The aeronautics market has strongly evolved during the last few years; those evolutions have increased the complexity of main aircraft constructors and OEMs orders fulfilled by service divisions. Our projects proved that the ‘Lean approach, driven by business vision, is an efficient way of structuring future transformations.

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Service market transformation


Source : Airbus GMF 2014-2033

Since the financial crises of 2008, market expectations on offers of Service have strongly changed. The evolution of the traffic will, besides the activity increase, review the distribution between advanced and emergent countries. While traffic will double in the following 15 years, the weight of emergent countries will go from 58% to 72%.

The need of free-cash-flow and the unstable economics perspectives made aeronautics operators wary about capital investment and risk share. The offer existed already through FHS (Flight Hour Services) or General Maintenance Agreement (GMA) but the crisis has strongly accelerated and developed them while increasing their complexity.

Service offers are more complex to fulfill

A Service divisions geographical footprint is heterogeneous: from a unique and centralized office managing 24/7 Aircraft-On-Ground services through to a regional and autonomous offices managing a wide range of offers. The transformation from a centralized to a regional organization is usually done in a step-by-step approach. Operational risks are mainly on the transition phase as orders fulfillment might be managed by regional and central teams in serialized processes – the risks on the interfaces are very strong: commercial practices specificities, priority management, cultural and language gaps, tools integration, time zones…

A Service division should also fulfill very heterogeneous orders coming though the same focal point:

  • Simple: Spare Part order with available inventory that will be managed by a unique Order Administrator in some minutes.
  • Complex: Replacement of an equipment that might be in FHS contract for which an Upgrade or Supersession might be applied. To fulfill this request, up to 4 actors might support: Orders Administration, Contract Manager, Repair Management, Spares Engineering). The fulfillment of this order could take several days.

The achievement of Service Level Agreements requires a permanent arbitration on the sequence to fulfill orders by each actor.

Service divisions are usually supported by execution tools (transactional) – even workflow management tools – but they rarely benefit of decision making tools that support a robust process to arbitrate the sequence to fulfill orders. The simple method of FIFO is not enough to maintain the expected SLA.

Lean approach is an efficient way to structure future transformations

The main impact for Customer remains the delay. Analysis done on former projects shows that the withdrawal time is usually superior to 95% of the total Lead-Time. Lean approach and main tools will concentrate on the Customer Lead-Time reduction: end-to-end process approach (Value Stream Mapping (VSM), statistical analysis, …). Those analysis, besides being customer-oriented, will organize process through homogeneous in terms of Lead-Time. This will avoid that “complex” orders will delay “simple” ones.

Also, end-to-end process view will allow actors of the same process to better communicate. VSM workshops are valuable moments of exchange between actors that might be in different positions on the organization chart but fulfilling the same customer request. 
 Another main Lean pillar remains the Visual Management. Teams might have performant transactional tools but be very poor on decision making ones. The principle of multi-skills open-spaces and visual, real-time, performance boards (ex. remaining orders, delays, etc…) are simple tools to manage multi-skills teams priorities and on the same pace. Finally, employees’ empowerment and continuous improvement culture is key for sustainable changes that should guarantee performance in a constant evolutions environment.

Freelog has developed an offer to cover these transformation challenges

Freelog background brings an operational and pragmatic approach with a strong knowledge of our Customers business stakes – some of our projects illustrates those topics:

We also have reinforced our team with Six-Sigma Master Black-Belts and Black-Belts in order to better integrate Six-Sigma tools in our approaches.

Finally, our offices footprint (Sao Paulo, Paris, Toulouse, Casablanca, Hong Kong and Sydney) was built to support our Customers in their transformation to global and more performant operations. 


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 Gonzalo is the Senior Manager at the Toulouse office. He forged himself in a pragmatic approach on solutions design while ensuring a strong rigor on the methodology. Gonzalo lead projects from Supply Chain network strategy to operations performance improvement with a major skill on planning and forecasting subjects on maintenance Supply Chains and in operations (production and logistics). He lead the RM-LogTM approach in Freelog.