Scholarly article on topic 'Innovating General Aviation MRO's through IT: The Sky Aircraft Management System - SAMS'

Innovating General Aviation MRO's through IT: The Sky Aircraft Management System - SAMS Academic research paper on "Economics and business"

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{Innovation / MRO / "General Aviation" / "Business Process Management" / "Value Chain Analysis"}

Abstract of research paper on Economics and business, author of scientific article — Caglar Ucler, Orhan Gok

Abstract Airworthiness regulations for civil aircraft oblige excellent operations with strict control procedures. Therefore proper aircraft maintenance and management is a sophisticated multi agent process, involving a growing amount of information processing. While large airlines and their technical organizations are able to handle this flow, private aircraft or smaller fleet owners rely on smaller maintenance, repair and overhaul organizations, which cannot cope with the demanding requirements. Leveraging this situation, an innovative information technology system for General Aviation is proposed herewith, which is integrating all stakeholders in the value chain through information technologies, enabling organizational transformation using business process management and value chain analysis towards sustainability. It is also shown that as an affordable tool the proposed Sky Aircraft Management System - SAMS is capable to transform and integrate all processes, including supply, repair, operation and approval, enabling new capabilities and thus new businesses, constituting a radical innovation framework supporting sustainable development.

Academic research paper on topic "Innovating General Aviation MRO's through IT: The Sky Aircraft Management System - SAMS"

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Procedía - Social and Behavioral Sciences 195 (2015) 1503 - 1513

World Conference on Technology, Innovation and Entrepreneurship

Innovating General Aviation MRO's through IT: The Sky Aircraft

Management System - SAMS

Caglar Uclera*, Orhan Gokb

aOzyegin University, School of Aviation, Istanbul, Turkey bTop Service, Ataturk International Airport, General Aviation Terminal, Istanbul, Turkey


Airworthiness regulations for civil aircraft oblige excellent operations with strict control procedures. Therefore proper aircraft maintenance and management is a sophisticated multi agent process, involving a growing amount of information processing. While large airlines and their technical organizations are able to handle this flow, private aircraft or smaller fleet owners rely on smaller maintenance, repair and overhaul organizations, which cannot cope with the demanding requirements. Leveraging this situation, an innovative information technology system for General Aviation is proposed herewith, which is integrating all stakeholders in the value chain through information technologies, enabling organizational transformation using business process management and value chain analysis towards sustainability. It is also shown that as an affordable tool the proposed Sky Aircraft Management System - SAMS is capable to transform and integrate all processes, including supply, repair, operation and approval, enabling new capabilities and thus new businesses, constituting a radical innovation framework supporting sustainable development.

© 2015TheAuthors.PublishedbyElsevierLtd.This is an open access article under the CC BY-NC-ND license


Peer-review under responsibility of Istanbul Univeristy.

Keywords: Innovation; MRO; General Aviation; Business Process Management; Value Chain Analysis

1. Introduction

Flight safety is the common goal of all stakeholders in aviation that all aircraft must be produced and operated according to airworthiness standards set by international regulations of the International Civil Aviation Organization

* Corresponding author. Tel.: +90-216-5649527; fax: +90-216-5649047. E-mail address:

1877-0428 © 2015 The Authors. Published by Elsevier Ltd. This is an open access article under the CC BY-NC-ND license


Peer-review under responsibility of Istanbul Univeristy.

doi: 10.1016/j.sbspro.2015.06.452

(ICAO), U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), or the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA), taking over the responsibilities of the Joint Aviation Authority (JAA) within the member states of the European Community (Pérezgonzalez et al., 2005). In addition to that organizations such as the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) are governing on local national basis. In general the standardization is achieved through 18 Annexes to the ICAO Convention identified as International Standards and Recommended Practices (De Florio, 2011).

All aircrafts are designed, certified and operated according to these regulations. Also the maintenance, repair and overhaul (MRO) must assure continuing airworthiness as explained in EASA Part-21, EASA Part-145 and EASA Part-M (SHGM, 2012), or FAA guidelines. Therefore the MRO organizations have to schedule, plan, perform and document maintenance activities according to the legislation, which is continuously improved that the local authorities are controlling the performed MRO tasks accordingly. Aircraft suppliers publish product bulletins (PB) throughout the life cycle, describing modifications or preventive maintenance tasks, MRO organizations have to follow PB, legislation updates and respect limited shelf or calibration life of all parts and equipment.

Consequently aviation maintenance and inspection is a complex system (Sadasivan et al., 2009), where individuals perform varied tasks in an environment with time pressures, sparse feedback, and sometimes difficult ambient conditions exacerbating the likelihood of error (Latorella and Prabhu, 2000). Maintenance related aviation accidents are approximately 6.5 times more likely to be fatal and at least 10% of accidents can be attributed to maintenance, where also 36% of FAA fines and legal actions involve inadequate maintenance (Marais and Robichaud, 2012). In order to minimize the errors and to learn from mistakes, controlling processes are due in MRO organizations, including an Occurrence Reporting System (ORS) (Pérezgonzalez et al., 2005). The external control of all MRO processes is carried out by local authorities approving both; the MRO organization and the continuing airworthiness of the aircraft. Hence the MRO must have a system in line with the regulations, which is also capable to provide traceability of all operations and items in order to enable continuing airworthiness on a documentary basis. This results in time consuming, extensive quality assurance work, which can be realized by larger MRO organizations. These are more competitive with a high number of aircrafts under contract (Canaday, 2013) and mostly well established with a high number of associates, providing flexibility in material handling as well. Such large MRO organizations possess expensive systems based on information technologies (IT) supporting the required quality functions. However aviation is not only commercial, nor all commercial aviation entities are large. MRO organizations serving mainly General Aviation (GA) are below a critical mass and they cannot cope easily with the demanding standards for safety management. On the other side the liabilities of the aircraft owners in GA do continue, even if they contractually outsource the maintenance and the management of the aircraft (SHGM, 2012b). Another handicap for GA is that MRO organizations are getting increasingly expensive. In fact according to Shetty and Hansman (2012) the most effective factor impacting GA is the cost of the fuel, available time, income and cost of maintenance, which is setting the MRO organizations under pricing pressure. Between 2010 and 2012 the number of active GA aircraft went down by 6.4 % in the US with a projected trend of growth of just 2.6 % annually until 2034 (FAA, 2014) compared to the 4.8% forecasted commercial annual traffic growth (ICAO, 2010). Moreover FAA (2014) forecasts that the GA growth will be mainly in sophisticated turbine aircraft, which covers predominantly corporate jets and air taxis, which prerequisite sophisticated MRO organizations. Considering the existing overcapacity for MRO organizations (Tegtmeier, 2014), this means that the sustainability of GA-MRO organizations is endangered impacting all stakeholders in small scale aviation, unless they change.

Leveraged by these constraints there can be an innovation potential for GA-MRO organizations, because change is driving towards innovations (Iyer et al. 2006) in form of product, process, position or paradigm innovation (Tidd and Pavitt, 2005). The initial perception of the legislation in aviation might be very strict, but it does not dictate how the requirements are fulfilled that the GA-MRO organizations can focus on their own requirements to create lean, but comprehensive processes. Since it is obvious that innovative companies do differ in processes and work environment from others (Stamm, 2003), the subsequent reengineering of MRO processes can lead to a new innovative concept making use of IT as a business enabler (Grant, et al., 2013). In addition to that the integration of all stakeholders in the value chain using IT can also lead MRO services towards an innovative approach, generating competitive advantage (Tidd and Pavitt, 2005), which is focused on next.

2. Literature Review and Hypotheses

IT innovations drive operational efficiency, service quality, environmental responsibility and corporate sustainability (Grant et al., 2013). The idea of innovating the MRO shop with IT is not new; it already did start with material requirements planning (MRP). Nowadays modern airlines and associated technical organizations are mostly using advanced enterprise resource planning (ERP) tools with MRO capabilities (Penton, 2013). There are even extended ERP systems in aviation, further integrating the supply chain that BAE Systems installed such a web-based ERP system (Kamath, 2007). Furthermore new hardware technologies are also evaluated for MROs; e.g. Ramudhin et al. proposed in (2008) the application of radio frequency identification (RFID) for part tracking in an intelligent environment in aircraft engine service center to reduce turnaround times for locating parts. Since paper based tracking methods for the life-cycle management (PLM) are labor intensive and error prone, there are worldwide recognized PLM systems for aviation. Lee et al. (2008) stress out the use of PLM tools in aviation maintenance, such as of acknowledged vendors as SAP, IBM, Dassault Systems and UGS, targeting the reduction of the aircraft's maintenance time and costs together with lengthening the time between service. They also mention that the information in the PLM data bases are used by means of computer aided design and manufacturing (CAD/CAM) applications for tooling design in the commercial airline market. There are also attempts to directly link the MRO shop floor with the virtual databases of PLM systems. Therefore Ferrer and Apte proposed in (2012) the usage of RFID technologies avoiding delays and mistakes related to unreliable information or loss of maintenance cards in aviation. Nevertheless such proposals are either only partial solutions supporting existing systems or do approach MRO organizations from the ERP side and try to link the MRO to the supply chain and the PLM system of original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) like Boeing or Airbus. This means expensive IT investments.

Nowadays standalone MRO software are preferred over MRP (Rojahn and Canaday, 2013), where software vendors such as 2MoRO, ADT, AIS, OESES, EmpowerMX, IFS, Maintenix, Ramco, rusada, ARMS, Swiss AviationSoftware, TRAX, ULTRAMAIN, VOLARTEH AERDATA, ADS, ACS, AviiT, BladeFix, Boeing, Dent&Buckle, enigma, flatirons, hexaware, holocentric, IDMR, NVABLE, Omega, PSI (aircraftIT, 2014), Aerosoft Systems, Cimber Air Data, Commsoft, IFR, infospectrum, MIRO Technologies, MRO Software/IBM, MXi, Pentagon 2000SQL, Russell Adams (RAL), Ramco Systems SaSIM, Tracware, VISAer, Lawson and Lufthansa Systems (A-C, 2008) are providing solutions. These solutions are mainly suitable for commercial airlines and mostly specialized for certain large aircraft types. Some of them are not integrating the whole value chain, and need therefore to facilitate existing ERP systems. Some of them do require SAP or similar IT backbones to be fully functional. The service bulletins are not streamlined and specific needs such as connection to e-government portal for aircraft fallow-up are not covered. Some of these solutions are so specific that aircraft management in terms of routes, logs and flight/man hours is not covered, which is an important input for MRO activities. All in one they do not provide an integrated solution.

Consequently airlines do use complementary software. E.g. Lufthansa Technik is using E2open, a cloud-based, on-demand software solution to enhance MRO activities (M2, 2014). Amerijet, ATI, Atlas Air, Delta Private Jets, Evergreen, GA Telesis, Loganair, NextJet, OAI, Polar Air, SAS, Southwest Airlines, World Airlines do use AirVault® Cloud-Computing Service for Aircraft Maintenance Records Management to integrate the ERP Systems with Maintenance and Engineering Systems and Maintenance Production Control systems (AirVault, 2014). There are also attempts to support the maintenance processes with tools such as the Boeing SMART for troubleshooting (Kamel, 2006). These systems do provide online access over portable devices to registered users, sometimes even include controlled third party access of the regulatory body for airworthiness inspections, but they are mostly royalty tools, not open source and mostly do prerequisite an existing enterprise IT backbone to be integrated.

Recently 53 companies attended the MRO IT Executive Roundtable, which outcome was that end-user adaptable software has to be provided, automating processes and leveraging data sharing between customer and suppliers (Kang, 2014). Another important finding of the Roundtable was that the digitalization of existing paperwork towards intelligent documents was desired, facilitating also cloud technologies with portable devices (Kang, 2014). Subsequently the MRO organizations tend to move towards e-maintenance, integrating data, services and actors

with a link of maintenance to different enterprise-wide systems (Aboelmaged, 2014), which is also leading the way to condition based maintenance (Candell et al., 2009) extending the mean time between maintenance (MTBM).

This can be used as an opportunity for MRO organizations, where human error (Bao and Ding, 2014) and omission (Marais and Robichaud, 2012) induce dominantly errors. Especially GA-MRO organizations are providing services with limited human resources to a high variety of aircrafts, where management-related factors also cause errors (Bao and Ding, 2014), indicating that the MRO processes have to be reengineered. Therefore facilitating e-maintenance, reduced number of interfaces to information sources are provided (Candell et al., 2009) that information transactions are much smoother. Since the system of a MRO organization can be manual or based on a digital platform (SHGM, 2012b), an IT system is suitable to minimize mistakes and errors. However instead of using an existing software package, partially supporting procedures, a new integrated, innovative lean system can be implemented with its own IT backbone, which is specially cut for GA-MRO organizations.

As a result MRO organizations in GA have to be innovated using IT for sustainable success. Therefore an innovative IT system, the Sky Aircraft Management System (SAMS), is proposed herewith, integrating all stakeholders in the value chain through IT, enabling organizational transformation by means of business process management (BPM) supported with value chain analysis (VCA), as introduced next.

3. The Sky Aircraft Management System (SAMS)

The concept of SAMS embraces a concurrent environment by incorporating IT, enabling information exchange, but also changing the way how the services are realized that service innovation is provided, which has a complex adaptive nature (Grant et al., 2013). MRO organizations deliver their services to aircraft operators and owners, wherefore the objectives are safety, reliability, information retainment for component repair and tooling design, but also maintenance optimization, and finally the realization of MRO tasks within time limits at a minimum cost (Lee et al., 2008). In general the system shall maximize the total system effectiveness by meeting all requirements (Candell et al., 2009).

To isolate the requirements of SAMS, first of all a well-established GA-MRO organization in Turkey was focused on using BPM. BPM is a structured approach, analyzing fundamental activities (Zairi, 1997), isolating related processes within the value chain (Tretheway and Markhvida, 2014). Since the competitive advantage cannot be seen by looking at a firm as a whole (Porter, 1998), VCA is used, focusing on the generated value of individual processes. Processes deliver a general framework disaggregating a firm for strategically thinking (Porter, 1998). Within the value chain they are generating outputs from inputs. In order to isolate a value creating business process, traditional cost breakdown of the services can be used identifying the cost drivers (IMA, 1996), or qualitative approaches for the primary and support activities can be used (Porter, 1998) especially for the user value of IT innovations, which cannot be measured with traditional accounting (Grant et al., 2013).

In order to develop SAMS several interviews were carried out with associates of the MRO organization, private aircraft owners, and representatives of the Turkish DGCA, who are active on this account. Consequently quality manuals were examined, which usually deliver a process approach (Cronemyr and Danielsson, 2013). It was than crosschecked with the latest as is situation to generate a lean, but comprehensive approach for determining the core MRO processes. Traditional accounting analyses were carried out to isolate the cost drivers and linkages between these processes and consequently Porter's VCA was used to identify all relationships leading to functional decomposition, captured in business processes as described by Weske (2007; p. 43, 79).

Therefore the foundation of the MRO operations, thus SAMS, was set as the regulations. Since all MRO work needed to have a work order, processes were attached to the work orders, which management was determined as a main process. The work orders were mainly on a planned basis, but were also reactively opened for spontaneous repair work. Consequently the planning process was determined as another important main process. Once the work order was designated, the physical work was carried out by the technical personal, where the scheduling and

authorizations had to be managed according to the constraining regulations, which was incorporated as a main process as well. Finally during the MRO activities, the personal were using tools, spare parts or consumables, which delivered the processes of tool management and stock management respectively. Therefore it was determined that these processes did exchange information with each other that an integrated system architecture was proposed for

Work Order Management

SAMS (see Fig. 1).

Fig. 1. Integrated system of SAMS.

The basic flow as explained in the quality documentation was limited to the MRO activities with some input from the aircraft operators, where the need of the integration of other stakeholders within the value chain did arise as well. Therefore the information flow mapping was conceived together along with the information agents, which also did tie the responsibilities (see Fig. 2). Since document-oriented, paper-based approaches are made increasingly expensive to produce and offer inadequate usability in MROs (Candell et al., 2009), the requirement of digital pathways for the information flow was determined, incorporating web access based cloud technologies for SAMS.

Fig. 2. Information flow and responsibilities.

It was argued that the aircraft owner is responsible to conclude all MRO and flight operations, even if this responsibility is passed over per contract to an operator company. Accordingly the owner was included in the information flow and was set as an essential part in SAMS. Considering that the MRO organization was responsible to carry out all required tasks to maintain system level integrity of the aircraft, the continuing airworthiness was designated as a target of the operator, achieved via the MRO organization. Therefore the information flow from the flight operation processes was included in SAMS as well. Since the suppliers are constantly developing the aircraft (Candell et al., 2009), improvements or preventive modifications were carried out throughout the lifecycle of the aircraft, that another inbound information channel was set for SAMS accordingly, streaming service bulletins (SB)

published. In addition to that the changes in the legislations were respected by incorporating the updates of the authority into SAMS. Finally the local authority, the DGCA, was provided with access to SAMS to check and verify that procedures and realized operations were consistent with the given legislation.

Consequently this information flow pattern was used to form the database structure of SAMS. Job analyses were done that sub-processes were determined, which were clustered, delivering the Modules of SAMS. The owners or followers for the modules were defined, where the drivers were granted with the right to insert or modify data for the appropriate tasks, and followers were only able to read data (see Table 1).

Table 1. Modules of SAMS.



Driven By

Aircraft General information and documents to be carried in the aircraft

Maintenance Maintenance management and evaluation together with automatic planning

Work Order Assignment and management of work orders

Backlogs All requirements to be carried out on the aircraft

Airworthiness Tracking of all documentation required for airworthiness AD/SB Assessment Evaluation & record of all new AD/SB

Employees Fallow up of authorizations, (allowable) man/hours, required training

Depot Stock management

ToolShop Tool management in relation with work orders, calibration data

Certification Organizational approvals and maintenance programs

Library All documentation related to flight and maintenance operations


Pilot, owner, MRO, SAMS


The Aircraft Module of SAMS was designated to access general information, where the aircraft ownership and airworthiness status can be tracked. All onboard documentation such as insurance and logbooks were included there digitally and any addition or change in database implied a notification of the owner. The details of the maintenance agreement and its status were also included there as reports. Any new database item such as new owner, aircraft, logbook etc. was designated to be created in the Maintenance Module, where also agreements, maintenance, airworthiness or insurance status can be reported as well. The MRO managers were designated as the owners of the processes, but SAMS was conceived to automatically drive this module as well, which was proposed to realize the management of the MRO activities as well the planning function based on the projections .The Work Orders module was created to downstream the management of work orders, where the automatic generation of work orders for the planning and backlogs functions was allowed. Once the work orders were created, the management and tracking function of them was foreseen for the Work Order Module accessible by the MRO personal. The Backlogs Module was defined to create and track incidences, whether to convert to work orders for the case of any defect or suspicious item. This module was designed to be accessed and driven by the pilots, owners or MRO personal. An assessment routine of the backlog by the MRO personal was foreseen, automatically creating a work order when necessary, which also enabled the automated man-hour computation required for personal planning.

In order to ease the continuing airworthiness inspections, the Airworthiness module was created delivering all required documentation. This module was made accessible to all parties, but since it only delivers reports there was no designated driver of this module underlining its passive nature. Changes in the legislation or equipment were incorporated into SAMS by using the AD/SB Assessment module, where the databases of the OEM, FAA and EASA were automatically screened and filtered by SAMS for applicable updates for the existing aircraft types under maintenance. The MRO personal was than appointed and emailed automatically to assess whether and how the ADs/SBs are applicable. Therefore also automatic work order creation was enabled in SAMS as well. The maximum allowable work time of MRO personal and the associated authorizations i.e. type ratings, were determined as a hard boundary condition to be tracked and managed via the Employees Module. The MRO managers were set free to

manage the assignment of the personal within these boundary conditions. Therefore SAMS was designed to block unauthorized or inappropriate assignments that the driver of this module is designated as SAMS itself beside MRO managers. Additionally automatically streamlined projections of work hours and technical details made the need of an additional job log book redundant. It was also planned that his work information as contained in the SAMS database via the personal module shall delivered to the e-government application, where all authorizations and work hours of technical personal is to be tracked. The Depot Module was created for stock management respecting MRP basics, where projected required spare parts and associated due dates were used to plan the material requirements by integrating the suppliers as well. Since spare parts and calibrated aviation tools do have expire dates, the ToolShop module was created to manage and track the assignment of tools to work orders, but also expire dates. The Certification Module was created to track and document the approvals of the MRO organization, including Part 145, FTO, Operational Procedures type data, as well designated maintenance program data. All changes were made subject to be driven by the authorized MRO managers. In order to capture all documentation digitally, the library module was designed allowing online access to the history of document revisions. Finally the Accounting Module was planned to support the generation of the bill of material (BOM) together along with the activity costing that proper invoice amount can be determined. It was also meant to generate several accounting reports, but was not made active yet on the time this paper was written. All the other modules as described above can already be accessed by a graphical user interface (GUI) as shown in Figure 3.

Fig. 3. GUI of SAMS.

When analyzing the processes another important constraint was determined as the high level of delocalization due to the numerous hangars and off-site maintenance requirements. The delocalization was even further increased by the distinct location of the authority and the owner/operator. In order to enable access over several locations and to allow shop floor communication via IT, access using mobile devices was granted for SAMS. A mobile user interface with limited functionality was proposed for shop floor usage, enabling customized access for associated functionalities only. Scanned documentation and photography sharing across all users were enabled as well, achieving electronic data interchange (EDI). Additionally since all actions done within SAMS were set to be logged

on user level, SAMS delivered all necessary data for the achievement of acceptable level of safety (ALOS) per safety management system.

The database and the code were developed using Visual C# 2013 (C Sharp) in VisualStudio .NET v4.5 environment. Therefore a hard-wiring of individual applications was avoided to be able to respond to changes (Weske, 2007, p. 34) that an integrated system including all necessary terminal processes with common database was created. Online access was provided to all parties that the minimum usage of manual forms and cards was achieved. All required signatures and associated paperwork were digitalized that delocalized collaboration over the system was enabled via cloud services. This did lead the way to off-site maintenance and control of maintenance. In order to evaluate the achieved added value of SAMS, VCA for differentiation (Porter, 1998, p. 122) was performed (Fig. 4). The most obvious impact of SAMS was determined on the infrastructure side. SAMS did integrate all processes, down-streaming the information flow using EDI. Consequently a superior management information system (MIS) was achieved exclusively for MRO organizations. Having a lean constitution, SAMS delivered with its online accessibility a high level of transparency to all stakeholders, facilitating collaboration across all stakeholders in the value chain of MRO organizations. Automated planning and associated projections did support visibility and control as well. On the top of this the cloud based architecture enabled access from all locations. Database management using commercially available services assured back-ups and data redundancy. Since the infrastructure was designed to work as a stand-alone system, there was no need for additional PLM or MRP systems and associated hardware, making the system affordable for small scale GA-MRO organizations.

Support Activities




Integrated Processes MHO FoejEed Superior MIS Lean

Colla boiative across all stakeholders

Transparency Automated planning

Cloud based Stand-alone Suitable for GA

' Effective online supported training

■ Easy to ham

* Outsourcing * Facilitation of existing HR for

* Reduced number of personal opportunity creation

♦ Higher work efficiency

♦ Owner & authority


* Superior MRP * integrated online MRO ops ■ New CAMO Services • Not designed for a

* Integrated quality * 7/24available * New software product specific aircraft type

control * Automated processes * Offsite maintenance sales ' Adoptable

* Automated system * Online support • New aircraft types • Wide service

* Min. number of manual forms * Reduced downtime of aircraft coverage

* Lower errors * High advertisement level ■ Advanced tracking &

* Low cycle times * Higher awareness reporting

♦ TQM & Safety Management * Superior account management

♦ Traceability of spare parts, * Market research

tools, personal, flight hours * Lower costs

♦ Conformity of specs (AD/SB) * Better competitive positioning

* Planning & smooth operations * Growth

* Derealization * Higher profit

* Idle time minimization * Suit a inability

♦ Transparency

* Superior airworthiness


* Life tracking /

* JIT material handling * Automated Planning

Inbound Operations Marketing Service

Logistics & Sales

Primary Activities

Fig. 4. VCA of SAMS for Differentiation, based on (Porter, 1998, p. 122).

From the point of view of human resources (HR) the lean and transparent nature enabled the facilitation of effective training, supported by online resources of SAMS. Providing a familiar environment for the MRO personal, SAMS was easily trained for. The operations were done with higher work efficiency due to the automation by a reduced number of personal where the tracking capability of authorizations and work hours in SAMS further

supported outsourcing. The owner and the authority were both incorporated into the processes that a real collaboration was achieved, minimizing misunderstandings and duplication of work. A totally new service was created with the introduction of control capabilities enabling an organizational transformation to a continuing airworthiness management organization (CAMO), ensuring the work order flow, conflict management and communication and tracking of the maintenance carried out or deferred (EASA, 2013). This allowed the utilization of the MRO organization as a controller in the name of the authority, achieving idle time facilitation. Beside the cost reduction due to internal airworthiness inspections this also introduced the start-up of a new business unit with its own revenue stream. Finally the transformation implied the change of the mindset in the company, leading towards higher quality awareness and a paradigm innovation. Consequently the potential capability of servicing sophisticated aircraft was built, in line with the projections for the future of GA, assuring the sustainability as well.

SAMS did provide superior MRP capabilities with its projection capabilities for inbound logistics and delivered a high level of confidence, supporting integrated quality control with all required income inspection as part of the automation. The integrated MRO operations were 7/24 available for all stakeholders. Automated processes did reduce the errors and streamlined information flow. The online support together with the minimum number of manual forms and signatures did support the delocalization and off-site maintenance. This also further minimized error, which shortened together with the automated MRP the cycle times. The processes of total quality management and safety management were also driven by SAMS. Capturing all related operation data, the traceability of spare parts, tools, personal and flight hours was assured. Since the conformity of standards was secured with streaming AD/SBs, planning and execution of smoother operations were enabled for delocalized MRO operations with a minimum idle time. Consequently SAMS delivered superior airworthiness tracking with a high level of transparency for all parties, including the authority obliged to control all operations. Beyond this it was also shown that SAMS enables the organizational transformation into a CAMO, reducing internal costs, but also generating s new service for other MRO organizations. Also SAMS itself is a product that can be sold to other parties. As a result SAMS did generate additional revenue stream capabilities for marketing and sales. Additionally opportunities for potential offsite maintenance were not preferred in the past, which can be realized with SAMS. Down-streaming structured processes with a high quality and efficiency, SAMS also supported scalability that new aircraft types were easily incorporated. The reduced downtime of the aircraft due to lower cycle times and smooth operations did achieve a high advertisement level. Superior account management and a higher awareness level supported the marketing activities. Lower costs delivered a better competitive positioning, resulting in a growth of business volume and a higher profit, which was leading the way towards sustainability. Additionally SAMS did have a side outcome as well: a market research was conducted to isolate the requirements, which supported strategic planning. From the service point of view it is important that SAMS was not designed for a specific aircraft. New types can be incorporated with their own maintenance plans easily that SAMS has an adoptive nature. Also the service coverage was extended with SAMS in two ways; first the delocalization allowed abroad operations, second complicated MRO tasks were enabled with supported tracking and reporting capability. This allowed the life tracking of all parts, enabling condition based maintenance. As a result longer MTBM and just in time (JIT) material handling and automated planning did impact procurement in a positive manner. All in one SAMS delivered several innovation outcomes representing the transformation of a traditional MRO organization into a new generation collaborative MRO organization, capable to differ in services and products.

4. Conclusion

Flight safety is the ultimate goal of all aviation organizations, also expressed as the airworthiness of an aircraft. In order to assure safe flight, the aircraft has to be maintained periodically, which obliges civil aviation regulations inspected by the authority. The aircraft owners or operators do rely on the MRO organizations for the maintenance work, which on the other hand have to satisfy complex requirements set by the regulations and OEMs, resulting in high costs. Growing requirements are challenging MRO organizations as well, where larger organizations can cope with by facilitating comprehensive quality systems and PLM systems based on IT. However owners of private

aircraft or smaller fleets in GA are working with smaller MRO organizations, which cannot afford such solutions. Consequently the sustainability of GA-MRO organizations and thus GA is endangered, when the GA-MRO organizations do not change. This necessity of change can be leveraged to drive innovation in small scale MRO organizations. They can offer a high additional value, when their processes are reengineered facilitating a lean but comprehensive IT system. Therefore the application of business process management was proposed herewith, supported with the value chain analysis. A well-established Turkish GA-MRO organization was focused on to isolate all associated processes. It was determined that error prone manual procedures resulted in high cycle times, which didn't involve all stakeholders. Thus local airworthiness authorities, aircraft owners and operators were interviewed to cover the whole value chain, which resulted in the requirements of an ideal system, integrating all processes for MRO. Based on these requirements the Sky Aircraft Management System - SAMS was developed by means of BPM and VCA and demonstrated successfully as an innovative system capable to provide digitalized and decentralized management of GA-MRO organizations.

It was shown that SAMS enables the planning of MRO activities while integrating all stakeholders throughout the life cycle of the aircraft. Since all MRO personal can access SAMS, the management of tools, spare parts and operations is possible with it. The projection capability of SAMS delivers planned activities within authorization limits, while emergency actions can be purged throughout the system by respecting all regulations and AD/SBs. Consequently continuing airworthiness inspections can be easily accomplished, wherefore all required documentation is accessible anytime over the cloud server. Minimizing printed paperwork and manual documentation, all information is distributed digitally in SAMS. As a result misalignments of the inventory and the schedules, mistakes based on manual document circulation are prevented. Automated processes further reduce possible error occurrences. Reengineering the processes in GA-MRO organizations, SAMS provides process innovation. Beside this the mindset of the associates are changed to cope with the totally new approach allowing traceability to each action or item. Generally the change is in how work is done, which delivers the scalability and basic paradigm innovation that the technical capabilities can be extended easily to cope with higher requirements. Consequently the GA-MRO organization can even generate additional services for more advanced aircraft types or evolve into a CAMO delivering new supervisory services, i.e. product innovation is achieved. In conclusion it has been shown that GA-MRO organizations can be innovated radically towards sustainability using SAMS, which is an integrated and stand-alone tool suitable for the management and support of MRO organizations in GA by incorporation of all stakeholders.


Sky Aircraft Management System - SAMS is an ongoing development project of Top Servis Havacilik San. ve Tic. A.S., located in Istanbul, Turkey.


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