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Digital Logistics for In-Service Operations in Aerospace and Defense

Digital Thread for Paperless Logistics Connecting Engineering with Integrated Logistics Support (ILS), Technical Documentation and Service Operations

1. Disruption and Transformation of the Aftermarket Services in A&D

Digital technology can be applicable to many aspects of Logistics operations automating Logistics infrastructure, supply chains, shipping, distribution, warehousing, and many other disciplines of Logistics management. Manufacturing, Production and Service Logistics operations can be defined as interconnected subjects for broader Logistics processes and operations. This White Paper is focused on Engineering, Manufacturing and Service Logistics, which refers to all planning, coordination and service functions required to carry out manufacturing and assets in-service activities, including Integrated Logistics Support (ILS) business process.

In the A&D industry, on the verge of returning to normal and recovering from the COVID-19 pandemic crisis, OEM and MRO companies, in general, and their maintenance and in-service departments have experienced declines in spending of 40 percent or more(1). Therefore, they must adopt and implement disruptive changes and adjustments. Cost pressure, agility in demand management, balance of supply chain operations and access to a stable source of less expensive, yet certified, parts and new components, will be ever more important factors in A&D logistics and in-service operations. The ability to propagate engineering innovations and modern advances such as standardization, artificial intelligence and automation, downstream into maintenance operations - breaking silos between engineering, manufacturing, logistics and service - will become critical factor for success.

Complete process integration is essential from planning through to execution and fulfillment of part and service orders, based on the relevant, up to date maintenance documentation and service work instructions. This integration is necessary for complying with service-level agreements and keeping in-service operations efficient and, as a result, customer satisfaction as high as possible to remain competitive in the market.

Success in the aftermarket maintenance operations requires that A&D companies recognize the service as the product. As such, service offer differentiation, right logistic planning and efficient delivery of services will determine efficiency and profitability. The greatest differentiator is the quality of logistics and in-service operations with seamless interoperability to product design and engineering.

Airlines and equipment operators have choices when it comes to contracting maintenance and repair services and purchasing spare parts. There are many OEMs, MROs, maintenance repair companies and aftermarket parts vendors that are competing for this business. It is critical that A&D manufacturers and OEMs will provide required and standardized logistic and in-service support and must offer best-in-class interaction with their customers and maintenance organizations.