Our client develops and markets technology for the aviation industry . With almost 2’300 employees and various locations worldwide, it has a strong international market presence with within the aviation sector.
To increase Mechanic efficiency and enable better decision-making, by transforming a process-driven analog business into an intelligently networked platform organisation.
20-year old analog process carries potentially huge cost implications of 4 million EUR per error.
Aviation has been a highly regulated industry since the 1960s, requiring workers to hold multiple responsibilities. And, so, the process of maintaining aircraft has traditionally been analog in nature; one which created lot of administrative work. Each task or workflow that belongs to a particular person needs to be checked and signed off - at least twice. When it comes to aircraft maintenance for example, the Mechanic may sign the first step; this is then checked by a Supervisor to ensure the task has been completed correctly, followed by a second and final signature. This multi-signature process was carried out using pen and paper, frustrating Mechanics who spent almost more time trudging through tedious admin tasks than focusing on their core role working with the aircraft.
The Mechanics Supervisor found himself in the same position. Using pen and paper to carry out his duties, he would spend an extra 20-30% of his time on admin by having to physically walk around the hangar, talking to people and taking notes. But over and above wasted time, the real issue for our client was the potential consequences of errors made during this highly manual approach. For example, should a faulty electronic signature stop a aircraft from taking off, the cost could be up to 4 million EUR.
As a result of inefficient analog processes, our client regularly suffered from unscheduled delays which had a negative knock-on effect on fleet availability. Some of these processes have rarely updated since the company was founded, over two decades ago. As such, in addition to time and cost savings, our client needed to save their brand image. Moving from being perceived as an archaic organisation using outdated technology and workflows, towards a more modern, innovative business, could serve to strengthen its reputation and thus avoid a slump in sales.
The company’s goal was to achieve an 5% efficiency increase of per year
The challenge was on to make maintenance tasks paperless and increase productivity. Hackerbay was recommended to the company in January 2018 by an innovation consultancy firm whom we had been partnering with for the past few years.
By this time we had already developed a proven track record in the field of data platforms build, on top of traditional company data and legacy systems. Upon commencing the project with our client, we were immediately presented with our first tight deadline: to release a first minimum viable product (MVP) by the end of April. The organisation wanted save administration time and effort by transforming an analog process-driven into an intelligently networked platform business - within a three month project timeline.
Since our clients projects are usually completed in three to five year cycles, the organisation needed to prove that fast time-to-market was possible. It also wanted an MVP that could be tested in real company surroundings, as well as the ability for the organisation to test out new working models such as Agile and Scrum through the project. This would give the company a competitive edge from a organisational and project management point of view.
Within a week after our first meeting, a dedicated Hackerbay project team was ramped up. We conducted an initial inventory, which showed great potential for generating efficiencies in the area of aircraft paperless maintenance.
Strategic approach combined with Hackerbay Factory Cloud Platform helps meet tight timelines¨ and achieve overall project success.
Our client chose to partner with us because of our strategic approach; the technology we used to tackle the challenge, combined with the business insights we developed during the Blueprint phase. By understanding the market opportunity and the transformative business model, as well as other important strategic business insights, we were able to deliver huge business value.
We kicked-off the project with a strategic Blueprint workshop, to get the business objectives right from the start. After defining all value metrics, we were ready to scope the project using a highly user-centric approach. During the entire course, we repeatedly integrated application end users which enabled us to determine which elements were most important to the company - and to ensure greater user acceptance later on.
During the scope phase, continuously aligning with all stakeholders on progress allowed us to manage expectations and strengthen the partnership. Visual designs were successfully tested, after which we moved on to transfer designs into code on the front-end. This then resulted in a scalable and robust back-end. To complete the work we used a cutting edge technology stack; one that has allowed us in previous projects to create mind-blowing results, in almost no time.
The Hackerbay Factory Cloud Platform, our own commercial software product, was developed to help companies integrate industrial data and scale across the enterprise. On the front-end, we used our platform to provide the company with a suite of integrated tools, optimised for active decision making. While on the back-end, the Hackerbay Factory Cloud Platform has five core components used to integrate our clients data:
In terms of project management, we took an agile development approach. This enabled us to work very closely with the application end users throughout the process, gaining and respond to needs and valuable feedback. The project was divided into individual development sprints, each lasting two weeks. Associated sprint reviews and sprint outlooks allowed us to make flexible adjustments, scoping changes into account at any time during the project.
The maintenance of aircraft takes place within a highly regulated environment. By processing the company’s data in our Hackerbay Factory Cloud Platform, we are now able to digitally replicate an entire aircraft maintenance workflow for up to six weeks, using prediction analysis. Processed data is consumed in the form of visual dashboards and alerts by different employees, in customised application views. The result: a Paperless Maintenance Tool, based on a React Web Application running on a GraphQL back-end.
Our software is used by mechanics every day to do their job more efficiently, and augments the entire maintenance process by integrating with the company’s data and regulations. Predictions from our software are used to not only save time, but give teams unprecedented insights to make better, more informed operational decisions. Mechanics, Supervisors and Avionic Engineers are able to move away from pen and paper, towards a fully networked intelligence software platform. The electronic signatures that have replaced traditional pen and paper signatures help drive transparency, responsibility, and decrease defects and mistakes.
Our solution has the capacity to integrate multiple maintenance management activities, and provide one centralised, consolidated management tool. All maintenance tasks are captured in near-real-time. This provides an accurate snapshot, either of an aircraft or even an entire - at any given time.
Paperless Maintenance Tool increases efficiency by 5% and exceeds aircraft availability target by 10% gaining further investment to finance the next phase of integration
And in terms of performance, the Paperless Maintenance Tool hit all expectations. The original set KPI of increasing aircraft availability by 5% per year was exceeded by 15% and with a clear strategy now in place, the following targets have been set:
“We have set ourselves very ambitious goals and will continue to set them. I am impressed by Hackerbay’s approach and the results achieved. We enter the next phase confidently with the right development partner.”
- General Manager.
As such we were able to confidently showcase progress to the upper management of the company, and win buy-in for the next phase of development. The result? A further investment from our client, to finance the next phase of integration and further expansion of the tool.
Based on user-centric designed interfaces, we integrated planning as a prediction machine to drive more informed decision-making. Our client is now able to complete maintenance tasks with consistent quality and better reliability, due to a reduction of complexity in how they do things. End user feedback has been overwhelming. Users have been super excited to have been a part of the development process, and extremely proud to have helped shape their own product - which now is ready to use in a test production environment.
By rationalising and networking different data sources from an unstructured process, we were able to deliver multiple gains. For the Mechanics, the new tool has eliminated the potential for manual error. Traditional methods combined with cumbersome and inconvenient logging and workflow processes are now greatly simplified. Hackerbay has digitally augmenting their entire workflow, updating the old pen and paper process with electronic signatures that are instantly signed and authenticated. With the help of our software, the Mechanic can now put 100% focus into the role he was hired for. This has a knock-on effect on productivity resulting in 5% efficiency gains, since he is no longer required to carry out painfully slow maintenance tasks.
The Supervisors now have a faster, clearer overview of their team's performance. In addition to improving transparency, the new tool facilitates better communication channels that save time, by eliminating the need to double-check signatures. As a consequence, planning and management capabilities have been enhanced to maintain aircraft in a safe, compliant and operational state; ready to support mission requirements.