Kjell Skogberg, Manager, Production Support, Technical Operations for Finnair shares the experience of working with QOCO Systems to implement a digital tool management solution.

Finnair, one of the world’s oldest operating airlines, is the flag carrier and largest airline of Finland. With its subsidiaries Finnair dominates both domestic services and international traffic with services to Asia. The airline is one of the safest airlines in the world, having had no fatal or hull-loss accidents since 1963. Nineteen new Airbus A350 XWB aircraft are on order from Airbus, of which 16 have been delivered. In addition to the A350 XWB fleet, Finnair has also completed the delivery of seven new A321 aircraft. At the end of 2020, the fleet comprised more than 80 aircraft.

Finnair’s Technical Operations division is capable of managing the most challenging situations. Digitalization and new ways of working are also reflected in the work of the division, which is continuously improving operations. Finnair Technical Services offers line maintenance services for component repairs for Airbus aircraft types (A320, A330 and A350), Embraer 170/190 aircraft and ATR aircraft types in a range of component categories.

THE CHALLENGES THAT FINNAIR FACED

Finnair has two traditional warehouses and one automated one in their hangars which are used by technical operations. Airline mechanics use the warehouses to sign out tools and material. The need to work with a software solution provider came mainly from the complexity of the tool handling process for which Finnair wanted to find a cost-effective solution. For example, Finnair needed to know how to automate tool management processes in the warehouses of the technical operations. Finnair had a target to streamline the tool handling process and wanted to find a cost-effective way to automate the management of tool handling. Also, the previous tool handling program didn’t communicate with AMOS, Finnair’s MRO IT system.

FINDING AND SELECTING THE RIGHT SOLUTION

The initial requirement was to develop a solution that would enhance and extend the basic functionality of the existing MRO system for tool management. The MRO system would be used as the back-end system for common functions such as master data management, resource planning, purchasing, receiving, etc. Usability of the solution in the tool warehouses needed to match and exceed the usability of the previous software solution for finding, borrowing and returning, and tracking tools. In addition the solution needed to be extendable to fulfill future requirements already in the roadmap.

MROTools.io solution was developed using agile methodolgies to deliver value quickly and efficiently. The first version with key functionality for tool warehouses went live within six months from the project kick-off in June 2018. In parallel QOCO delivered the migration project to transfer tool data from multiple legacy systems to the MRO system.

Since go-live, each subsequent release of MROTools.io has extended and enhanced the functionality of the solution:

  • Defect reporting and management for production support resources; tools, equipment, vehicles, facilities, etc.;
  • API based integration to automated store system Agilon enabling seamless data exchange;
  • Mobile application for technicians/mechanics including tool handover functionality;
  • Kiosk-mode for MROTools.io enabling self-service for special tool stores in hangar;
  • And much more…

MROTools.io was designed to be offered as Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) solution from the start. Running the solution in AWS cloud ensures scalability, high availability and low operating costs allowing QOCO to deliver even more value for the customers.

A high-level roadmap was already in place at Finnair and it guided development activities from the start. With agile methodoligies requirements and specifications are drafted in small iterations, sprints. Finnair was familiar with QOCO’s way of developing / tailoring programs for an airline’s needs and had a good view and idea of what we needed for best support to our production. The solution was found in MROTools.io software designed by QOCO Systems.

HOW THE SOLUTION WORKS

The cooperation between QOCO and Finnair consists of a range of information system integrations. One of the key purchases was the MROTools.io management software which QOCO Systems customized for Finnair. It also enabled the creation of APIs (Application Programming Interfaces) for other tool management systems. Finnair’s expectations of QOCO were quite high because their expertise in the aviation industry and information systems associated with it was already known to the airline. Those expectations have been more than realized inasmuch as Finnair has received exactly what was ordered and expected.

The implementation of MROTools.io has significantly improved tool management processes at Finnair by giving an easy access for management and production personnel to follow up tool loan process and report possible defects in tools and GSE. Also, the loan history data is easy to find – a useful enhancement to safety and time saver (see below).

GAINS AND BENEFITS FROM THE NEW SOLUTION

Safety is the single most important factor in aviation. Safety is also the focus in the Finnair’s new tool handling solution – MROTools.io – which has gained them vast amounts of positive visibility among other airlines and the aviation industry in general. MROTools.io has significantly speeded up borrowing and returning tools from and to the warehouses so that mechanics get the right tools for what is needed. With MROTools.io Finnair mechanics can find tools really fast and can see, from their lending history, who has used the tool in question and what it has been used for. This is especially important to Finnair for safety reasons. On top of that, it is also possible to report and process tool defects in the solution.

The cooperation has brought concrete added value; e.g., by gaining increased positive visibility to Finnair. Finnair is now considered as a forerunner of digitalization in the field of aviation. That’s a really big deal.

The loan history data is a big improvement as is the capability to extend the program to every PC and mobile device. The defect reporting management is also excellent especially with the possibility to add pictures into reports.

FUTURE PLANS

Development of the MROTools.io solution is a continuous process. Each new release delivers new and enhanced functionality to streamline airline’s or MRO’s production support processes. Agile development is guided by customer requirements that QOCO is constantly refining with their current and future customers. MROTools.io solution enables airlines and MROs to embark on the digitalization journey by fast tracking the digital transformation of production support tasks. Complete aircraft maintenance digitalization will be easier to roll-out after tangible benefits have already been proven by introducing MROTools.io.

SUMMARY

Mobile devices are now actively used by technicians/mechanics at Finnair because MROTools.io delivers valuable information and functionality to all devices, that saves time. The new tools management solution has given Finnair production support flexibility with controlled tool handovers in hangars to minise work interruptions, self-service tool stores near production, automated store systems serving tools 24/7, mobile defect reporting and management. This has resulted in production efficiency; minimised waiting/queue times in tools stores, tool availability information accessible from any device as well as safety with full tool tracking and traceability features.

Having seen the improvements that the solution has helped Finnair to achieve, I can absolutely recommend the services of QOCO Systems to all aviation and MRO.

‍Author: Kjell Skogberg, Manager, Production Support, Technical Operations for Finnair

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