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White paper

Why Aerospace
and Defense
Maintenance Needs
Mobile MRO

Content
Forward position .................................................................................................... 1
A case in point.......................................................................................................... 4
Conclusion............................................................................................................... 5
About IFS .................................................................................................................. 6

Why Aerospace and Defense Maintenance Needs Mobile MRO

Why Aerospace and Defense


Maintenance Needs Mobile MRO
B y K e vi n D e a l
V i c e P r e s i d e n t o f A e ro s p a c e a n d D e f e n s e
IFS N o rth A m e ri c a

Aerospace and Defense (A&D) maintenance and sustainment do not take place in an
office, or any other stable environment for that matter. Yet most enterprise software
used to sustain A&D assets seems to have been designed under the assumption that
these activities occur in a controlled and predictable setting. Even when software
vendors take into account the need for mobile access to software used to maintain
and sustain assets in the field, they may not be taking into account the context
within which the software is used from headquarters to the front line.
As the number one enterprise asset management (EAM) software vendor to the
aerospace and defense industry, IFS sees a strong case for enhanced mobility solutions
for the war fighter. In this whitepaper, we will examine the different ways enterprise
software is used to sustain and support military assets. We will also examine the
different types of mobile access required in different settings, and how enterprise
software must evolve accordingly. Which settings require a mobile app, which require
support for tablets and which are best handled on traditional or ruggedized laptops?

Forward position
When EAM software is used in a depot repair environment, personnel using the
software in these settings require a full complement of enterprise suite functionality.
EAM at this level is not a repetitive data entry task. It requires MRO, fleet management, supply chain management, even human resources to manage qualifications,
compliance, configuration management and of course finances.
EAM and MRO software can also be used at a forward position, and in these
situations are usually provided through mobile servers, netbooks and tablets. In these
forward positions, EAM and MRO software must be all about line maintenance,
management and real time communication with supply squadrons, distribution and
convoy management and more.

Why Aerospace and Defense Maintenance Needs Mobile MRO

Once we get to the FOB, the requirement for mobility in EAM and MRO software
changes, and for obvious reasons. The attention of the individual warfighter is almost
entirely focused on his or her immediate surroundings rather than on a fully-featured
set of EAM functionality they may have at their disposal.
However, mobile interaction with the EAM or MRO software is critical. Data
related to what happens to the asset while it is being operated is critical to the support
chain. The extent to which it may have sustained damage or been exposed to heavy
duty cycles, performance issues in flight or while in useall must be recorded and
communicated with the entire support chain so that parts and technicians and reverse
logistics resources can be made available to keep the asset operational. Operations
must also have visibility of the condition of these assets in real time so they can assess
readiness, a critical factor in battlefield decision making. They need, business intelligence dashboards, spare part stock level analysis, technician staffing information and
other data necessary to ensure they can project the MRO and maintenance needs and
then marshal resources to meet those needs.
Soldiers in theatre do not need such deep functionality, however. The hostile
environment in which these soldiers operate require them to focus on only the
information required to make immediate decision and not superfluous data. They
need a decision support system to allow them to quickly solve problems in the field.
Their input into this software traditionally has been paper-based and therefore
prone to error.
Some data suggests that fault reporting from the front line on paper has an error
rejection rate in the area of 40 percent. Some enterprise software vendors accustomed
to providing software to military locations try to solve this by imposing functionallyrich solutions onto soldiers on the front line. This happens for a number of reasons.
Good-intending military IT staff may see implementing a wide-ranging solution as
a value add. However, what soldiers often need in these hostile environments is an
anticipatory depiction of the information that allows them to solve the problem
quickly. It needs to be efficient and elegant in design, although limited in functional
footprint.
From the standpoint of practicality and usability, EAM and MRO software for
the warfighter must be delivered through native apps for ruggedized handheld
devices. These apps must be developed for very specific purposes, eliminating extraneous functionality in favor of very simple and direct ways for the warfighter to get
data back into the support chain. These apps must also provide immediately relevant
critical data necessary for the completion of MRO tasks in the field.
In order for these apps to deliver the enhanced usability and practicality the soldier
needs on the front line, they must meet certain criteria:
These apps must give soldiers only the sections of functionality they need for what
they are doing. This is difficult to do if the software developer does not understand
the defense sector. In order to limit unnecessary functional footprint, the vendor
needs to know what is in fact truly necessary and critical for the decision maker.

Why Aerospace and Defense Maintenance Needs Mobile MRO

Offer the functionality in a form with which they are familiar. The average war
fighter today is comfortable with the mobile hand held form factor. It is easier
to recognize than it is to remember. The solder recognizes the navigational
conventions of the device and understands a mobile app, and similar functional
and navigational patterns need to carry over into apps that communicate with
EAM or MRO back at a depot repair environment.
Make the apps chemical, biological, radiological, and nuclear defense (CBRN)
friendly. That means the navigational elements must be large enough to be used
when wearing gloves, and they must be easy to see. The user interface must be
bold in appearance and focused on a simplistic presentation of the process being
facilitated.
The app itself, in its design, architecture and delivery model, must be agile and
flexible. It must be easy to create and evolve, and the soldier must have access to
a new or amended apps tailored for each campaign. This is in contrast to the
lifecycle of a more full-featured software product that might extend over 10 years
or more.
Security is also important. That is why asset data must reside not on the device but
on a back end server, with the app only offering a window to only the data required
by the individual warfighter. A cloud intermediary, used as a gateway to this data,
can also be used to cut off access the mobile device has to the back end applications
should it be lost.

IFS FLIGHT LOG


IFS Flight Log is part of the IFS Touch App series, and is currently
available on Microsoft and Android mobile phones. It is privately
hosted to reflect the requirements of the A&D Industry. It enables
key operational data to be recorded on smartphones and then
relayed back in real-time into the IFS Applications 8 ERP system. It
eliminates the need for paper records and lengthy keying-in processes by providing a full flight log of all events pertaining to any
vehicle during operations, including flight details, disruptions,
faults, crew associated with the flight, and pre- or post-flight
inspections. The data captured, which was often previously scattered in different silos, is instantly integrated into IFS Applications
8 to enhance the planning, delivery and monitoring of ongoing
maintenance activities.

Why Aerospace and Defense Maintenance Needs Mobile MRO

A case in point
IFS has been developing a number of these apps for specialized tasks performed in
the field, including the IFS Flight Log app -- an extension of a full enterprise application for aviation MRO. Rather than a simple point solution that replaces a printed
flight log, this application will tie the flight log into all of the parties and systems
required to sustain aviation assets in both commercial and military settings.
The flight log, of course, is the authoritative record of what transpires during a
flight, and is therefore an indispensable source of information for an organization
charged with aviation MRO or sustainment. The value of a mobile flight log app is
also obvious, allowing information to be recorded as the flight occurs. There are of
course simple downloadable flight log tools aimed at the private aviator, as well as
commercial solutions that run on designated handheld devices. Rather than a simple
point solution that replaces a printed flight log, IFS Flight Log ties the flight log into
all of the parties and systems required to sustain aviation assets in both commercial
and military settings. It serves as an effective window for flight line operators to
reach back into the back office, and for back office personnel to handle reverse
logistics, diagnostics and spare parts management.
The utility of this approach is fairly obvious. Any time you have a geographically
separated maintainer and operator, that maintainer will need access to fault data on
weapons systems in the field. You want to be able to make a decision about whether
to repair or replace a given component immediately, or whether the repair can be
delayed. Is the craft still airworthy or not? Lack of real time access to this datain
either direction -- can be a flight safety issue. Must the operator pull the asset from
duty until the problem is resolved? Or can they simply order the requisite part and
then repair the asset when the part comes in? Or perhaps that line operator, using
the app, can determine while the problem is in fact a safety flight issue, there are
two of the requisite parts in stock, and can simply run one out to the asset for
immediate installation.
IFS Flight Log is designed for the aviation space, and is usable by commercial
aviation companies, performance based logistics (PBL) contractors and anyone
sustaining aviation assets. But the app is easily adaptable to any asset management
or MRO setting including ground vehicles, weapons systems and more.
In a PBL or contractor logistics support (CLS) setting, you are gathering that
information through the app not only for decision support, but to meet contractual
demands. In a commercial environment, the app would be used to capture data for
preventive maintenance purposes. Regardless of the asset or setting, capital intensive
assets where the line operator is geographically removed from the sustainment effort
can benefit from this low profile window into the back office from the tip of the
spear.

Why Aerospace and Defense Maintenance Needs Mobile MRO

At IFS, we feel our approach to front line mobility is unique. There are very specialized devices from various vendors that are tailored to the needs of ground maintenance crewsbut they tend to be integrated with very specific software tools that
are limited in scope. We feel IFS Flight Log and other, forthcoming, apps are taking
advantage of the next step in communications with smartphones by extending the
investment in comprehensive back office EAM and MRO out to the line operator in
a way that is clearly beneficial.
For users of IFS Applications, the IFS Flight Log app can be downloaded off the
Android store, replacing the paper logs and immediately and opening up the required
functionality of IFS Applications to the front line operator.

Conclusion
Consider, for example, a reconnaissance vehicle in Afghanistan. That line operator
can, using IFS Flight Log, record any damage, a failure of digital radio assets or
issues with vehicle engine performance, and this information can be instantly
relayed back to the support chain and command.
The ease of use and increased visibility provided by mobile apps such as IFS
Flight Log will significantly improve efficiency of military and others supporting
military and aviation assets, improve the accuracy of data captured, and dramatically
simplify what is traditionally a slow, paper-based process. Longer term, with the
development and use of apps, the military will no longer need to take their IT infrastructure with them on deployments. Soldiers will be using specialized apps to share
immediate operational updates with the support chainall immediately integrated
into the central asset management solution.

Kevin Deal is vice president for aerospace and defense at IFS North America. Previously, he
has held management positions at Broadvision, Cincom, and The Battelle Memorial Institute.
Deal holds a Master of Science in Administration from Central Michigan University and a
Bachelor degree in Mechanical Engineering from Wright State University.

ABOUT IFS
IFS is a globally recognized leader in developing and delivering
business software for enterprise resource planning (ERP), enterprise
asset management (EAM) and enterprise service management (ESM).
IFS brings customers in targeted sectors closer to their business,
helps them be more agile and enables them to profit from change.
IFS is a public company (XSTO: IFS) that was founded in 1983 and
currently has over 2,600 employees. IFS supports more than 2,200
customers worldwide from local offices and through partners in more
than 60 countries.
For more information about IFS, visit www.IFSWORLD.com

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