The aviation industry is one of the most regulated industries with ever-growing compliance requirements and safety standards. In the business of aviation maintenance, airlines are responsible for repairs but often rely on maintenance, repair, and overhaul (MRO) shops like STS Aviation Group. The shop floors of MRO companies must get the aviation equipment repairs done right and on time. Many MRO businesses we encounter are challenged because they rely on outdated, manual, or non-integrated MRO and accounting software systems. STS Aviation knew from the start that Acumatica Cloud ERP paired with the Clients First embedded MRO solution, ProMRO was the right fit for their global MRO locations and their other lines of business.
A Time for Change
STS Aviation Group (STS) provides aircraft technician staffing services, engineering and DER support service, aircraft component and supply chain management, and line maintenance services for on-the-ground aircraft. Since 1985 the company has more than quadrupled its size to $230 million in revenue with 500 employees. STS are leaders in the MRO industry because they are automating business processes with solutions like ProMRO Aviation. ProMRO Aviation enables STS to meet the ever-increasing needs of the extremely complex aerospace industry. The company operates in the U.S., UK, Canada, Mexico, and Ireland with over 40 locations and continues to grow!
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Lack of Integration - STS tried to use multiple applications to handle all of the various tasks which required manually typing information into each disconnected program. This duplicate data entry resulted in wasted time, added the element of human error, and hurt overall productivity. Quotes were created in one system, inventory was housed in another, and timekeeping required a third system. There was also a 4th software solution for checking tools in and out. Reporting was a nightmare and required exporting and importing data into spreadsheets.
The executive team knew they could be more efficient if all STS data were housed in one system. They set out to find a new solution but the options were not a good fit and other aviation-focused software was cost-prohibitive.
Expensive Options - There are alternatives out there, but most large ERP packages are designed for airlines and not the MRO industry,
“Not only do those large packages run in the multi-millions, but they also take $2 million to $6 million to implement.” Those airline applications typically only cover the front office." says Rob Wire, Vice President of Information Technology, STS Aviation
The Solution: A Winning Partnership with Clients First and STS Aviation with ProMRO for Aviation and Acumatica Cloud ERP
Luckily, Clients First already developed ProMRO software. With 20 years of experience in the aviation industry, they modified ProMRO to handle STS Aviation’s specific business automation requirements. Clients First worked closely with the STS team and completed an analysis of requirements and processes. STS Aviation needed a central check-in system so mechanics and engineers could clock in the various tasks they worked on in a day, a process that needed to be connected to a specific project, plane type, and invoice. The system needed to be flexible so mechanics could add information about non-routine items, and time spent could be allocated correctly to specific tasks. This is just one example of the many requirements addressed with the ProMRO Aviation solution integrated with Acumatica Cloud ERP.
“We implemented Acumatica, which was much more cost-effective and tailored it to our needs,” Wire says. "We were excited about Acumatica’s framework and robust API, and since we have written some custom software for line maintenance and engineering, we wanted to extend it to the ERP.”
Competitive Advantages for Future Growth
Shop Floor Efficiency with Kiosks and Barcodes - Mechanics and engineers became more efficient with ProMRO Aviation. The system reduced the number of trips walking back and forth from the shop to the planes. Mechanics, supervisors, and inspectors scan their badges at a Kiosk (or mobile app), which automatically displays tasks to complete, inspect and view upcoming projects. When a repair item is complete a notification is automatically sent to a supervisor, and once the supervisor notes it is correct, it automatically flows to the inspector and so on. Mechanics also use the Kiosk to check tools in and out and check a tool’s calibration. The system is integrated with Centrik for certification tracking and takes preventative measures if, for example, a mechanic who only works on Boeing Co. planes has been accidentally assigned to an Airbus. Additionally, the system tracks parts used against inventory.
“ProMRO Aviation works hand in hand with all Acumatica functions – AR, AP, Inventory, and with the project accounting, budgeting and control. We gained the ability to take a whole project from CRM to quoting to reusing project templates to modifying them right through to tracking the work and invoicing, all without any dual entry,” Wire adds. “We’re now highly efficient."
Scalability - Clients First is helping roll out ProMRO Aviation to the additional locations. The following key benefits will enable future growth:
- Acquired all-in-one, tightly integrated ERP system Acumatica Cloud ERP combined with ProMRO Aviation with maintenance, repair, and overhaul aviation functionality
- Gained real-time reporting with customizable dashboards
- Saved time, eliminated importing and exporting data
- Gained customized project templates, eliminated manual, error-prone data entry
- Gained critical business insight into billable hours and operations
- Significantly streamlined operational processes with integrated MRO software
"With ProMRO, we now have a powerful, highly efficient MRO application that can grow with us,” says Wire. “Anyone deploying it in aviation can gain a similar competitive edge.”
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About Clients First
Business software should increase productivity, improve profitability, and be easy for staff to use. Most of today’s ERP solutions are good at finance and have horizontal niches for manufacturing, maintenance, repair and overhaul for aviation and heavy equipment. This makes searching for a software solution more about what the implementation partner can do to help you get the most out of the system. That is why Clients First is not a software company, we are a business solutions and services company.
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