Benefits of Implementing Electronic Workflows In Your Flight Department

Implementing Electronic Workflows

In recent years, the industry has seen the positive impact of technology on flight departments, and many operators have made the move to an entirely paperless cockpit. Many aircraft are now equipped with in-flight Wi-Fi, and pilots have replaced their traditional binders with an Electronic Flight Bag (EFB) or an iPad. Seeing the success that pilots and crews have had, maintenance managers have begun to implement this technology into their operations.


The most common implementation so far has been the switch to paperless processes in the hangar. Taking traditionally tedious paper processes and making them electronic has provided significant benefits to operations around the world, including the elimination of duplicate work and improvement of efficiency. These digital processes are called electronic workflows. There are a wide array of major benefits when it comes to implementing electronic workflows in your operation. These are just a few:

  • Automation: The most obvious benefit is the elimination of tedious processes that often take up a majority of operators’ time. With an electronic workflow, you can identify repetitive tasks as well as those that consume a large portion of your time and leverage the system to do the work for you.
  • Predictive Analytics: Dashboards and reports consolidate system-wide data, allowing managers to make effective decisions about the future of the operation without spending hours or days gathering the data.
  • Integration: Electronic workflows generally utilize an API, which allows two different systems to communicate and share data with each other. Integrations allow flight departments to seamlessly share info between critical systems, like a scheduling software pushing aircraft times to a maintenance tracking system. This eliminates duplicate work and reduces potential errors. This is just one example, but API integrations have unlimited potential for reducing extra work in your operation.
  • Mobility and Connectivity: Almost everyone carries their phone with them wherever they go, and almost every pilot carries an iPad. This mobile capability allows operators to communicate and share information with their team instantly, providing the most up-to-date information on their fleet from anywhere with internet connection.

These are just a few of the benefits of implementing electronic workflows into your operation, but what are some real-world examples of these benefits? How will this actually improve my flight department?

  • Updating Maintenance Items: This historically tedious and time-consuming process can almost be eliminated using automation. Electronic workflows allow operators to “bulk-apply” mass amounts of matching data to maintenance items, such as hours, landings, dates, and even electronic signatures. This completely eliminates hours of handwriting and data entry.
  • QA Process: Every QA process faces their own unique challenges. Electronic workflows allow organizations to set up custom workflows, as well as manage security levels for various tasks. This customization allows operations to streamline their processes while keeping critical quality standards in place.
  • Creating and Storing Logbooks: Electronic logbook creation is one of the biggest benefits that operators are seeing across the industry. Electronic workflows allow operators to easily update maintenance items and create electronic logbook entries in minutes. For larger inspections, this process could take days if done manually. In addition to the time savings, you now have an electronic backup of your logbook entries. (For best practices on data backup, read this)

As you can see, electronic workflows have a wide variety of benefits and real-world applications that operators use every day.

Also remember, implementing an electronic workflow doesn’t have to be an overnight process. Start by implementing smaller components, such as process automation. Every operation has their best practices due to the unique challenges they face. Get a feel for how technology can improve your process, and you will begin to see endless opportunities for reducing manual labor, streamlining processes, and improving efficiency.

Why is it important to keep electronic backups?

Electronic Backups

For aircraft, the value is in the logbooks. If logbook entries are missing or lost, it can be almost impossible to know what maintenance has been performed on the aircraft, or if the aircraft is even airworthy. The aircraft can be grounded indefinitely, and operators often incur a heavy cost and time lost to reinstitute airworthiness.This also affects the aircraft’s resale value. If the aircraft’s history is unknown or missing info, the risk to a potential buyer is far too high, and the value of the aircraft decreases significantly. Whatever your maintenance tracking process entails, multiple backups are critical to protecting your aircraft’s value and the operation’s success.Here are a few simple ways that you can back up your files starting today:

  • Scan logbook entries: Scan each logbook entry you create after they’ve been signed. This will give a solid electronic copy of the physical logbook. Save as an image or PDF file for the most effective file size.
  • Store copies in cloud storage solutions and a local hard drive: Using services like Dropbox or Google Drive allow you to upload documents and access them from anywhere. The main benefit is that you’ll have access to them from anywhere as long as you have internet access. Keeping an electronic logbook copy on a local hard drive will ensure access without the need for remote access. Even storing a copy on a mobile device is good while traveling.
  • Create a physical copy: For operators creating paperless logbook entries, printing out a physical copy is recommended.
When relying on external vendors (i.e. maintenance tracking) for data storage, double check to make sure they’re doing everything possible to ensure the security and availability of your data. Ask the following questions when assessing providers:
  • What measures do you have in place to secure my data?
  • How do you back up my data? Do you have internal storage or only rely on outside vendors to store my data?
  • If your system goes down, how will I get access to my data?
  • Have you ever dealt with security breaches? How would you handle it if one happened?
If data security is important to you, then make sure all your requirements are met. Internal storage, top tier data security, and multiple backups are minimum requirements. It’s very common to see companies only relying on external storage vendors such as Microsoft Azure. These services are great, but can limit access to critical data if their service is interrupted or goes down. Dedicated in-house servers and geo-replication of data provide multiple ways of accessing data, ensuring your data is safe in any circumstance.

Flightdocs and The Independence Fund

This 4th of July as we celebrate our independence, Flightdocs Inc., is pleased to extend its commitment to our nations wounded warriors through The Independence Fund.  The mission of the IDF is to give severely wounded service members back the freedom of mobility.  By providing all-terrainwheel chairs to combat amputees and continued support to the caregivers of those wounded heroes, The Independence Fund is pivotal in rejuvenating the mind and soul of those who’ve paid freedoms price.  

 

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To date, Flightdocs has donated a total of 7 all-terrain wheel chairs and the most recent donation this year goes to an Air Force veteran of 13 years.   We feel obligated to give back to the community and we’re honored to align with a truly selfless organization such as the Independence Fund.

To learn more about the Independence Fund and donation opportunities please visit:
independencefund.org

Have a Safe and Happy 4th of July!

Data Security and Multi-Factor Authentication with Flightdocs

 

 

The security of your personal and professional information is more important than ever. Reports of hacks, data breaches and identity theft are in the news daily. Flightdocs has always kept the security and accessibility of our customer’s data as a top priority, and that continues today.

We’ve just released Multi-factor Authentication (MFA) to Flightdocs Enterprise. MFA is an extra layer of security that ties your mobile device to your user account. Upon initial login a verification code will be sent to your cell phone via text message and this code will be required to complete the login process. Simply put, even if your password is stolen your account will remain secure.This measure is simple to implement, easy to use, and will keep your account protected.

 

First things first – the setup.

 

Sammy Flyer

1. As an admin, navigate to Workforce > Users and select the user you want to setup with MFA.  Click “Edit” from the actions dropdown in the top right, and it will take you to the screen below.  Select the “Mobile” option for MFA Mode (You can also use Email for MFA, but Mobile tends to be the preferred option.) and enter in the Mobile Phone Number for the device you wish to have linked to your account.

 

 

Client Login

2. Once MFA has been activated your all set.  From www.flightdocs.com login as normal. 

 

 

iPhone Notification

3. After entering your user name and password a verification code will be immediately sent to your mobile device via text message. 

 

 

Code Enter

4. Once received, enter the Flightdocs verification code into the login screen and your done – nothing to it. 

 

Flightdocs MFA is simple to implement and easy to use.  If your login credentials are compromised, fear not.  MFA will notify you that someone other than you is attempting access your information, therefore, allowing you to take immediate action.   If you have any questions don’t hesitate to give us a call at 1-800-747-4560 or send an email to customerservice@flightdocs.com.

Video: Introducing Flightdocs Enterprise

 

 

Over the last few years we have been developing a system that is truly a game changer for complete maintenance management.  We’ve listened to our customers, analyzed where the industry is heading, and put together a platform that maximizes visibility, efficiency, and effectiveness throughout your operation. Make the move to Enterprise today. Visit flightdocs.com/contact to reach out to our team to learn more about Enterprise and how you can get started on the new platform.

Third Party Integrations - Flight Scheduling

 

API

If you’re already utilizing Flightdocs integrations with some of our partners, you are aware of the benefits these connections can bring to your organization.  If you’re not integrating Flightdocs with any other platforms, we’d like to bring you up to speed on how you can connect Flightdocs other systems you are utilizing. Today, the most popular integrations exist between Flightdocs and other flight scheduling platforms.  Flightdocs utilizes a standardized REST based API to carry out 2 main functions between your flight scheduling platform.

1 – If you are updating your flight log inside of your scheduling platform, you can pass the aircraft total times automatically to Flightdocs, to update your maintenance status with the latest hours and cycles.  This ensures that your due list is updated in real time, and is always accurate.  It also eliminates errors created by having to record information in 2 places.

2 – Our API also allows third parties to pull due list items from Flightdocs, and display scheduled and non-routine maintenance (MELs) within the scheduling platform interface.  This can eliminate flight crews having to operate inside of two different systems, and also allows flight planners to compare flight schedules and expected utilizations to the maintenance forecast.

Current integrations exist with Cirro, PFM, Rockwell Collins FOS, BART, Avmosys, and Avianis. If you are not currently utilizing one of these solutions, Flightdocs is open to integrating with other platforms, so feel free to contact us to initialize a conversation with your provider.  Many customers with custom solutions also utilize the Flightdocs API to push and pull the information entered above, and our product development team is happy to assist with guidance in establishing a new connection.

As new developments continue with our Enterprise Platform, our API will grow to encompass more data from both maintenance and inventory, and could be utilized to connect with other platforms such as accounting and ERP solutions.

If you have any questions concerning integrations, please give us a call at 1-800-747-4560 or shoot us an email at customerservice@flightdocs.com.

Video: Enterprise Inventory Overview

 

Interested in a modern, easy to use platform to manage your parts and purchasing?  If you’re using Flightdocs for maintenance tracking, our inventory module is included in your subscription and is ready for you to use.  The video above covers many of the high level features inside of the module, but if you have further questions or would like a live demo of the platform, feel free to give us a call at 1-800-747-4560 to set up a time for a 1 on 1 demonstration.

Inventory - Monthly Cost Reports

Many corporate flight departments don’t share, or have access to the same financial systems their parent companies may use on a daily basis, and often times the financial groups are looking for particular information from the director of maintenance or director of aviation concerning spending and consumption, on a monthly basis.  From our experience, the two most commonly requested reports summarize how much is being spent in purchase orders, and the cost of what is being utilized (installed, consumed, discarded, etc).  If you are utilizing the Flightdocs Inventory Module, these types of reports can easily be created, and exported to give your financial group the exact information they are looking for.

 

On the Purchase Orders page, users can utilize the filter button to specify status, date, vendor, etc. and then utilize the export to get a PDF or Excel file for total costs of POs, or can utilize the “Export Line Items” to export the details of each line item within the selected POs.

 

 From the “Reports” page, users can access the Transaction Report. This report allows users to filter based on type of transaction (install, transfer, consume, discard, receive, ship, etc.) and then filter down by date range, aircraft, value, and more. The results of the report can then be exported in PDF or Excel format.

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