Having reliable third-party suppliers, smooth internal and external processes and transparency within a company are of utmost importance to all businesses, especially a multi-million pound organisation such as an airline.
That’s why selecting the right organisations to call on in an aircraft on ground (AOG) situation is such an important task. After all, the success of a working relationship can only really be judged once it has already begun.
But, with so much competition in the market and even more comprehensive, flexible solutions on offer than ever before, selecting which partners to do business with isn’t exactly easy.
Indeed, a supplier that can deliver a much-needed part within a tight deadline ticks the box, as does an MRO that has the latest in-house technology and inspection tools, offering a reduction in man-hours and costs. Similarly, IT software that gives a clear overview of internal operations, from fleet management to invoices, is highly sought after.
There’s no denying that every contract matters, as do the relationships behind them. So airlines have to look beyond a price tag and ask whether a potential business partner is the right one for them. This is especially relevant in a fast-pace industry, like the one we are working in today.
Therefore, every company must innovate, deliver and advance its offerings in order to stand out against its competition that are endeavouring to do the same. And as suppliers react to the continuously evolving landscape, airlines are increasing demanding more inclusive solutions to better compliment the developments seen in the wider industry.
Here, I am going to look at a few ways in which the industry has evolved in recent years in order to meet and exceed the demands coming from airlines.
Consolidation here, there and everywhere
While the trend of companies consolidating in order to strengthen their offering isn’t a new thing, it has become far more popular within the aviation industry over the last few years.
For example, we have seen MROs team up with manufacturers to become approved maintenance centres for particular products. This is no doubt a reactive strategy by independent MROs to counterbalance the impact of the OEM’s presence in the aftermarket, as airframe and engine manufacturers now offer attractive aftermarket support packages alongside their products.
And as the consolidation trend continues to grow, airlines look more favourably upon those suppliers that can tick multiple boxes. Having fewer partners to deal with surely allows for an airline to work more effectively and achieve greater efficiency and reduce costs.
Now suppliers are increasingly merging to remain competitive and improve their services. And with a future of next-generation products and new maintenance techniques in sight, collaborating with other skilled organisations is a good way to stay in business – as well as relevant.
It would be fair to assume that the market in 10 years time will have changed quite considerably. There will no doubt be several large MRO networks leading the way offering the kinds of flexible solutions that airlines can only dream of.
Right now, as OEMs try to secure more of the aftermarket and consolidation is becoming the norm, the market is proving to be as lively as ever.
Of course, having such a wide selection of services available is what every airline wants. Thus, airlines can now have their pick of solutions and products, as well as the power to negotiate prices.
While some organisations are choosing to consolidate to survive in tomorrow’s market, many MROs are focusing on delivering a wide range of services all under one roof.
Known as one-stop shops, this type of set up offers attractive savings to airlines and short turn around times.
Lufthansa Technik is one of the MROs that operates a one-stop shop, offering Total Technical Support, Total Base Maintenance Support, Line and Base Maintenance, Engineering Services, Aircraft Modification, Composite Repairs, Aircraft Leasing & Trading Support, AOG Services and additional services, such dedicated maintenance services.
With so many services offered by just one company, it’s easy to see why one-stop shops are such an attractive solution for airlines.
It’s simple really, if a supplier won’t be flexible with its offering, someone else will.
That’s why suppliers have stepped up in order to meet the growing demands of airlines by offering more customisable packages to cater to their needs.
For example, SR Technics offers flexible solutions to its customers with the aim to meet individual requirements and give operators a “true competitive edge”.
And by analysing a customer’s individual maintenance and modification needs, organisations like SR Technics are able to provide “optimal maintenance services that ensure the highest levels of reliability and safety”.
SR Technics in particular says it can minimise downtime and costs through “targeted and proactive” solutions, further proving that the market is diversifying and broadening its offerings, with customers firmly at heart.
An example of a flexible solution offered by some MRO organisations is power-by-the-hour (PBH). A PBH agreement will see an MRO cover the repairs of selected parts for a fixed sum for each flying hour, allowing airlines to better manage finances.
IT software for transparent operations
Of course, companies want to have a clear overview of everything from fleet management to maintenance processes, as well as business correspondence, quotes and invoices, and inventory management.
So IT solutions are commonly being adopted in the workplace to help manage everything, in one place. And as the world becomes even more digitally focused, having a software solution that a workforce can access remotely and at the tap of a button makes total sense.
For example, adopting an IT solution like Rusada’s Envision can give customers the transparent overview that they seek, not to mention notable cost-savings.
With seven comprehensive modules – Configurations & Resource Manager, Fleet Manager, Materials Manager, Quality Assurance Manager, Operations Manager, Maintenance Manager and Finance Manager – it would be hard to go wrong with such an innovative tool, plus it’s easy to implement into any business model.
Each of its customisable elements gives an MRO, service provider, supplier or airline the power to really enhance and improve their internal operations.
By recording and evaluating key areas of a business, Envision gives companies the platform they need to evaluate the things that are being done well as well as the things that may need improving.
For example, the Operations Manager can help an airline manage everything from scheduled maintenance work and compliance or regulations to crew rosters and exam timetables.
While the Materials Manager module allows a customer to access the tools it needs to manage all aspects of material and purchase management, including part number and stock control.
Envision is a great tool to help a business refine its day-to-day operations, as well as plan for the future. If you’d like to find out more about how Envision can help your business today, just click here.