IFS is making several announcements about new products at IFS World Conference this week. One of these is around two new SaaS solutions for fleet and line planning for the commercial aviation industry. As part of the IFS Maintenix portfolio, they consist of IFS Maintenix Fleet Planner and IFS Maintenix Line Planner. These are some of the first SaaS solutions that the Aerospace and Defence business unit has launched since its creation following the acquisition by IFS of MXI. They are the first two in a range of SaaS products IFS will release for the aerospace industry
IFS Maintenix Fleet Planner
This SaaS solution is available now. American Airlines assisted with the development of the solution and has implemented the solution as part of an early adopter program. The solution generates a more effective long range plan for heavy fleet maintenance. These plans can contain ”what if“ scenarios and users are then able to push the plans into production. As changes to schedules occur the plans can be revised without much of the time-consuming activity usually associated with them.
The solution was designed with the help of both large and small aircraft operators. It has gone through an initial testing phase. It has proven, over time, that it improves aircraft availability, check yield and hangar utilization. These are all key KPI’s for the industry. If the functionality is familiar to existing Maintenix users it should be. In 2009 it implemented a strategic long range planning feature that had similar features. What is different about this announcement? Enterprise Time spoke to Dan Matthews, CTO to find out.
The new solution is designed to offer commercial airlines the ability to plan fleet maintenance years in advance. As a SaaS application it is also available for use by companies that are using legacy applications that do not have the functionality. This is a clever move and means that as IFS adds more functional solutions those companies are more likely to consider a switch to the Maintenix solution. Importantly, this is not a port of the existing functionality but a completely new product designed and developed from the ground up. During the closing keynote on day 1, Scott Helmer, SVP, Aviation and Defense at IFS noted that the two new solutions made IFS: “the first end to end supplier to come to market to come to market with SaaS solutions specifically for commercial operators.”
IFS Maintenix Line Planner
The line planner solution is more short term. It is targetted at prioritizing maintenance schedules where resource constraints limit operations. It allows planners to maximise the use of their resources when faced with a lack of parts, labour or special tools. Like Fleet Planner the solution developed with the assistance of a major airline. In this case it was LATAM which operates more than 300 aircraft across Latin and South America.
Sebastian Acuto, Vice President of Maintenance and Engineering at LATAM commented: “The sheer speed and scale of how LATAM Airlines works required a solution that could be quickly implemented without any disruption to our business while at the same time bringing substantial efficiencies to our planning process. IFS Maintenix Line Planner not only saves time for our planners and improves collaboration, it also creates better plans with improved yield and operational flexibility.” While LATAM are live on the new product it will not become generally available until Q3 2018.
What does this mean
These are the first two in a range of SaaS applications that IFS intends to roll-out for the commercial airline industry. Where the defence industry will still require on-premise solutions there are significant advantages in terms of cost for commercial and private airlines to deploy SaaS solutions. IFS have leveraged the industry knowledge of MXI Technologies and their own cloud knowledge to create software that could help them maintain their market leading position.
The cloud offers cost savings and other efficiencies that on-premises solutions cannot offer. In bringing to market two planning solutions IFS will hope to win over airline companies with a lower TCO.