Putting Real Time on Your Side in Maintenance

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Work orders at KLM UK Engineering, which oversees maintenance and technical support for several European airline fleets, can be highly complex. To provide more accurate estimates of job costs for its customers, KLM installed an integrated system from K3 Syspro using bar-coded cards linked to data-collection terminals. The system accurately tracks maintenance work, controls costs, and produces more accurate job quotes for customers.

Company: KLM UK Engineering Limited
Industry:
Engineering/aircraft maintenance
Location: Norwich, UK

Business Opportunity or Challenge Encountered

In the airline business, every minute counts. KLM UK Engineering Limited, a subsidiary of KLM UK Holdings Limited, has been operating in a highly competitive environment, with its clients, the global airlines, running on the tightest of margins. Fuel prices keep fluctuating and carriers are constantly looking to outsource all aspects of maintenance to control costs. KLM UK, which oversees the maintenance and technical support for several European airline fleets in addition to its own, needed to keep a tight rein on costs by more closely monitoring employee timekeeping and attendance systems. In addition, the engineering firm needed to provide greater transparency to its airline clients.

However, lack of integration between systems was making it difficult to provide the needed visibility to all the jobs and activities taking place across the company, which involved multiple types of aircraft. The challenge: Precisely track the time spent on various tasks and report real-time costs back to clients.

KLM UK Engineering Limited is a regional aircraft and narrow body maintenance, repair and operations (MRO) organization, a wholly owned by AFI KLM E&M Network. Services include base maintenance, line maintenance, component sales, technical training and decommissioning of Boeing 737s, Airbus A320s, Fokker 70/100s and BAe146/Avro RJs.

How This Business Opportunity or Challenge Was Met

Previously, the company conducted its reconciliations of time paid to hours booked on jobs. KLM purchased an integrated time and attendance (T&A) and shop floor data collection (SFDC) system from K3 Syspro that would process data from job cards–input via bar-coded swipe cards, scanners, or keyboard–to 18 intelligent data-collection terminals.

According to K3 Syspro, the automated collection system helped control the allocation of labor hours to specific aircraft maintenance work. “With a number of work orders containing hundreds of different operations–job cards–going on any one time, effective human resource management became pretty fundamental to the entire running of the company, especially as the cost of employing skilled technicians is a high proportion of our total expenditure,” Ian Harvey, systems accountant for KLM UK, was quoted as stating in a K3 Syspro summary. “Many customers were also asking for detailed job card data, which we could not provide quickly or easily.”

All KLM UK employees now have bar-coded identity cards, which they swipe at the start and conclusion of each task. They then use scanners to read the bar codes on the job card. Technicians can then also sign on and off against multiple jobs on the same aircraft, “thus avoiding the need to climb down off an aircraft to walk to the nearest terminal,” Harvey states.

The system generates reports on time allocation, which helps the company improve resource planning and programming. As a result, the company has been able to evolve to real-time T&A and SFDC, providing the flexibility needed to manage maintenance on multiple types of aircraft as they progress through the day. Staff are able to access the roster of shift days/times, holiday entitlement, and holiday bookings.

Measurable/Quantifiable and “Soft” Benefits from This Initiative

In recent years, KLM UK has been concentrating on lean principles, which focus on producing quality products through collaborative processes. The ability to monitor real costs and make adjustments through the day is key to this commitment.

The integrated T&A and SFDC system helps provide an accurate and transparent view of job costs. Customers are able to view this information to monitor progress and authorize work. The system also provides transparent information to customers and keeps a tight rein on job records, plans and costs. Quotations provided customers are accurate because work profiles were developed for each type of job.

The real-time system, which updates every 10 seconds, provides “control over work in progress information telling us who is working on any job at any given time,” says Harvey. Job planners can preset precise percentage figures against estimates. “The alerts tell us exactly [what] we are up to, and if it looks as though we are going to go over budget on a certain job–maybe the task is more complicated than we first thought–then we can discuss its implications with the customer.”

 Source: K3 Syspro


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