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Case Study: Managing a Dynamic Engineering Environment in Indonesia
Author: Ananta Widjaja, Technical Director, Sriwijaya AirSubscribe
Managing a Dynamic Engineering Environment in Indonesia
Sriwijya Air found and implemented a system that matches their needs. Ananta Widjaja, Technical Director, Sriwijaya Air, explains how.
The Indonesian commercial aviation market
Sriwijaya Air Group operates in the Indonesian market which poses a number challenges. Competition is tough and, for some of the smaller islands, airport infrastructures are limited plus there are restrictions on their opening times which, in turn, makes it very important that we time our operations to ensure aircraft are not left away from base overnight. Indonesian airlines also face a number of new regulations. For instance, we have to compensate passengers for delays, there are limits on the proportion of our fleet that we can lease (there have to be a minimum number of owned aircraft depending on fleet size) and, most recently, there is a regulation that restricts the age of aircraft in a fleet – that is that we cannot bring an aircraft into the fleet that is more than ten years old and cannot operate any aircraft more than 30 years old.
Aircraft maintenance, the subject of this case study, has to fulfil a number of roles.
It has to deliver safety, reliability and economic return. That means that engineering has to support the commercial side of the business by ensuring aircraft availability, it has to ensure that aircraft and systems support safety for accident free, low incident operations and a reduction in human error to the lowest achievable levels, and it has to minimize delays or cancellations due to engineering issues and minimize levels of pilots’ complaints. Maintenance findings need to be acted on so that passenger comfort is at the highest achievable level.
The chart below shows how revenue and costs in the maintenance function can generate a loss or a profit plus some of the major reasons for both scheduled (line maintenance, airframe check, components and engine maintenance) and unscheduled (flight disruption – delay & cancellation – maintenance finding, in-flight shutdown, aborted take-off or engine/component unscheduled removal) maintenance events. A key consideration is how we use the technology at our disposal to achieve a profitable operation as well as supporting the airline with aircraft availability to match aircraft daily utilization.
Planning aircraft availability, we have to maximize the days in the year for which the aircraft will be available after we have allocated the necessary number of days for scheduled maintenance work. In practice, aircraft availability will also have to cater for days out of service due to unscheduled maintenance. So there are two things of which we have to be aware; precise and flexible planning will improve planned aircraft availability to achieve which airlines definitely need software. And secondly, reliability monitoring will also improve aircraft availability. By monitoring the condition of the aircraft and acting on that information, it’s possible to reduce the number of unscheduled maintenance events.
Choosing the right IT solution
Given all of the above, the maintenance and engineering business process in Sriwijaya Air Group was a necessarily complex one and so we wanted an IT solution that could match that process.
The key element is the ‘Fleet Watch’ (bottom right of the chart) because we need to know the current state for all of the aircraft in the fleet so that we can provide the commercial side of the business with the number of aircraft they need to deliver the service that day.
Before we selected an IT system, we had to ensure that the aircraft life cycle process would be supported. Life cycle data starts with data generated as the result of a transaction which then has to be recorded and kept on the system. Following that, the data has to be grouped and managed to produce valuable information which then has to be analyzed to provide options for decisions. Importantly, if you don’t have a powerful system capable of doing all this, it takes a lot of time and effort just to collect the data, let alone use it. With a good IT system, it’s very easy to deliver well-ordered and displayed options on which higher levels of management can base decisions. Don’t forget, if you analyze the information but top management doesn’t make decisions based on that, then it will not improve the quality of the data. With an IT system, all of the steps and requirements above can be achieved at speed and with full control.
Benefits of an integrated IT system
An integrated system will streamline the process and eliminate redundancy. It will also eliminate human error, especially with respect to data entry where auto validation rules can be applied. Aircraft availability will be increased because, with the system, aircraft maintenance can be better planned. Also, inventory will be reduced while supply chain management will be improved because more accurate spare part forecasts can be based on actual utilization, cutting the number of excess parts held. Workflow management will be improved to deliver improved maintenance efficiency leading to reduced Operations interruptions because it will be easier to have real-time fault monitoring making engineering better prepared and supporting better fault history data. And full regulatory compliance is integral in the system so more time can be devoted in making decisions from the real time, closed-loop validations, trends and reports than in searching for and collecting data.
The accountants will be pleased that a good system delivers accurate maintenance cost forecasts with real time cost control. And we’ve already mentioned that a good solution supports better decision making with accurate and up-to-date data but it’s worth mentioning twice because it lies at the heart of why a system adds value to the business.
The IT case
Before Sriwijaya selected an IT solution (OASES from Commsoft) every department had its own system – Microsoft Access, Excel, etc. When we adopted OASES, we moved to a centralized IT system. At the same time, with the new system we found it very easy to achieve regulatory compliance and to manage lease agreement compliance. This latter capability is very important, making it easy to report to the lessor as required in the agreement and making the end-of-lease process much more straightforward.
Of particular importance with such a big development, we found it easy to migrate from our legacy system to the new system. It took just four weeks with Commsoft support to get us up and running with OASES and we had it operating fully in Engineering in two and a half months, which was quite acceptable. The new system offered an easy and interactive GUI (graphic user interface) so we didn’t need to remember all the transaction codes and it offered flexible implementation as opposed to a ‘Big Bang’ model. One good thing with Commsoft is that users can detach transactions from or attach them to the model easily as long as they remember which transaction was detached. The OASES system can handle any aspect of maintenance model and configuration. Sriwijaya Air Group has several configurations and model variants even though the fleet is all Boeing 737 ‘Classic’ or NG.
The system is cost effective so will meet most budgets and has the capability to catch-up with future technologies. It can act as a decision support system and the Commsoft system makes it easy to identify what’s the problem and deal with it. And we have found Commsoft OASES to offer excellent customer support, with its web-based diagnostics over-laid with personal staff attention.
Altogether, these have been our reasons for selecting OASES to be the IT partner for Sriwijaya Air Group.
Looking from the Commsoft side, a key aspect has been that the solution provider has to be adaptable to every implementation because each one is different. There will not be any solution that can be a perfect fit for any specific requirement; everybody is on a different IT journey. For Commsoft, it is very important to stay adaptable, agile and add value at every stage. Value is the most important thing, not to get so wrapped up in technology that you lose sight of value. An MRO IT solution is an engineered product that fits a very heavily regulated environment where evolution is the rule, not revolution and where the relationship with the customer should be very important to the solution vendor. The key for an IT company is to listen and to identify the business value: in short, there is no point in a user buying a system if it is not getting its people to do more. The key is finding best fit of value ( “the glove”) to the customer’s dynamic demands ( “the hand” ) and Sriwijaya Air feels it has found a good fit.
Ananta Widjaja, Technical Director of Sriwijaya Air, has extensive experience in Maintenance Program development, Maintenance Program Escalation, Reliability Monitoring, and Configuration Management, MRO selection as well as developing IT and procedures for Maintenance and Engineering. In his career, he has managed many engineering projects especially in developing the life cycle cost of the aircraft maintenance and assist the build-up of total care package to various airline customers.
Sriwijaya Air is an Indonesian airline based in Jakarta with headquarter located at Soekarno-Hatta International Airport M1 Area in Tangerang, near Jakarta. Sriwijaya Air is the country’s third largest carrier, operating a fleet of narrow-body aircraft to various Indonesian destinations and a few international destinations. The airline is listed as a Category 1 airline by Indonesia’s Civil Aviation Authority, the highest status that can be achieved for operational safety.
Commsoft and OASES
Communications Software’s OASES (Open Aviation Strategic Engineering System) is amongst the most successful aviation engineering and maintenance systems in the world. With over 50 users including national carriers, third party maintainers, regional carriers, cargo specialists, charter operators and specialist rotable stockists, based in the USA, Europe, Africa, Australasia and the South Atlantic, this gives Commsoft a broad experience of all areas of aviation maintenance support.