The Airline and Aerospace related businesses are amongst the most challenging in the world. The highest standards are demanded and yet pressures on revenues and costs are always present. For profitability and long-term survival, Operational Excellence is an absolute essential.
Many planning and scheduling challenges exist in different businesses related to aviation. Within these challenges lie hidden great opportunities for state-of-the-art planning and scheduling tools to be applied. Aircraft components and engine MRO businesses have challenging production planning, scheduling and supply chain optimization requirements. Airline manpower planning requires sophisticated crew rostering techniques. Flight scheduling requires flexible and reliable tools to optimize aircraft usages. In general, idle times and operational costs for aircraft and engines are very expensive and even marginal idle time and operational cost reductions can translate into very large savings.
In Base Maintenance Scheduling the orderly removal, dispatch for repair or replacement of components is controlled via routine and ad-hoc task cards. A good understanding of work sequencing is important. Generation of task cards, especially ad-hoc task cards, using Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) technology can be slow and tedious. This compromises turnaround times and for this reason a better solution is needed.
Additionally, excellent communication on the progress and return of components is essential in order to determine an aircraft’s return into service. Manual planning techniques are not up to the task of determining these requirements in a complex, dynamic and constantly changing environment.
Aircraft Component Repair Workshops face specific planning challenges. Manual Task Card generation in Base Maintenance is not able to specify the required return time for each component. And, this may change if newly discovered work on the aircraft means that re-installation of the component will be delayed. Frequently every job is indicated as “urgent” but the reality dictates that, with finite capacity, some form of priority must prevail. And, this priority will change with time. Again, manual planning is not adequate for this level of complexity and change.
In Aero Engine MRO, unlike manufacturing production, the scope of work is unknown at the start of operations and it only emerges through inspection processes. The majority of engine repair facilities today rely on MRP II or ERP systems to store and process system data. These IT systems are not able to take into account a large set of constraints or demand and operations variables (unexpected demand behavior, uncertainty in manufacturing environment, finite manufacturing environment capacity, etc.) which are vital in today’s production and service environments.
In most aero engine MRO plants, the detailed scheduling process is essentially manual, relying on multiple planners preparing schedules for defined sections of the plant.
ICRON Technologies provides an Advanced Planning & Scheduling (APS), offering management the decision support they need. ICRON helps companies to produce realistic and functional schedules that can be applied to control the progress on the shop floor. ICRON platform implementation maximizes resource utilization, increases inventory turnover, improves customer service levels and improves internal communication and co-ordination with clients and suppliers. ICRON can be used to address a wide range of planning and scheduling problems in different planning environments. It can be operated in automatic (typically 60-100% of operations), semi-automatic or fully manual mode depending on the planning problem and client needs. ICRON runs complex and highly efficient Operations Research algorithms on its state-of-art, finite capacity planning and scheduling engine. Its graphical algorithm modeling tool enables fast and easy development of highly customized solutions to specific problems. Operation can be client/server based or more popularly, web based.
ICRON delivers a range of benefits, which will vary by use. However a number of consistent themes appear and are offered with any implementation:
- VISIBILITY – ICRON is a “finite capacity” scheduling system. This means it has the capability to project schedules forward in time, based on current data and anticipated future work. Through this, planners can identify forward resource conflicts and bottlenecks, determine possible solutions or raise the issues with management. Solving such problems ahead of time avoids crises and reduces costs.
- With no limit on the number of authorized users that can access an ICRON server, planning and feedback information is transferred in real-time to all stakeholders, from management to the workspace. This visibility allows individuals to see the effect of their own actions on the big picture and thus improve on their own work practices. This is one of the cornerstones of Six Sigma and LEAN operations. Linkage with clients and suppliers offers additional visibility in directions, smoothing real-time communications processes and improving external relationships.
- SUSTAINED OPTIMIZATION – Best operating practices are defined and captured in the Operations Research phase of an ICRON implementation. These are then applied across all operations. Fast re-scheduling capability ensures that any operation is held to, or very close to, optimum performance at all times.
- A planner’s workload is reduced through auto-scheduling, typically by up to 80% compared with manual techniques. This provides additional time for effective production control and plan implementation, as well as generation of scenario analyses, offering both current and future savings. This typically translates to a 5-15% reduction in total operating costs.
- BUSINESS PROCESS IMPROVEMENT (BPI) – Staying “ahead of the game” is key to sustained business success. This has never been more true than today. Fast solution times and auto-scheduling capability transform a planner’s role from data preparation to scenario analysis. By producing multiple offline schedules and selecting the most suitable one, a planner can identify better ways of working, better processes and thus practice sustained BPI.
ICRON gives decision makers increased control and visibility across the entire supply chain for an overview of the entire supply network so that areas of potential improvement can be identified and realized. Next to financial benefits such as:
70-90% reduction in planning cycle time;
15-30% improvement in forecast accuracy (collaboration and forecasting);
10-20% reduction in excess inventory (improved forecasting);
25-30% reduction in stock-outs (high customer service),
ICRON Platform gives companies in the Chemical industry many other benefits such as:
- Flexible Modeling of the facility extension without any consultancy requirements
- improving operational efficiency is to integrate, automate and streamline processes using a system that is specifically designed to plan and manage maintenance, repair and overhaul tasks in a safe and compliant manner,
- increase Engine/aircraft availability
- cost-effectively manage maintenance plans and reduce the cost of complex (aircraft) maintenance operations
- Schedule updates many times a day in very short time-frame
- High improvement in Operational Control
- Short repair turnaround
- Intelligent scheduling and rescheduling capabilities
- Optimized allocation of sequencing resources, reduced costs and increased revenues
- Integrated Planning with company-wide visibility
- Available capacity vs required capacity visualization
TEMPLATE with sybols/pictures:
- 100% FIT: ICRON is founded to provide a Scalable Integrated Platform capable of solving any type of planning issues today and adoptive to the future! Using a graphical development environment that does not need programming but just plug & play providing 100% customer fit.
- INTEGRATED PLANNING: Seamless Integration with ERP and other systems. ICRON’s platform creates whole chain awareness for everyone involved in making daily and vital supply chain decisions.
- DISTRIBUTED PLANNING: ICRON’s unified planning models enables companies to fully optimize every node of your supply chain by smoothly visualizing, optimizing and preventing the inter-departmental conflicts, while serving the ultimate (common) goal: “Helping companies to become and keep the cost leadership while collaboratively executing and over achieving companies commitments to its customers”.
- ANALYTIC PLANNING/SCENARIO PLANNING: Create what-if scenarios in generating the most optimal plans, while factoring customer priorities, costs, revenue, resources, and others.
- CONTINOUS OPTIMIZATION: ICRON helps you in creating the right planning scenarios and decision making but also in managing the disruptions during the execution of the planned.
- VISIBILITY and CONTROL: Enhanced Supply Chain Visibility improves Industry wide collaboration. This leading to cost reductions and improved customer responsiveness.