MRO Efficiency Watch – Custom Kitting

Aircraft parts warehouse

What Is Custom Kitting and How Can It Help You Meet Your Supply Chain Management Goals

As with most service industries, in aviation maintenance, repair and overhaul (MRO), time is of the essence. The scheduling and orchestration involved in meeting the demands of a commercial airline operation are multi-faceted and complex. Each individual aspect from ticketing and boarding to refueling and maintenance requires precision timing. In the realm of MRO, missing or incomplete repair and maintenance components can cause a plane to be grounded longer than scheduled. This may trigger a chain of events that can result in canceled flights, delayed schedules, damaged reputations and, ultimately, loss of business.

Custom kitting is one strategy that an MRO provider can use to keep this from happening. Kitting is the process of grouping together the individual components required for a specific repair or maintenance procedure to ensure all parts are in stock and readily available when the time comes to use them. Kits are often used in companies that practice lean enterprise methods, because they save time and money and ensure efficient task completion. According to a case study published by the Optimal Electronics Corporation, in association with the University of Texas, Austin’s Department of Mechanical Engineering, when implemented correctly, kitting can result in the following benefits:

  • Maximize value add time of operators
  • Easier operator training resulting in reduced training cost
  • Maximized machine utilization – no line stoppage due to part shortages or searching for parts
  • Reduced WIP (work-in-progress)
  • Reduced lead times
  • Reduced part damage due to excess handling

(Lean Kitting, A Case Study, p.1)

There are many ways to accomplish kitting. One method is to have technicians create the kits themselves. In MRO, however, this may not be a technician’s best use of time. Upon factoring in potential inventory issues and the travel distance to inventory storage facilities, this solution becomes problematic. To address this problem, distribution companies, like Kapco Global, are more and more often providing supply-side custom kitting services.

The success of a distributor’s business hinges upon its ability to deliver the correct part and part combinations under stringent deadlines. A good distributor has the skills, the training and the organizational structure to deliver kits that are free from error. Inventory handling time and storage space is also reduced, especially when MRO providers work with the distributor to create delivery schedules and quantity strategies for commonly used kits. And, in our case, because Kapco Global understands that the needs of each MRO are different and always in flux, our kitting services are fully customizable.

Time management is of paramount importance when it comes to aviation MRO. There is so much riding on its seamless operation that whenever an efficiency alternative presents itself that can streamline processes and cut operational expenditures, that alternative becomes an idea worth pursuing. To learn more about Kapco Global’s custom kitting options, contact us today.

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