Spotlight on Computer Software

A few things to consider By Joe Escobar There are many computer applications available nowadays for aircraft maintenance facilities. If you are in the market to purchase a product, there may be many questions running through your head...

Life limited parts tracking. Life limited parts tracking can be one of the most time-consuming tasks in keeping up with a logbook. The products available help track these components letting you know in an instant if an item is coming up due or past due. These alerts are dependent on hours/cycles being entered into the system.

Initial onsite training. Training is a very important aspect of a new application purchase. Some companies come to your facility to ease the transition learning period. Even if they don't offer on-site training, they should offer some type of training and ongoing customer support.

Maintenance scheduling. This is another benefit of computer applications that are tied to the operations side. Any upcoming maintenance items are highlighted. The flight schedule can then be worked around the known upcoming maintenance event as well as staggering the routine maintenance of multiple aircraft.

Electronic logbooks. Some products offer the choice of electronic logbooks, allowing all the records to be in a central location and easily found. The logbooks can be burned onto CDs and sent with an aircraft if maintenance is being performed at another facility. This makes logbook research and updates easier than paper logbooks.

Inventory control. You can take better control over your inventory. Let the application keep track of inventory and notify you in the case of low stores. Some offer tracking time on sensitive items like calibration due dates for precision measuring equipment. You can even forecast the upcoming demand for spares and other resources based on past tracking and forecasts.

Purchasing. Keep a record of purchases, prices, and methods of payment. This could help you make a decision down the road about keeping an aging aircraft or show your buying habits.

Internet-based. More and more products these days are internet based. The information is stored on a computer, but accessible via the world wide web. This can either be hosted at your facility or at the software provider's location. If you have numerous employees that are at remote locations, they can log on to any computer with internet access and view vital information with real-time accuracy.

Cost estimation. This can be a valuable planning resource. Expenses can be forecast based on past maintenance history and projected schedule.

One last thing
The maintenance computer applications that are available are not a cure-all for poor productivity. If there are poor work processes in place before implementation, unless these are addressed, they will still affect productivity, maybe even more so. Also, good employees can become less productive if they get frustrated due to problems with a poor system. Since they are the ones that will be using it, it is a good idea to get their buy-in before the purchase decision is made and make sure to support them through the training process.

Start your research
On the following pages, there is a compilation of application products as well as the features each product offers. These are based on solicitations sent out by us that were returned. Keep in mind that these categories are broad. Although it can be beneficial in helping you narrow down your search, you should still do your homework. Contact the companies and ask them for more information on their product. Look at demonstrations and evaluation programs to make sure the program does the job processes you set out as the goal.

To see what's available in maintenance software, CLICK HERE to view a reference chart in PDF format.

To viewa list of the companies with links that are listed in the reference chart, CLICK HERE.

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