Huge Benefits the Aerospace Industry Can Reap by Going Mobile
A Head-on Approach to Overcoming Challenges
Safety is priority no.1 in the aerospace industry. Rather than productivity, the key focus is on traceability, maintenance and quality – these components tied together warrant the need to protect passengers, manufacturers and airlines purchasing those aircrafts.
There is in fact, virtually no room for quality or manufacturing issues, which could otherwise lead to disastrous outcomes. Real-time end-to-end traceability of each and every aircraft part from when it’s conceived to the retirement phase is by no means an ordinary task – large commercial aircrafts contain over six million parts.
After the assembly process, manufactures must uphold passenger safety by ensuring maintenance is performed under the right circumstances, i.e. the right way, the right time and at the right level. In the midst of it all, labor and energy costs continue to rise.
Aerospace manufacturers no longer have total control over these end-to-end processes and are under pressure to find more cost effective and efficient ways of upholding strict quality, as is deemed necessary by regulatory authorities.
Mobility Really Can Help
To better come to terms with these issues, manufacturers are adopting a best-practice model that has also helped the automotive industry boost profitability and further margins: lean manufacturing.
This process oversees all errors and inefficiencies being systematically tracked down from these specific ‘areas of waste’:
- Overproduction – Inadequate demand information, given the lag between when data is acquired as opposed to when it is actually available; inevitably high storage costs
- Transportation – Time lost while locating tools and materials, and, an improper plant layout; productivity sinks, labor costs rise
- Wait times – shortages in the plant, problems pertaining to machine maintenance and poor scheduling; higher asset and labor costs
- Inappropriate processing – reports generated manually, poor communication in the facility; insufficient data for making strategically sound decisions and decreased supervisor productivity
- Defects and generally poor quality – Late shipments, high lead times, parts missing, or errors/discrepancies on the production line; costs increase, product margins decrease, and excessive re-work is required
- Unnecessary motion – Data collection redundant and paper-based, need for analyzing and manually recalculating data for report generation to fetch information when needed; operations not completely transparent in order to make well-informed decisions and reduced labor productivity
- Unnecessary inventory – Excessive buffer stocks and ordering, given the time lag between data collected versus available; increased warehousing space and capital expense.
Mobile apps for aerospace have the potential to make the lives and business operations of manufacturers less cumbersome, and far more productive. Furthermore, integrating apps will allow them to conform to lean manufacturing, while readily identifying these key business challenges, and eliminating them altogether.
Achieving More with Less
In order to do away with thinning margins, rising costs, while utilizing less resources, manufacturers must go mobile.
Real-time voice and data communications will enable employees with the right tools to get things done on the spot, while ensuring they are done only when needed.
Here’s one example: A rugged handheld device that can read bar codes, RFID tags, part marks and more, can easily scan parts at the receiving dock, so as to provide an accurate capture with regard to the point of origin. Personnel in Quality can check incoming parts using an electronic form – this would ensure every step is executed according to quality guidelines provided by the manufacturer. As a result, accurate data is always at your fingertips; there’s no lag time that might otherwise give way to defective parts landing on the shop floor.
Scanning parts as they move about in the plant provides complete traceability as well as cost-effectiveness. Let’s say certain parts need to be recalled, they can be located quite easily, whether they are sitting on warehouse shelves, being installed on aircrafts undergoing production or those already delivered to customers.
When it comes to aerospace maintenance, nothing matters more than timeliness and accuracy. Service engineers can be given direct access to a list of specific tasks and services to be completed, as well as mechanical drawings of parts or processes, detailed instructions, including orderly checkboxes for granular accountability.
Just imagine – all this on one compact handheld device, where the mobile app is driving all these actions.
Mobility can also completely eliminate lengthy paper trails, not to mention the associated errors and manual processes.
Let’s take a more in-depth look at how Mobile apps for aerospace can improve the “lean score” of just one aspect of your operation: materials management.
Mobility will provide a live view of your inventory and real-time data capture gives you a clear picture of your warehouse processes. You know exactly what’s in stock at any point in time. So what you get is:
- A boost in overall efficiency as less personnel can work on more tasks
- An error-free warehouse by getting rid of mistakes in certain activities: letdown, put-away and replenishment
- Cut down inventory costs by lowering stocking levels
- Warehouse space cost and volume decreases as well
Material tracking apps can provide complete traceability of any part, no matter where it is along the manufacturing line, even after delivery to customers. Faulty parts can be recalled quickly to guard the safety of passengers and aircraft personnel. This is what’s in it for you:
- Highly efficient and accurate parts/materials tracking
- Cut down cost of material tracking-focused tasks
- Get live visibility for JIT (just in time) inventory initiatives
Raw material sequencing uses mobile data collection to error-proof and automate the process of reeling in components, materials and/or parts to the production line, as and when needed. An enterprise mobility app can prove highly useful in the modern manufacturing plant, since a single line is used to put together many different products:
- Sequencing processes enjoy a boost in accuracy and efficiency
- Accurate assembly is ensured along with product quality
- Protection against uncalled for downtime on the production/assembly line as a result of insufficient materials
Mobility solutions can further support VMI’s (vendor managed inventory) cost-effectiveness – a highly economical initiative that holds vendors responsible for owning up to materials right until the very last stage of assembly. This includes ownership of quality, availability and order placement. Advantages include:
- VMI solutions are implemented rapidly and in a highly cost-effective way
- Bottom-line profitability improves as well as cash flow
- Inventory-associated carrying costs and capital expenditures go down
Improper maintenance or too many hold-ups on the production line can seriously hamper business, which is a costly price to pay in the aerospace industry – an average $40,000 a minute, which amounts to almost a whopping $2.5 million an hour.
Mobile apps for aerospace integration across all the various production, maintenance and management processes can help you streamline your entire operation in a phenomenal and highly cost-effective way.
Get in touch with us to discuss anything and everything on the future of mobile apps.