Author: Edmundas

Managing a thriving MRO business can quickly become challenging without the right tools and systems in place. To address these challenges, many organisations turn to advanced software solutions that allow for improved resource management, ensuring efficient and optimised operations. Laimonas Antanaitis, Product Director at Sensus Aero, a new-gen software solution for the aviation industry, shares his insights on the most pressing MRO tool-related issues and how new technology solutions can address them. Tool Tracking One significant issue that software helps solve is tool tracking. Without a strong tool tracking system, it becomes difficult to keep tabs on which tools are currently in use, who is responsible for them, and when they require calibration or maintenance. Tailored software solutions designed specifically for MRO operations can efficiently monitor tools, track mechanics’ usage, and identify any overdue tool returns. Calibration and Maintenance Calibration and maintenance of tools present another crucial aspect for MRO organisations. Inaccurate or improperly calibrated tools not only compromise work quality but also pose safety risks. Regular calibration is essential, yet it can be overlooked without proper control measures. Software programs come to the rescue by sending reports and reminders about upcoming calibration dates, preventing the use of tools with expired calibrations altogether. The same goes for tool periodic checks, as software systems can generate reports and track expiration dates to ensure timely inspections. Compliance and Safety Maintaining proper tool control is not only vital for smooth operations but also for adhering to industry regulations and safety standards. Failure to comply with these requirements can result in safety incidents and legal complications. MRO business management solutions, such as Sensus Aero, ensure all tool control is executed according to strict quality requirements. Such programs can also allow quality managers to conduct audits and review all tool-related actions within the system, maintaining compliance and safety. As organisations grow larger, their operations become more complex, and effective tool control systems become crucial to maintain efficiency. Businesses should not only focus on enhancing their operations but also on managing them efficiently through smart and convenient software solutions. Investing in advanced MRO management software empowers businesses to streamline processes, mitigate risks, and foster a safer work environment. Sensus Aero, a new-gen software solution for the aviation industry, has signed a contract with SIA Gulfstream Oil Ltd., a Latvian fuelling company. Under the 6-year-long agreement, Sensus Aero will provide into-plane fuelling software solutions to optimise the company’s operations at Riga International Airport. From its wide portfolio of available software modules, Sensus Aero will provide an into-plane fuelling module that ensures linear aircraft fuel system operations for both managers and drivers. Additionally, a fuelling storage management module will grant the company instant access to data and enable situational control of fuel storage and registries. Moreover, the GSE management module will allow full control of all equipment while monitoring its usage and technical health. Renata Šumskaitė, CEO at Sensus Aero, shared: “In the ever-growing pursuit of operational efficiency and optimisation, businesses are increasingly turning to intelligent software solutions to enhance their operations. We are excited to partner with SIA Gulfstream Oil, as our team is fully prepared to take charge of the implementation and change management process. Our goal is to ensure a seamless integration, setting the stage for their success. This partnership serves as a testament to the immense value our software solution offers to the industry. By leveraging innovation and expertise, we are dedicated to addressing our client’s unique needs and challenges.” The fuelling management modules will allow for improved operational efficiency, cost savings, safety and compliance, environmental sustainability, and data-driven decision-making. Egija Vilka, Executive Director at SIA Gulfstream Oil, commented, “We are looking forward to taking a significant move towards fuelling digitalisation in collaboration with Sensus Aero. Despite being a small company, we fully recognise the importance of optimisation, and this progressive move is a pivotal step towards expanding our volumes and enhancing business efficiency. We trust that the mutual exchange of ideas and industry know-how will be beneficial to both companies.” Sensus Aero is part of Avia Solutions Group, one of the world’s largest ACMI providers, operating a fleet of 180 passenger and cargo aircraft worldwide. Ground handling businesses face numerous challenges, including managing a large number of employees, contract management, and ground support equipment (GSE). This sector offers various approaches and requires addressing a wide range of problems. Konradas Dulka, Product Director at Sensus Aero, a new-gen software solution for the aviation industry, examines how one can ensure full control, minimise risks to the business and gain a competitive edge. Focus on optimisation While generating additional revenue streams in ground handling can be challenging without winning more contracts, the core concept of the business is optimisation. Therefore, your focus should be on achieving the theoretical maximum efficiency for each station. To optimise your business, you need to address two areas: process improvement and IT solutions. It’s crucial to envision the ideal organisation aligned with your company’s strategy and reflect the processes in the process flow within your systems. This requires fostering a culture of dynamic change and adaptability as well as ensuring that the platforms you use can adjust to these changes. Although each organisation is unique and efficiency can be achieved through different means, let’s explore the theoretical levels of ground handling system progression, usually measured in maturity (based on the progression of turnaround numbers): Level 1: Core ERP System At this stage, the focus is on establishing general control over operations and administrative business units. By implementing the main systems, you create a foundation for correctly building processes, reducing human errors, increasing overall efficiency, and preparing for scalability. Key modules: Level 2: Core ERP + Planning This level addresses planning problems. As planning solutions depend on data, Level 1 focuses on managing and gathering the necessary data, while Level 2 focuses on utilising it for planning purposes. Other systems such as Time & Attendance and Learning Management Systems (LMS) can help streamline operations. Level 2 is critical for increasing efficiency, reducing risks, and saving time. Key modules: Level 3: Core ERP + Planning + Real-time Level 3 focuses on controlling peak periods and eliminating chaos in the field. The main objective is to identify and quickly solve problems, leading to better resource utilisation and smoother operations for both GSE and employees. Tasks are entered through mobile device applications, reducing the need for manual entry after flight operations and thus saving time. Key modules: Level 4: Core ERP + Planning + Real-time + Data Warehouse + Reporting engine At this stage, all information is gathered and available in real-time, including operational and financial metrics. Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) for each business unit can be monitored, and the overall company health can be assessed. This solution in combination with other levels introduces a Decision Management System, enabling accurate and timely decision-making for management. Key Modules: Level 5: Introduction of AI To fully utilise AI, structured, accurate, and well-arranged data is necessary. The preceding steps serve as preparation, aiming to use AI in real-time, enabling the removal of dispatchers and constant predictive situation assessment. AI can be used in earlier steps, like in planning solutions (Reinforced AI) (Level 2) to address the human touch if the situation demands it. As you progress to different levels, the number of systems involved and complexity increase. To maintain a stable environment, it is best to minimise the integration count, introduce secondary data sources, and reduce the number of systems. This reduces stress on the IT department and improves end-user satisfaction by providing a single point of access. Implementing such solutions, depending on the organisation’s size, leads to smoother operations, predictability, increased efficiency, improved profitability, excellent on-time performance, and easier audit procedures. In the long term, these measures significantly enhance the company’s stability and provide a significant advantage over competitors. In the complex field of MRO, effective communication between clients and maintenance organisations plays a crucial role in ensuring seamless operations, minimising downtime, and maximising productivity. However, despite advancements in the industry, human errors are still a prevalent issue in MRO communication, leading to costly delays, misunderstandings, and potentially compromising safety. “One of the main challenges in MRO communication lies in the complexity of the tasks involved,” says Laimonas Antanaitis, product director at Sensus Aero, a new-gen software solution for the aviation industry. “Maintenance activities often require close cooperation between technicians, engineers, suppliers, and clients. This intricate system of involved parties that often communicates through several different channels increases the chances of miscommunication.” According to Antanaitis, misinterpretation of information or untimely communication can often lead to challenges and errors. “Clients may struggle to articulate their requirements accurately, especially when changes or updates to processes or operations are required. Furthermore, difficulties in communication can strive from inconsistency, lack of transparency or clarity in the information provided. This can lead to costly work delays or rework, which can have unfortunate repercussions and hinder the relationship between the parties involved.” Furthermore, the fast-paced nature of MRO operations and the pressure to meet tight deadlines contribute to errors in communication. “In such high-stress environments, especially now when the demand for MRO services is at an all-time high, individuals may overlook important details, skip essential steps, or fail to provide timely updates,” he explains. Additionally, communication can fail when operation records are incomplete, incorrect or get replaced. “Poor record-keeping and inconsistent practices make it hard to track changes, verify instructions, or revisit past conversations. This lack of documentation hampers efficiency and makes it tough to find the cause of errors and take preventive measures.” Such human errors in MRO communication can be addressed not only by investing in effective communication skills training for organisation employees but also by leveraging technologies. “There are quality tools created precisely with MRO organisations and their processes in mind,” Laimonas says. “Systems, such as our Sensus Aero Customer Portal module, can streamline communication between customers and service providers, allowing for fewer misunderstandings or miscommunication, which in hands saves time and costs for both parties. Our records show that by using tools like Sensus Aero, businesses can eliminate up to 97% of human errors and increase effective hours by 17%.” Collaboration between customers and organisations is vital in minimizing human errors in MRO communication. And to simplify the process and increase its effectiveness, modern tools and innovations come to aid. Sensus Aero is a family member of Avia Solutions Group – the world’s largest ACMI (aircraft, crew, maintenance, and insurance) provider with 173 aircraft fleet, operating on all continents in the world. The Group also provides various aviation services such as MRO (maintenance, repair, and overhaul), pilots and crew training, ground handling and other interconnected solutions.   Ground handlers are constantly facing new challenges, which are not static and constantly evolving. Moreover, technological advancements, emissions and higher security regulations are causing quite a disturbance to deal with. This fight is endless, and the most adaptive companies are winning, while others are slowly losing ground and trying different methods to increase revenue by optimising operational and administrational processes to gain a small yet important advantage. Undeniably, safety in aviation is vital, but so are the revenue streams – here we can observe different strategies put to the test: some decide to go for maximum cost savings and others choose to provide high-quality services. Naturally, everything is decided by the airline’s strategic behaviour, values, and competition. Konradas Dulka, Product Director at Sensus Aero, a new-gen software solution for the aviation industry, examines situations when efficient quality management can bring ground handlers long-term gains. The beginning – standards and efficiency First of all, good, efficient, and structural quality control increases efficiency, as it drastically accelerates the improvement rate and indicates root causes. As this becomes part of the organisational culture, the long-term effect starts to shape and unnecessary processes are stopped, the interaction between departments changes, and operational flows are optimised. As a result, we can gain structural organisational stability, which leads to a less chaotic work environment and better on-time performance, as well as resource reduction. To control and ensure this process, we need something that will serve as the basis: QMS (Quality Management System) and a constant auditing process, resulting in improvements. In essence, we are creating the framework on which we are building our quality standards. Gaining an edge Airport location can have a massive impact on competition and how the chessboard is played. One way of understanding which direction to take is by predicting and understanding airlines’ games. As it is quite different to ground handling, knowing what each airline stands for, and its long-term strategy can open quite a lot of possibilities. If an airport is attracting airlines – for which quality, on-time performance, and operational stability are crucial – reputation can become the key to winning the contract on favourable terms. In other words, even if ground handler will suddenly change the strategic initiative to improve drastically on-time performance, or the first/last bag delivery metrics, it won’t help much, as there are some historical statistical data. However, if a company has been working constantly to be known as high-quality oriented, then retaining current customers, gaining new ones, or expanding to new locations can be a lot easier. In addition, if the airline values high-quality services, then, in the negotiation process, quality-orientated companies can win the contract even with higher pricing, which increases your revenue. It’s a proactive measure, not reactive As we know, safety is vital for all aviation players, however, incidents do happen and usually are caused by human errors. Chances of an error can be minimised by adjusting processes, and constantly reminding staff about the importance of safety and surroundings, paired with Information systems. Each incident has a massive effect on revenue, as insurance can go up higher and with GH profit margins it can be quite a juggling act. In addition, though it is hard to evaluate, the company’s reputation suffers as well, which may prevent it from winning contracts in the future. With correct execution and implementation of culture, where quality is one of the top priorities in organisational goals can build a self-improvement culture – where everyone shares the same core values and does not require a push from top management to be more efficient and create safety-enhancing processes. This not only reduces risks but improves efficiency and mitigates revenue loss. As we have established, in some situations being aware of the competition and airline’s directional strategy makes it possible to gain a substantial advantage. To control everything in a structured way, not only a framework is needed, but tools as well. Digitalisation and the adoption of flexible platforms can increase your efficiency furthermore and help achieve your targets. So, how exactly can this platform help you? Overall, we can see, that establishing a quality-orientated approach in an organisation is not an easy task but can bring an edge in the long term. Understanding competition and being aware of the ever-changing market can lead to a stable, efficient, and more profitable organisation with a perfect reputation. With the aviation industry constantly searching for ways to optimise processes and increase efficiency, effective time management is key to ensuring smooth and sustainable operations, especially in the field of MRO (maintenance, repair, and operations). Laimonas Antanaitis, Product Director at Sensus Aero, a new-gen software solution for the aviation industry, believes that improved time management can have a massive positive effect on organisation efficiency and bottom line, and shares two main benefits of time tracking. Real-time labour tracking The first major benefit of time management is improved future estimations through real-time labour tracking. Using historical data leads to better planning and cost estimations, which in MRO is crucial to ensure that the maintenance work is completed within budget. By tracking time spent on each task, companies can more accurately estimate labour and material costs, as well as other expenses associated with maintenance activities. This helps them make informed decisions about allocating resources and budgeting for future maintenance work. Resource effectivity and utilisation The second benefit of time tracking is the ability of companies to better understand how their resources are being utilised. For example, if a task is taking longer than expected, it may indicate that additional resources are necessary, or that the current process needs to be optimised or modified to be more efficient. By tracking time, organisations can make changes in real-time, ensuring that they are using their workforce and other resources efficiently, and improve work productivity, which can affect the profitability of the MRO organisation. Simplifying time tracking through software While time tracking has undeniable advantages, it might become a difficult and time-consuming task. To optimise data collection and time tracking management MRO companies turn to software solutions, such as Sensus Aero. This tool works like a sandglass: it does not allow time to stop once the sand starts to flow ensuring task cards are managed effectively. Sensus Aero labour tracking tool lets only to change the type of time spent, but not stop it completely before ending the day. Using it allows businesses to better manage labour tracking KPIs, such as how much effective (spent on working cards) and non-effective (break, waiting for tools) time was spent per employee, bay, hangar, or organisation. By turning to software solutions companies can better understand their process gaps, improve employee/department efficiency, and optimise costs. Ground handling companies play a critical role in the aviation industry. They are responsible for providing a wide range of services, including marshalling, cleaning and baggage handling. These services are essential for the smooth functioning of airports and airlines. However, ground handling companies are facing a substantial number of challenges, especially with regards to the Ground Support Equipment (GSE). Konradas Dulka, Product Director at Sensus Aero, a new-gen software solution for the aviation industry, examines some of the problems that ground handling companies are facing with their GSE. Cost of GSE One of the main challenges that ground handling companies are facing is the cost of acquiring and maintaining GSE. GSE can be very expensive, and ground handling companies often have to purchase large quantities of GSE to meet the demands of their customers. Additionally, the cost of maintaining GSE can be significant due to constant need of maintenance and repairs to maintain them in good order. Safety Concerns Another significant challenge ground handling companies face is safety. GSE can be quite dangerous if not operated correctly and one incident can have a massive impact on business and especially future insurance costs. Ground handling companies are responsible for the proper employee training and that the equipment is maintained to the highest standards. Failure to do so can result in accidents that can cause injury or even death. Environmental Regulations There is also pressure on ground handling companies to comply with environmental regulations. GSE can have a significant impact on the environment since often ground handling is still using old and poorly maintained equipment. Airports are introducing strict regulations to reduce CO2 and noise levels. In some cases, ground handling companies must comply with these regulations or face fines. Competition The aviation industry is highly competitive and though each company may have its own strategy and good value proposition, they must offer high-quality services at competitive prices. Many companies are finding it difficult to compete or enter new markets, as larger companies have advantage in resources and economies of scale. Technological Advances One more challenge to face for ground handling companies is technological advances. New technologies are being constantly developed, which aim for improving efficiency and safety of GSE. The big issue is that these technologies can be expensive to implement and ground handling companies must find a balance between investments and remaining competitive. Additionally, employees must be retrained, and, in some cases, processes must be changed to utilize efficiently these new technologies. Control With larger numbers of GSE emerges a challenge on how to efficiently control all your fleet. As we know, maintaining this equipment is vital to ensure safe and efficient ground operations. Here are some ways how software can help with GSE management: There are a lot of challenges now regarding GSE for ground handlers, however there are always ways  to efficiently manage your fleet and business. By automating maintenance scheduling, managing work orders, inventory and providing reporting and analytics, we are certain that we can reduce the number of challenges, ensure better safety and ease the load on the employees. Clear and concise communication every step of the way is of crucial importance for every MRO business and its customers. And while some aspects of such communication are easier to handle, others pose more of a challenge even to the most experienced industry players. According to Romas Butkevicius, CEO at Sensus Aero, a new-gen software solution for the aviation industry, contracting can be one of the most challenging parts of business-customer communication. Aviation is an extremely precise and safety-focused industry, and the MRO sector is just as, if not more, detail-oriented. “Contracts between MRO services providers and their customers have various conditions, exceptional rules, and specifical agreements. It can become truly difficult to apply all these rules and conditions in real life,” Romas explains. “When working on such billing contracts, the main issue is difficult to contract management tools and systems that lack flexibility, and customisation and are complicated to work with. That’s why we put a lot of effort into making sure that the Sensus MRO contract tool is easy to use and offers a lot of flexibility for MRO providers.” According to Laimonas Antanaitis, Product Director at Sensus Aero, the tool allows clients to easily customise their contracts by applying rules for various aspects of MRO business. “Sensus MRO software’s billing rules module provides the flexibility to apply contract conditions to their customers. It allows organisations to bill labour per specific skill, work card, task, or routine; bill parts and materials for specific price lists or discounts, ability to apply landing costs and various types of MARKUPS or CAP’s; bill work cards or tasks for fixed prices. The tool also allows to administer tasks or work cards to specific groups which could be managed by the different rules as well as to bill services and charges related with the maintenance costs that come from 3rd party providers.” The tool allows not only customise billing rules and conditions but also to simplify invoice preparation. “All the information, gathered by the Sensus MRO software, can be prepared for Invoices or intermediate invoices which can be sent directly to customers or specific accounting systems. It also allows users to get the latest billing information in seconds in a fast-changing maintenance environment,” Laimonas adds. Simplifying and optimising MRO processes and operations can have a great impact on overall business success thus allowing Sensus MRO software to improve billing and invoicing can be beneficial to both MRO organisations as well as their customers. With the opportunities of virtual and augmented reality for aviation training enticing many professionals all over the world, businesses find themselves considering not only the advantages but also the possible challenges of such technologies. According to Konradas Dulka, Product Director at Sensus Aero, a new-gen software solution for the aviation industry, Virtual Reality applications can be both easy and troublesome. “VR application challenges come in many different forms – some technical, while others lie in the human factor,” he shares. “So, while these technologies are valuable and allow us to improve training processes and engage trainees at the same time, we have to stay vigilant when addressing these challenges.” The Product Director explains that one of the main challenges is optimisation. “At Sensus Aero, we have experimented with a number of different VR engines, which all have distinct advantages. However, regardless of what engine you choose, you need to spend a lot of time on optimizations. If you base your strategy on only realistic graphics, great sound effects, good procedure step-by-step guidance, your product will not automatically be great,” Dulka explains. “In my mind, the global optimisations actually define the product, allowing for it to be used for a longer time even by those, who have not tried anything like that before.” While in VR training a real-life procedure is simulated, not everything needs to be trained. “We are concentrating only on the procedural steps to make the training quicker and more concentrated. This means that every step of VR simulation creation must be considered very carefully – what do we want to be a part of simulation and what is not that important,” Konradas Dulka shares. “Our research has shown that during the simulation if there are parts of training when inside VR simulation you are moving without doing anything, for example riding a bus as a passenger, half of the people experience head spinning. Therefore, here we give the option for the instructor to disable the part and move to the next stage. In other words, the VR personalisation must be present, as no one is the same.” One other major challenge is onboarding. If a person has not tried VR previously, it takes on average around 10 minutes to onboard them. “We usually recommend starting the training with easier procedures, just to get used to the controls and the feeling itself. Unlike ERP systems or mobile apps, VR gives you the feeling of immersion – the user starts to believe he is inside the simulation and here we can help them develop the right habits. If onboarding has been done in the right way, Sensus Aero VR training mode can easily guide users through the steps – even if the procedure is quite complicated. And that’s it! After the onboarding users can be self-sufficient and execute training by themselves, which means a lower load on the trainer’s schedule,” he shares his insights. The harder the procedure, the higher the chance of mistakes and the return on investment of VR suddenly skyrockets. “One of the harder procedures we had to adapt to VR was into-plane fuelling. The complexity of a huge number of steps, and replication of fuelling panels, trucks and sequences was truly a challenge. You cannot replicate “more or less” and hope that users will believe it – it must be exactly replicated graphically, ensuring that control interaction is as realistic as possible. Additionally, you have to tune everything according to the business itself, as the company might be using different trucks where controls differ, clients aircraft fleet can consists of many different aircraft types and so on,” he explains. “Our recommendation is to concentrate on the most common mistakes and start from there. Additionally, unlike real-life training, with Sensus Aero into-plane fuelling VR we can simulate the overpressure or fire hazard, which in real-life practice it is just not possible to do. It is always good to know, that your staff is prepared for all situations, not only the “positive” sequence. We believe that with VR training integration we can enhance the safety of aviation and minimise the risk of the human factor. “ While some markets are quick adopters of new tech, others are on the slower side. However, everybody understands, that currently, the industry is at the breaking point with a significant shift of next-gen technology adaptation just around the corner. And with the positive ROI of VR and the significant improvements in aviation safety it allows for, it is safe to say that soon aviation training will look very different. While streamlining and optimising MRO processes can be very beneficial to every business, it does not eliminate the crucial part of successful operations – convenient and easy communication with customers. With questions, issues, and opportunities following close to every MRO process, the ability to convey information clearly and easily is extremely beneficial both to the MRO provider as well as the customer. “Most of the time miscommunication is not a purposeful act but a human error, cultural or industry-based difference,” says Romas Butkevicius, CEO at Sensus Aero, a new-gen software solution for the aviation industry. “Yet the nature of communication difficulties does not change the fact that it could become a costly issue for all parties involved. While creating tools and IT solutions, we have always focused on optimisation and client experience improvement, thus Sensus Aero Customer Portal has been created with users and efficiency in mind.” According to Laimonas Antanaitis, product owner at Sensus Aero, the Customer Portal allows MRO providers to show transparency while maintaining a clear and concise path of communication. “It is a convenient and beneficial tool for service providers as well as their customers. Users can check active aircraft maintenance projects and follow the working cards’ progress in real-time. They are also able to see all working cards’ stats, including labour and materials needed or used, while also allowing them to approve required materials and labour for aircraft maintenance projects. This allows users of the tool to easily approve required additional services through the Customer Portal even during the aircraft maintenance project. Additionally, customers can see their own stock of materials that they have with MRO organization, making it easier to plan within their own business.” Such transparency of projects and up-to-date tasks builds trust and confidence within the involved companies. “Working and communicating within companies should not be difficult, thus having all the needed information in one place, easily available via an online platform or a mobile app, makes life and work easier for all parties involved,” says Laimonas Antanaitis.