Maintenance, Repair and Overhaul (MRO) is a $60 billion business and growing and right now the industry is at an inflection point. The aircraft industry is building a fleet of younger, more reliable, more maintenance-friendly aircraft. Today, the average aircraft is 15 years old and the fleet is only going to get younger. Since younger aircraft require less maintenance, the demand for MRO services will also drop. At the same time, our existing MRO infrastructure is benefiting from economies of scale. Consequently, the industry will require less diversity among parts, tools and shops. This means less capacity is required to deliver the same MRO services. In spite of these factors, we are adding MRO capacity worldwide at a furious pace, particularly in emerging markets. The current demand for MRO services is strong, but its growth is slowing. On the other hand, the capacity to deliver MRO services is sufficient, yet it is increasing.
Just Add Innovation
Addressing this supply and demand issue is going to require the industry to incorporate innovation in new ways to meet and exceed customer needs in a challenging environment.
Historically, the MRO industry has been slow to adopt new technologies. Walk into any MRO facility, including those at Pratt & Whitney, and you see mountains of paper, job tickets, boxes of inventory and hardbound engine manuals.
Over the past decade, engine turnaround time across the industry has actually increased from 62 days to 71 days—a 15 percent erosion. But more rapid adoption of technology will enable the MRO industry to drive productivity. We have access to great resources like electronic work instructions, real time feedback from tools and visual recognition technology. We also need to commit to paperless environments, truly integrated supply chains, and data sharing across the value stream.
Today’s aircraft and engines are generating more real-time data than ever before. MRO providers can capture and share this data in a fashion never before thought possible.
Pratt & Whitney is using the increase in data to predict engine in-flight shutdowns.
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