a choice from choosing maintenance solution most suitable to your maintenance operations. While evaluating, look for the entire package. Realize that you aren’t likely to get 100% of the features/functionalities you want, but separate those you need most from those you’d love to have.