Optimizing the Aviation Supply Chain

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The supply chain is a key element within the Maintenance Repair Organisation (MRO), correctly managed it may contribute to the overall efficiency of the process, if it is not controlled in the best way the supply chain may easily contribute to unnecessary overhead.

What is a Supply Chain?

Essentially we are talking about all stages involved in delivering the parts and materials where there needed, when they are needed at the best possible cost.

Consideration is given to transportation and logistics both within the organisation and external to the organisation, cost, quantity and lead time being of relevance to the understanding.

What is Supply Chain Optimisation and Management?

Developing the best business process to ensure each element of the Supply Chain is operating in the most efficient way is termed Supply Chain Management.

Developing techniques for improvement (For example by analysis of Key Performance Indicators (KPI’s) is considered Supply Chain Optimisation.

An optimised SCM process brings together the availability of products and parts throughout the process including original equipment manufacturers (OEM’s), distributors, and customers.


The Aviation Industry continues to develop and the latest generation of aircraft Demands a different level of material support when compared to older generation of aircraft.

Components tend to be more reliable, there are fewer of them (and they are very expensive!) off course we are excluding frequently used parts – wheels, brakes etc., plus the range of consumable material.

Modern aircraft are also more fault tolerant in that they are able to function normally with an acceptable deferred defect in accordance with the Minimum Equipment List (MEL).

Moreover newer aircraft types require less maintenance – A trend which was accelerated through the development of Maintenance Steering Group Logic 3 (MSG-3).

To ensure the availability of parts and materials typically leads to over supply having a direct bearing on costs, together with a disconnection between the parts that are believed to be required to support Non Routine Defects and the actuality compounded in some cases by the lead times of some parts.

Software is playing an increasing role with many integrated systems lending support to the overall process, never the less there is no substitute for manual intervention.

Vendor and Original Equipment Manufacturer (OEM) decisions are key to effective management, also taking into consideration the role of the Operator and the MRO in respect of spares management.

Enterprise resource planning (ERP) is business process management software that allows an organization to use a system of integrated applications to manage the business and automate many of the back office functions. However its impact may be limited without the organisation also embracing the willingness to change processes.

ERP systems require configuration and analysis together with the willingness to modify and develop the organisations systems. Together with a direct connection with the process of supply chain management (SCM).

The most effective processes rely on the analysis of a significant amount of data including information related to the Inventory Stock Levels and the Storage of Parts and Material, The Management of Assets and the Maintenance of Value and finally the procurement process.

The major need is for the above elements to be considered together and that they not be subjected to the “bunker” mentality where the subject areas are dealt with independently.

Sofema Аviation Services offers a range of Regulatory and Vocational training to comply with the requirements of EASA.
Please see www.sassofia.com or our online training portal www.sofemaonline.com or email us at office@sassofia.com or online@sassofia.com

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