If 2020 is a coin for the Aviation Industry, there are 2 sides to it. On one side, we saw travel bans, parked aircraft, mammoth financial losses, supply chain shocks, furloughs, and job losses. On the other side, we saw companies shifting gears quickly by adapting to the new normal, finding new revenue channels, passenger-freight models, fast-tracking digital transformation programs to achieve excellent profit margins.
I feel a sense of pride in saying that we are working closely with aviation organizations that are on the second side of the coin, by fast-tracking digital transformation journeys. We managed to get onboard 10 new customers in the span of 9 months (since April 2020) – from leading OEMs, MROs, Airlines, and Defense contractors like , I would like to share 5 key takeaways with regards to what the industry is looking for from their technology partners.
A couple of our large customers were using leading ERPs before choosing Ramco for their MRO operations, which were not meeting the requirements effectively. While some features were force-fitted within the Aviation ERP software with customizations, which only made things complex and ineffective, resulting in revenue leakages and increased turnaround times.
The matter of fact is that Aviation organizations like MROs, CAMO, Airline Maintenance functions, supply chain entities have unique operations that require specialized Aviation software that covers the whole gamut of functions such as Configuration Management, Engineering, Maintenance, Supply Chain, Safety Compliance, MRO & Part Sales, flight operations, employee records, and finance & accounting. This takes me to the next point.
If there is one thing that is common across all 10 wins, it is that Ramco replaced multiple systems in their IT landscape. Having disconnected and disparate systems is an IT nightmare for any organization as it increases the complexity to manage the IT systems, leads to inconsistency and inaccuracy in the enterprise-wide data, and hinders an organization’s growth.
Organizations are looking for a complete application suite that is still modular in nature. That means they deploy specific modules for the current needs and when a need arises in the future for additional modules, they don’t have to look for another software but can deploy the other module within the same software they are currently using. Ramco might have displaced as anywhere between 3 and 15 systems at the new organizations.
A solid Aviation ERP software combined with a mobile platform that is used for day-to-day operations of key personnel such mechanics, store managers, pilots, executives is the ask from organizations. For it brings in a lot of efficiencies and eliminates unproductive time from the operations. The best among all mobile apps is for mechanics.
Right from task assignment notification to accessing PDF task cards to execution and work sign off, parts request to fulfillment, discrepancy reporting to corrective action, and collaborating with fellow technicians, Aircraft Mechanics can pretty much do their work on a mobile device which is a game-changer in reducing execution times in a big way. Now, imagine the exponential benefits organization gets if all key functions start using mobile apps!
When I attended industry events in 2019, the delegates were emphasizing on emerging technologies like Artificial Intelligence and Machine learning, and a little on Blockchain. Today, as I write this article, I can say for sure that a shift is happening across the organizations who are evaluating solutions/software based on how futuristic they are.
During the evaluation, there is great importance that’s placed on use cases developed with these technologies. It would not be an exaggeration to say, software organizations will be evaluated based on the investments made in these technologies and successful proof of concepts done at customer organizations, in the days to come.
While key reasons for the failure of these programs are due to lack of employee engagement, inadequate management support, poor cross-functional collaboration, and a lack of accountability, there seems to be a shift in terms of management’s interest and clarity in terms of what they mean by digital transformation and the business outcomes that are tied to these programs. For example, in an Aviation MRO organization, the outcome attached would be reducing the time spent on maintenance execution activity of an Airframe/engine or component. This can be achieved by deploying digital task cards in a mobile platform and prepositioning the material required based on predictive demand, electronic certifications, and releases.
To realize the benefits at scale, these core functions can be supported by automating the non-core and administrative functions within the organization like technical records, work planning, order processing, assignments, reviews, and approval functions.
To summarize, digital transformation programs with clear set business objectives are becoming the top agenda items at C-level meetings.