Aircraft IT MRO – July/August 2014

Aircraft IT MRO – July/August 2014 Cover


Name Author
Paper or Plastic, does the medium of content make a difference? Michael Wm. Denis, VP Customer Engagement, Flatirons Solutions View article
CMS and MRO systems integration Thanos Kaponeridis, CEO & President, AeroSoft Systems Inc. View article
MRO and Big Data Benjamin Walther, CEO, and Marc Borkowsky, Business Analyst, aviationexperts View article
Why you should insist your MRO Software is standards compliant Kenneth N. Jones: Director of Electronic Data Standards, ATA e-Business Program View article
Case Study: Flying High: Alaska Airlines and Boeing Mobile Line Maintenance Project Rob Lowy, Project Manager, Maintenance & Engineering, Alaska Airlines, and Sherilyn Segrest, Program Manager, Fleet & Maintenance Solutions, Boeing View article

Paper or Plastic, does the medium of content make a difference?

Author: Michael Wm. Denis, VP Customer Engagement, Flatirons Solutions


Paper or Plastic, does the medium of content make a difference?

On Memorial Day I was watching the perennial talking heads that dominate Sunday morning television and happened upon CNN’s Richard Quest interviewing European Parliamentarian, Michel Barnier. At the end of the interview, Mr. Quest asked Mr. Barnier if he preferred paper or plastic, when consuming books, magazines, news papers, and other written documents. By ‘plastic’, Mr. Quest meant computer- or tablet-based presentation of content. I found this an interesting question as it is one I have discussed many times with my father, born in the ‘30s, who is squarely in the paper camp. On the other hand I have my children, born in the late ‘80s who rarely read anything in print.

Is media choice an age thing?

The question of ‘human consumption’ of content and information appears to be a generational preference or habit with an overwhelming trend toward plastic since the adoption of the Internet in the mid-90s. As my friend Paul Saunders says, “The people we hire today don’t know a world without mobile phones (and tablets), the Internet and Facebook.”

This also begs the question: do the media by which humans consume content make other differences besides preference? Do we comprehend, remember, and utilize content more effectively or more efficiently according to the medium by which the information is presented? Do electronic means that enable more robust search of interconnected information across multiple formats enhance knowledge formulation from data, content, or information?

Will electronic delivery do the job?

Since this is a column and not an academic research report, let’s assume the plethora of psychology and learning studies are correct and the ability to reference multiple pieces of electronic content from a single networked source does, in fact, enhance effective comprehension and its efficient use. Good; so now the question arises, does the use of plastic improve the other purpose of content, ‘technological consumption’ of data, information, and knowledge development?

Authoritative sources of content within aerospace, defense, and aviation are well specified but are not as well standardized or integrated across information technologies, companies, and countries. Technologically, it is easy to automate cascading updates of changing form, fit, or function of a part; rolling a part number, updating configuration in an IPC, updating of the content within an MPD, AMM, CMM, TSM, FIM… updating MRO IT systems’ maintenance plans, schedules, and logistics, creation of routine and non-routine tasks, integration of diagnostics, prognostics and health management systems, automation of records for regulators and lessors, and to the feedback mechanism from service lifecycle managers to product lifecycle designers.

What’s holding us back?

So if both human and technological consumption of content improves outcomes (safety, reliability and efficiency) then what are the barriers to wide-spread adoption of electronic content within organizations and between businesses?

Our industry is highly regulated and thus subject to inefficiencies mandated by regulatory organizations or, in many cases, regulatory individuals. Most regulatory bodies authorized the move to electronic content over a decade ago. But as one senior vice president of technical operations told me, “My PMI only believes what he touches on paper.” And yes, his PMI grew up in a world devoid of the internet, cell phones and social networking.

The media used to deliver content makes considerable differences in improving safety effectiveness and financial efficiency of certification, maintenance, repair, and training of complex assets over their product and service lifecycles. The barriers to improving individual companies’ performance as well as the industry as a whole are self-inflicted, therefore, self-healing. At least that’s how I see IT.
Contributor’s Details:

Michael Wm. Denis, VP Customer Engagement, Flatirons Solutions

Michael Wm. Denis is a 26-year veteran in the aviation, aerospace, and defense industries. His experience includes operations, engineering, maintenance and supply chain management, autonomics and aircraft health management, flight operations systems, and enterprise resource planning. Most recently, he has focused on software-as-a-service (SaaS) and business process outsourcing (BPO) models that optimize the profitability of capital-intensive, cash-flow-sensitive services.

Denis currently serves as Vice President of Customer Engagement for Flatirons Solutions, leading corporate strategy, customer relationship development, account management, and consulting services.

Prior to Flatirons Solutions, Denis held diverse leadership functions including corporate strategy, market analysis, scenario planning, mergers and acquisitions, IT, performance metrics, and process reengineering for several aviation consultancies and a Fortune 100 company. He is an established thought leader in the area of aircraft lifecycle sustainment and has published multiple articles on aligning business strategy to operations execution through the use of information technologies.

Denis holds a bachelor’s in Nuclear Engineering from the Georgia Institute of Technology and a master’s in Decision Science from the J. Mack Robinson College of Business at Georgia University.

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