Maintenance Repair and Overhaul Services or MRO, has been a key part of a product’s service lifecycle since the first complex machines were built. The biggest growth came with the advent of trains, large manufacturing machines then cars and eventually aircraft. Over the decades MRO services have migrated from OEM responsibilities to the operators and independent specialized MRO companies. One challenge with this migration away from the OEM to independent MRO services has been the restricted access to product IP held by the OEM. Often this limits the ability of MRO facilities to develop enhanced services and or effect complicated repairs.

Today, MRO’s are being pressured to adopt new technology as digital innovation has finally started affecting how they manage services for the new generation of connected products. This is especially true in the transportation sector with trains, ships, cars and aircraft. Add in the IoT technology and the amount of information about a product that is available is tremendous and growing by the minute. However, is real-time product data of value to a base or depot level maintenance organization that will significantly alter their business model – probably not. That isn’t to say the product health data is not valuable, it is saying the velocity of the data is not as valuable as say a dispatch or operations center.

Information and analysis is transforming the MRO operation. Those organizations that can leverage a deeper holistic view of information about the product they are servicing, the engineering behind the product, parts data, the customer operational data pre and post maintenance and all the technical training and data available within the company will be the leaders in providing innovative services.

Here are some diagnostic questions to consider:

  • Are you able to research the entire maintenance history of the specific serial numbered product since it’s last maintenance visit?
  • Are you able to determine the configuration of the product prior to maintenance induction to ensure you have the latest technical data and parts availability for that specific product?
  • Do your maintenance technicians have real-time access at their workspaces to the complete technical data (maintenance, troubleshooting, schematics, wiring, etc.) as well as engineering change order history for the specific product serial number they are working on?
  • Are you able to accurately forecast parts demand and tooling for each specific maintenance visit for each serial numbered product prior to induction and have them pre-staged?
  • Are you able to optimize the flow of the work tasks for a particular maintenance visit for a specific serial numbered product?

These are just a few sample questions to help one understand where an MRO organization is in its ability to manage data whether historical, technical or customer. The more intelligent an MRO organization is about the specific product it is servicing and has the ability to apply that data to continually improve their operation; they will succeed in this competitive environment where there are few variables available to improve revenue. This is especially true as customers negotiate fixed price maintenance contracts or OEM’s provide performance based maintenance contracts.