We are working on the forthcoming special edition on MRO. You could share your valuable insights on how recent technological trends such as Artificial Intelligence, Cloud, AR/VR, Cybersecurity, Blockchain, and GPS, among others, have transformed the A and D industry.
I was asked to write something espousing on the benefits of blockchain, AI, paperless, cloud, all the buzz-tech, and how they are transforming the A&E industry. But I’ll summarise my position -I don’t believe they are transforming our industry. Nor can they.
I will also clearly state my views on ‘why’, up front. These technologies are just elements or enablers in a technology strategy, and in their own right, they quite possibly don’t have a business case. And if there is no business case, then they won’t fly.
It is not that they aren’t valid technologies, but then so are keyboards, and bar code scanners. It is about meshing all these things together to support your strategy and make your business more successful in whichever way you choose to measure success. Normally, profitability.
So, back to that technology or digital strategy. It is not tech for the sake of tech. This must be your business strategy. It must be where you want to take your business in the future. This strategy can be at one or many levels, corporate, airline operations, airline technical, or within a team or department.
This strategy development process can then explore the vision. How do you want to operate? How can you tangibly improve safety? How will you become more efficient? Where will you drive out cost? How will you make peoples jobs easier and more enjoyable? What is it your customers want and how will you delight them?
Translating this vision, you will build a ‘jigsaw’ where the pieces are all the deliverables. These pieces may be technology; but they will also be people and process changes. Nothing will be different in your business unless you make change. This process is likely to be ‘bottom-up’ and highly cross functional, requiring very senior level commitment. Hearts, minds, and investment. And if you deliver, it will be transformative, and provide a return on that investment.
These deliverables will provide benefits. And all those benefits need to be identified in some detail, then quantified. This will often be challenging. For example, what really is the benefit of making an aircraft serviceable thirty seconds faster?