Taking a Value-Driven Approach to Aircraft Maintenance Management
What is your time worth? It’s a common question that is often quantified by compensation based on expertise, experience, potential, and the value you bring to your company. Additionally, how you use your time is also part of the equation when it comes to delivering value and assessing performance.
In the world of aviation maintenance, considerable time is spent ensuring the safe operation of a myriad of different aircraft while maintaining asset value and, in many cases, managing employees. You’re responsible for establishing the workflow, the processes that ensure task completion, regulatory compliance and ultimately, a safe flight. Unfortunately, much of this time is spent spinning your wheels and going no where fast.
Assessing an individual’s value is often a measure of expectations versus results.
In aviation maintenance, you are typically judged on the foundation of technical skills valued in your profession and then specific technical skills based on the airframe(s). Since you were likely hired for your technical skill and prowess, throw in your ability to manage a department and lead people as a bonus that increases your value to the company. However, how is your value measured? What are the criteria used to determine your success? Sometimes,
Capitalizing on your technical skills to identify areas of improvement and ultimately deliver value and establish yourself as a leader.
Your time is money and highly valuable. Unfortunately maintenance directors and managers typically spend more time managing inefficient processes that include entering, copying, pasting and exporting data from one place to another. While you are doing this, someone else is likely duplicating the effort in a different set of programs—and never the two shall meet.
All this time wasted on inefficient processes could be better utilized in ways that add value to your operation, the company—and your time. As Clay Shirky, noted writer and journalist on the social and economic effects of the Internet, said:
“It is the people who figure out how to work simply in the present, rather than the people who mastered the complexities of the past, who get to say what happens in the future.”
Many of you have likely become masters at mitigating inefficiencies by implementing a series of band aids to improve deficiencies. You have figured out ways to manipulate the system and compensate for the lack of intuitive processes by adding word processing, spreadsheets, shared drives, etc., along with checklists and templates to your day-to-day. These band aids get the work done, but don’t necessarily add value overall. Driving key changes towards more efficient and modern practices may seem like a lot to take on when time is limited, but technology has made it so that it doesn’t have to be.
Start with assessing the level of risk in your current process by considering and answering the following:
- What happens when you aren’t there?
- Or when a strong gust of wind comes and shifts this house of cards you have built with your operations? How about when you find a new position, or retire?
- What does this band aid workflow cost you and your team in terms of time?
- What would an ideal operation look like?
- What if you were able to mirror the technologies that propel your aircraft into your operations?
Once you understand the risk factors, cost, and time implications of your current process; get out there and explore the possibilities. Today, there are a myriad of solutions designed to automate your workflows, increase communication across your flight department, and give you more visibility into the key functional areas that impact aircraft uptime, resale value, and overall operational costs.
Research, compare and analyze your options.
When researching and comparing solutions, make sure to ask the following:
- How much time will you save daily?
- What about savings realized in operational costs?
- How will inter-departmental communication improve?
- Will it impact technician productivity? If so, by how much?
- What about data entry and security? Consider the features that enable you to store good quality data in a secure environment.
Driving change that improves overall productivity and reduces operational costs is what leaders do. Additionally, you will gain efficiencies and time back into your day to focus on the tasks that deliver the most value to your operation.