Critical Chain Project Management & MRO - How a new project management approach can help reduce Turn Around Time?

Aircrafts, civil or military ones, undergo overhauls on a periodic basis to a lesser or greater extent, according to their age or utilization. The reduction of turnaround times is key for success, for airline companies as well as for armies or aviation safety units.

Implementation of a new project management approach called "Critical Chain" proved to be relevent in many cases.

Maintenance, Repair and Overhaul is managed like a project

 

Interventions which require in-depth visits follow a process of disassembly, checking, tests, replacement, assembly and validation realized and levelled in function of parts accessibility. It can be described as a project, with various phases and a gantt chart, and then managed as any other project.

But during inspections, defects, fatigue or deterioration may be observed, requiring more work than initially planned.

And here Critical Chain Project Management differs from traditional Critical Path Project Management since it supports Murphy strikes and risks, ensuring (under some conditions) on-Time delivery.

This advantage derives from the planning method, which mutualizes the security margins to the benefit of the whole project, and from specific times allocated to take into account potential findings or Additionnal Service Requests which are unplanned tasks. these additional buffers are estimated according to statistics on other similar maintenance cases, the age and knowledge of equipments. 

Tested on French Army's Transall

The AIA (Atelier industriel aéronautique) of Clermont-Ferrand, one of the four maintenance shopfloors of Service Industriel Aéronautique (SIAé), placed under the authority of the Chief of Staff and in charge of the MRO of the aircrafts, implemented Critical Chain Project Management with success on the C160 Transall.

The results were published in the magazine MESURES n° 818 d’octobre 2009 and presented by the leaders of the project during a conference in Maison des Mines (Paris) in november 2013 : 

  • TAT was reduced by 15%
  • The immobilization delay passed from 150 to less than 100 days
  • the queue line droped from 6 à 3 aircrafts waiting
  • The OTD increased to 87%
  • More than 1000 hours of additionnal flight per year (and so reduction of the needs of high-capacity aircrafts renting)
  • Throughput in the shopfloors increased by 15% with 13% resource less
  • Equal quality
  • one slot was freed up.
  • Management and work quality increased

Presentation of the case is available on Youtube.

US Marine Corps

Military forces understand the need to reduce Turnaround times in MRO in order to increade the availibility of their equipments. The Maintenance Center for the Marine Corps Logistics Base, in Albany,  Georgia, launched a programme combining Critical Chain Project Management and Lean in 2001. Implementation was focused on a panel of special vehicles and the case was presented during a conference and video reports available online.

 

Civil MRO actors too : Lufthansa

Lufthansa technik, MRO service provider of the german airline company, published in its magazine a return of experience after implementing CCPM in Frankfurt in July/August 2013. Critical Chain Project Management was refered to as a "magic spell" enabling to adress challenges such as complex, difficult and miscellenous projects quickly.

The implementation and results were presented during a conference in 2011, when the project was still in process. The speaker reported a reduction of Complicated intervention lead times by 15% to 20%. The presentation is available on the Youtube channel of our partner Realization.

Marris Consulting and Embraer Executive Jets

We are familiar with this subject because we have implemented Critical Chain in many different contexts. For instance, we helped Embraer Executive Jets at the Bourget Airport and thanks to this approach, we reduced the Turnaround Time By 40%, almost every Delivery delays were eliminated and productivity increased bu 13%. Moreover, Operations Management was notoriously simplified.

"Executive Jets" not only refers to the aircrafts used by extremely wealthy clients but also to "air ambulances" used for medical repatriation. In such cases, we understand the need for low Turnaround Times and increases in aircrafts availibility.

Beyond Aeronautics

Because of the cost of aircraft immobilisations, aeronautics was a pioneer in the use of Critical Chain Project Management & Lean applied to MRO. But these methodologies are relevent in any kind of MRO to enhance service quality and increase the equipment availability. Critical Chain can be used for railway equipment, buses or industrial facilities during visits machines relocations.

For further information 

We feed several medias and returns of experience, follow us. We propose training sessions on Critical Chain Project Management. These trainings can be customized for an intra company session. Finally, Philip Marris proposes a flash diagnosis (2 days) to identify the improvement obstacles within your organization, or to confirm your intuition with the point of view of an expert.

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