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|Case Study: No need to delay||Mutlu Uzun, Managing Director, 4U Aircraft Design and Engineering GmbH||View article|
|Plan for project success||Wesley J Parfitt, CEO, EnvelopeAPM Inc.||View article|
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Case Study: No need to delay
Author: Mutlu Uzun, Managing Director, 4U Aircraft Design and Engineering GmbHSubscribe
The fast implementation of a new MRO software solution can, explains Mutlu Uzun, Managing Director, 4U Aircraft Design and Engineering GmbH, make the change-over more effective from the outset
Today’s MRO business, operating in a global market, is becoming increasingly complicated. Companies have to maintain not only high quality at a low price but also have to be flexible and provide fast turnaround times. To be able to match these requirements of the global market, MRO companies have to make sure that they will not waste time and resources while providing high satisfaction rates during maintenance checks for their airline clients.
HAITEC Aircraft Maintenance GmbH (HAITEC) is an EASA Part 145 approved company located in Germany. The main activity of the business is in fuselage, line and heavy maintenance checks for large aircraft, such as Boeing B747, B767, B757, B737 and Airbus A330, A320. 4U Aircraft Design and Engineering GmbH (4UADE), is a German EASA Part 21J approved company which provides services to all areas of aviation including Technical Consultancy and Aerospace Design.
HAITEC had set themselves the objective to implement a new MRO software solution for their needs but within a short time period and with as minor an impact on daily operations as they could manage. In the end, the whole process between selection, implementation, training and final ‘go-Live’ was completed within five months. So how was that achieved?
The first step, at the beginning of such a project, is to define the customer requirements for an MRO Software solution. The second step is the pre selection process and live demonstration of the Software providers whose solutions best match the potential customer’s needs. Then, after the live demonstration and contract signing, the process of implementation starts.
From several software providers considered, HAITEC selected ‘Wings’ from Applied Database Technology’s (ADT) as their preferred MRO software solution. Wings MRO software is a comprehensive, advanced maintenance and engineering software system for airlines and MRO’s. It is specifically designed and developed to manage aviation maintenance, repair and overhaul operations. The system effectively provides solutions to all aviation maintenance business requirements. As a result of on-site software vendor demonstrations, Wings satisfied the functional requirements of HAITEC with modules addressing issues and functions such as:
- Production and Planning;
- Engineering / CAMO;
- Human Resources.
HAITEC had also created some internal requirements such as:
- There should be a contact person close by or in Germany;
- Technical Support should be available close by or in Germany;
- That other EASA PART 145 Companies could be used as reference;
- A favorable price/performance ratio;
- That it would be possible to start implementation very soon.
Project plan for fast implementation
A software implementation core team drawn from ADT and HAITEC coordinated a project plan which is shown in Figure 1.
Figure 1 shows the tracking chart and the related milestones for a fast implementation of the Wings software.
Figure 1 – Tracking Chart – Milestones
As mentioned above, from the selection until ‘go-live’, the whole implementation of Wings was achieved in only five months. During the implementation period, the ADT and HAITEC project teams worked together in accordance with the project tracking chart to complete the following project tasks. HAITEC employees were trained, either on the job or additionally on request or based on the needs of individual user groups; certain forms and reports were customized based on user requirements; data migration was completed, etc. For the training process, Wings software installed on a test server is used.
Many factors have contributed to the fast implementation of the Wings software, such as adhering to the project plan by both software vendor and HAITEC employees, minimizing the software customization, not repeating the training sessions if not needed, etc. Overall, the fast process created both disadvantages and advantages for HAITEC and its operation.
Pros and cons of fast software implementation… first the cons
The fast implementation had some side effects which are to be considered as cons of fast implementation.
Employee resistance during initial weeks of fast implementation
Due to the fact that employees had to continue to work on their normal activities and to learn the new Wings system at the same time, the fast implementation caused employee resistance during the initial weeks. It is very important to have on-site consultancy that is available full-time in order to minimize employee resistance. With more ‘on the job’ training and consulting, the HAITEC employees were able to go through the learning curve period without too much pain as far as their use of Wings was concerned.
Employees had to be re-trained for advanced topics
Because of the mass of information that needed to be covered in a short period of time, during the fast implementation, initial training was not very detailed and did not take employees into the more advanced subjects. Therefore employees had to re trained with the ‘go live’ and directly after. This again caused minor disturbances to the daily business process.
Increased number of user errors
The fast implementation led to increased user error rates during the initial phase. This happened because, in the beginning, employees were not familiar with the system. Following a short period of time after the initial confusion, users were able to utilize the system with minimum errors arising because the selected software has a user-friendly interface.
… then the pros of fast software implementation
The fast implementation provided more benefits to the company which outweighed the cons above.
Early go live
Fast implementation results in an early ‘go-live’ date for commencement of the use of the software. That means the project implementation costs are kept to a minimum, thus being more economical for the company. And an early ‘go-live’ provides not only an economic benefit for the company, but also reduces less confusion on employees due to not having dealt with two systems for a long time.
Fast training of employees
A fast training program for all employees not only reduced the consultancy expenses for the company, but also generated less lost time overall for employees, even taking into account that it had resulted in confusion in the beginning.
Earlier change-over from the old system into the new
An early change-over from the old system into the new system brings with it huge amounts of advantage. Employees are less likely to be confused during the overall transition phase for the implementation. It is recommended that this should be done with on-site consulting support, because having on-site support enables employees to resolve any issues quickly. This solution helps the transition period from the old legacy system to the new modern system to be much faster, thus providing a faster return on investment (ROI) for the company.
Early detection of deficits in the existing procedures in the company
This is one of the essential factors for a fast implementation. The earlier the change is implemented, the earlier all deficits in the existing procedures will be discovered. At the beginning of the ‘go-live’, many weak points in the existing (old) processes were revealed. Companies will often have different procedures that have developed over time within their organization, based on their old legacy systems. Those procedures will also have been developed as a result of having un-integrated software systems in the past. By using a new system like ADT´s Wings, and, where it makes sense, going through a re-engineering process, will result in changing some of the existing procedures within the company which then makes the processes become leaner. This ‘process re-engineering’ process was supported by ADT and their experienced project team members. The approach provided time savings by revealing deficits at an early stage in the implementation process and resulted in the establishment of the software much faster.
Accomplishment of know-how transfer in a shorter time span
The transfer of know-how from ADT’s experienced project managers and consultants to HAITEC’s super users was accomplished over a shorter period of time as a result of the project implementation being faster. As a result of the faster implementation, HAITEC was able at an earlier stage to apply know-how from best practices in the MRO business. ADT consultants also found it useful to receive direct feedback from HAITEC employees regarding the effectiveness of the approach of applying the best practices within the company. This approach resulted in a better understanding on both sides, thus resulting in the software being more effective.
Cost saving for the project
All these previously mentioned facts generated cost savings for the whole implementation project amounting to savings of around 10% of the project budget. It also brought more benefits such as leaner procedures into the business.
Conclusion of the pros and cons of a fast implementation
After the end of this implementation, conclusions will be discussed to establish what lessons might be learned.
What is clear is that there are definitely advantages and disadvantages that will result from a fast implementation. Employees have to be convinced that the new system is better than the current one and also that it will support and enable an improvement in the quality and effectiveness of their work. To avoid misunderstandings, it is recommended that all involved personnel are kept informed of progress and any issues from the beginning of the project.
A core team has to be defined in the pre-selection phase. It is also essential to include into the project core team representatives from all relevant departments (those whose work practices and processes will be affected by the change to new software). Their inputs within their departments are very important to convince those departments that they will be well served by the change to the extent of getting their requirements addressed during the implementation process. Inputs from all different departments are necessary to be able to get an optimal product especially for the needs of the company.
If the above aspects are considered, a fast implementation will bring more benefit on balance. Otherwise the goals of a fast implementation will not be fulfilled and the whole project will cost more money and time.