Global Aerospace Manufacturer

Empowers staff with fast access to critical information, saving USD36 million per year

Published on 25-Apr-2013

Global Aerospace Manufacturer

Aerospace & Defense

Big Data


A global aerospace manufacturer, known for its technological leadership and production efficiency, delivers a wide range of support services to customers worldwide.

Business need:
Improve operational efficiencies in targeted business areas by providing a unified search, discovery and navigation capability to provide fast access to information across the enterprise.

A unified access application, powered by IBM InfoSphere Data Explorer, enables 80,000 users to navigate huge volumes of information from a single, secure access point.

Placed 50 additional aircraft into service in year one, without a staffing increase; saved USD36 million/year on 24/7 aircraft-on-ground support; improved supply chain visibility, saving millions on critical parts deliveries.

Case Study

A global aerospace manufacturer, known for its technological leadership and production efficiency, also delivers a wide range of support services to customers worldwide. With a focus on improving operations and lowering costs, the company sought to optimize access to information across its enterprise, and in particular to increase the efficiency of targeted business areas, such as customer support services.

Getting aircraft back into service quickly
Any time a customer contractor or maintenance center requests help in resolving problems that keep aircraft on the ground, that’s when this aerospace manufacturer’s “war room” swings into action. Service teams work diligently to diagnosis and resolve problems quickly. However, the volume of information needed to support maintaining a modern aircraft throughout its lifetime can be overwhelming.

Technical information on how past problems have been diagnosed, as well as original equipment manufacturing fact sheets, related part information, and more, are stored in many different repositories. Adding to the complexity, there are literally tons of printed manuals, as well as essential structured and unstructured information residing in many different applications.

In addition to creating costly problems for the customer, any delays in getting an aircraft back into service are also expensive for the manufacturer. The time required to hunt down information can extend aircraft ground time and increase costs exponentially.

The manufacturer saw a clear benefit in simplifying the process of finding relevant information and leveraging available expertise for faster problem resolution. Improving search, discovery and navigation capabilities and providing technicians, support staff and engineers with fast access to all relevant information would help resolve escalated incidents and return aircraft to service as quickly as possible.

The ideal solution would integrate unstructured and structured data from different data sources and provide flexible search and navigation capabilities. Empowering support staff with access to expert knowledge would simplify collaboration and problem resolution. Eliminating reliance on manual processes and paper manuals would maximize efficiency and reduce costs.

Implementing a unified access technology
After a careful evaluation and discussion with several vendors, this global aerospace manufacturer chose IBM’s InfoSphere Data Explorer, a core component of IBM’s big data platform, to support its strategic information optimization initiative. Within one month, the company launched its unified access application, providing secure visibility to multiple data repositories through a web-based user interface powered by InfoSphere Data Explorer — which quickly became one of the company’s top used sites.

InfoSphere Data Explorer provides the capability to seamlessly integrate complex structured and unstructured data from all information repositories to streamline business processes. Paired with InfoSphere Data Explorer’s expertise location capabilities, support and maintenance staff can collaborate with experts across the organization. Today, almost 80,000 users worldwide, including engineers, customer service representatives, all internal support staff, knowledge workers and field personnel, as well as partners and suppliers have secure, authorized access to a wide range of information, from a single access point.

The manufacturer increased the efficiency of its support services immediately. Technicians are enabled to search and navigate an electronic records system, which replaces paper manuals and connects multiple different information sources, including secure access to shared file systems, a supplier portal, the corporate intranet, and complex systems, such as Microsoft SharePoint, SAP and Siebel CRM applications.

Flexible navigation capabilities deliver results
Users have a variety of ways to navigate through search results. They can browse topics through clustering, or drill down into maintenance areas or sources. Additionally, InfoSphere Data Explorer provides reports on the most popular search terms and results delivered to users so administrators can fine-tune search results.

Using structured data, such as part numbers, aircraft type, engine type and document type, and metadata data extracted from unstructured text, technicians can use faceted navigation to identify solutions quickly. Visibility into the supply chain also allows for quick access to needed parts. In addition, the InfoSphere Data Explorer-driven expert finder and escalation capabilities provide access to the company’s 5,000 partners, engineers and technical experts to identify the most qualified individuals to help solve a problem.

Streamlining access to huge volumes of data improves efficiency
Providing supply chain visibility reduced overall supply cycle time and helped save millions including costs associated with critical parts deliveries. Eliminating paper manuals used for some research saved USD1 million in paper costs in the first year. Easy access to all relevant information on any topic reduced call resolution time.

Most importantly, faster problem resolution enabled 50 additional aircraft to be placed into worldwide service during the first year, without increasing support staff. InfoSphere Data Explorer saves the company USD36 million per year in supporting the 24/7 aircraft-on-ground program.

Today this global aerospace manufacturer relies on InfoSphere Data Explorer’s search, discovery and navigation capabilities across its organization to reduce costs and improve performance with results that affect the company’s top and bottom lines.

For more information
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Products and services used

IBM products and services that were used in this case study.

InfoSphere Data Explorer

Legal Information

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