On a daily basis a Director of Maintenance is in charge of managing a fleet of aircraft, ensuring that each plane is airworthy.
They oversee everything from line maintenance to aircraft logbooks while managing business partnerships right from negotiations to the finalising of contracts.
Indeed, a Director of Maintenance must ensure that any projects are carried out to the highest of standards at the same time as coordinating maintenance processes to those outlined in OEM recommendations.
Although lower operating and maintenance costs are highly sought after, nothing can be seen to compromise the safe running and reliably of an aircraft or airline.
So, how can a Director or Maintenance save money in a fast-paced and expensive industry, such as aviation?
Thankfully, aviation is one industry that innovates by the minute, meaning there are a variety of processes, tools and solutions available that can be easily implemented into most workplaces to help reduce overheads.
Six of these solutions and processes are discussed below:
1. Plan downtime strategically
We’re all too aware of the costs associated with an aircraft being grounded, which is why it’s important to be strategic when it comes to shop visits and inspections, keeping downtime to a minimum.
One trick is to make as many maintenance processes as possible coincide with other scheduled checks. Carrying out tasks such as oil changes, cleaning, lubrication and minor adjustments can really help to increase the health and lifespan of an aircraft.
Indeed, being able to manage and account for every aircraft on ground (AOG) situation really does help a Director of Maintenance to be in control of their operations. And by performing multiple tasks at the same time one is able to significantly cut costs and reduce overheads, such as man-hours.
2. Preventative maintenance
While preventative maintenance has been discussed before, this list would be incomplete without reaffirming the important part that it plays in reducing costs for a Director of Maintenance.
A couple of tools that help with preventative maintenance are integrated sensors and condition monitoring, both of which significantly help to cut maintenance costs and unscheduled maintenance events.
Indeed, most next-generation aircraft come equipped with multiple on-board sensors that predict when a part might fail, but for classic models or more mature machinery there are other ways to prevent parts from failing outside of scheduled events.
For example, regular light maintenance can be carried out on a part in order to reduce the chance of unexpected deterioration and costly unplanned MRO.
Condition monitoring is another powerful tool that can help improve the efficiency of a part.
Through conditioning monitoring a Director of Maintenance can gain access to information about factors such as temperature and vibration. By monitoring such parameters an engineer is able to identify changes that could lead to future faults or parts failure, which is instrumental in reducing maintenance costs and optimising the life of a component.
The use of diagnostic and prognostic technology is especially important when it comes to the health of an engine, as this component is extremely expensive to maintain.
3. Keep up to date records
A logbook is used to determine the quality, airworthiness and worth of an aircraft, which is why a Director of Maintenance must ensure that all documentation, including maintenance files, are kept up to date. And if a logbook is not kept up to date, the value of an aircraft could decrease significantly.
There’s no denying that managing a fleet is a strenuous task, to say the least, and staying on top of records is a momentous challenge in itself.
This is why the industry offers a wide selection of solutions to aircraft owners to help them keep well-organised records.
One of these solutions is Rusada’s MRO software platform, Envision. Through Envision, a Director of Maintenance has the ability to use electronic logbooks for aircraft and sub assemblies via a Fleet Manager module to log data with ease. What’s more, this particular module can also store third party electronic documents, including OEM documentation.
4. Be compliant, always
For a Director of Maintenance, knowing everything about EASA and/or FAA regulations, aircraft flight manuals and specifications is crucial. And having an in-depth knowledge of safety alerts or notifications such as airworthiness directives (AD) and alert service bulletins, can lead to safer operations, with lower associated costs.
5. Plan ahead: technique and machinery
Of course, it’s important to provide the necessary training to a workforce as soon as it’s required, especially in an industry that has a next-gen future already mapped out.
The use of composite materials, advanced avionics and 3D printing are just a few of the advancements that the industry has welcomed in recent years. And despite managing a team of expert engineers, a Director of Maintenance must accommodate such changes in their workshop.
While investing in new tooling and training will require an initial sum, having the most advance technologies in a workplace can only improve operational efficiency and consequently lower maintenance costs.
6. Implement an advanced IT solution
Finally, a Director of Maintenance would greatly benefit from integrating an advanced IT solution into their existing operations, so they are able to obtain a clear overview of all processes, from office to hangar.
A solution such as Envision’s Maintenance Manager module gives aircraft owners the ability to plan and perform all MRO processes.
For example, the Maintenance Manager can provide an EASA-145 operation with the controls that it needs to plan work and monitor performance thanks to its comprehensive key features, including analytics tools, key decision support information and system-wide configurable reporting.
Plus, it can store everything from staff attendance records and shop floor data, including an insight into productive hours, to data from operational managers.
For more information about Rusada’s advanced IT solutions, just call today to arrange a consultation.