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I decided to put on my Google Glasses to see if I could make out the top five trends to make the biggest impact on civil aviation MRO in 2015. Here’s what I saw – I’d be interested if you see 2015 the same.

1. Mobile Comes of Age with Maintenance ‘At-the-Asset’

ANA_maintenance_personnel_inspecting_an_airliner_turbofan_engine

2015 will see significant strides in the integration of mobile apps with maintenance ‘at-the-asset’ becoming the expected norm. A new generation of mobile devices will have apps as part of a full Information System (IS) across all MRO operations targeted at maximizing effectiveness, minimizing user overhead and avoiding complexity in this complex operating environment.

2. First Glimpses of ROI from Additive Manufacturing

A&D is already a huge trend setter in the adoption of additive manufacturing (3D Printing), contributing 10.2% to the industry’s $2.2 billion global revenue in 2012, and all indications are that this will continue to grow.

In 2015, as a recent Deloitte University Press report highlights, I believe we will start to see real RoI from 3D printing. How? By reducing material costs, decreasing labor content, and increasing availability of parts at point of use – all having a dramatic impact on the supply chain.

3. A Real Business Need for Wearable Technology

In 2014, wearables promised much but delivered little in terms of practicalities. But if Gartner, who predicts that the wearable market will be worth $10 billion by 2016, is to be believed, things need to get a shift on in 2015.

In civil aviation the business need is already there and crying out for wearable technology – witness the example of Japan Airlines with its use of Google Glass in the maintenance process.

Let’s forget the ‘trendy’ aspect of wearable technology, because its potential to reduce complexity and workload for aviation operators is a clear business benefit. If the industry gets it right – and I believe it will – 2015 will see major widespread use of wearables in civil aviation really take effect.

4. Big Data Holds the Key to Predicting the Future

‘Big data’ – a concept has been around for longer than I can remember, but unlocking its secrets has still to be tackled.

In 2015 the civil aviation industry will and must tackle big data head on, in particular I think in using big data for Predictive Analysis. Yes, there’s huge potential in using the secrets of big data to enable a better workflow across the enterprise but it’s in enabling predictive analytics where I see the real benefits by providing key data around asset failures which can then be integrated into logistics systems to help inform and improve future designs, in order to optimize usage and lower the total lifecycle cost.

5. Smaller Vendors Need to Innovate

In 2014 we have seen an acceleration of a new trend in the aerospace supply chain brought about by the unprecedented numbers of commercial aircraft being produced as the industry grows at 4.7 per cent annually, coupled with an ever increasing demand for more affordable products and greater reliability. Companies at the top of the supply chain are shifting responsibilities for increased productivity and innovation to their smaller 2nd tier suppliers to absorb the continuing price pressures from end-user customers.

This means that in 2015, smaller Tier 2 vendors will be forced to radically overhaul their operating costs while driving innovation in order to protect relationships with their major OEM customers. They will be looking for more modular IS solutions to easily and quickly increase or change their production processes, show more transparency in their production controls, and give instant visibility of their margins.

modulesWhy modular? Modularity means they can pick and mix the applications to meet their particular points of need and, to avoid the expenses traditionally associated with full blown ERP systems. They can even opt for an Opex rather than a Capex model by deploying through the cloud.

Whatever they decide, they need to build a springboard for the future, and innovation is a must. So the pressure is on in 2015!

 

 

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