Evolution of MRO Services in the Asia-Pacific Post-Pandemic
Gonzalo Salazar, Vice president, Triumph Group
In conversation with Prisila, Correspondent, Asia Business Outlook Magazine. Gonzalo discusses the shifts in post-pandemic Asia-Pacific MRO demand and the impact of technology on advancing practices, including digitalization's role during the pandemic.
Shifts in Asia-Pacific MRO Services Demand Post-Pandemic: Factors and Trends
A significant transformation has taken place within the Maintenance, Repair, and Overhaul (MRO) sector, catching many off-guard with its sudden surge. This unexpected shift can be attributed to several factors that have collectively driven this change. Notably, a swift return of numerous aircraft to active service has played a pivotal role. Aircraft that were initially slated for retirement were retained, defying earlier predictions. A prime example is the Airbus A380, which multiple operators had declared obsolete, only to witness its revival as several airlines reintegrate it into their fleets. This trend is mirrored in other aircraft categories, such as the A320 COs and older variants of the 737. The consequential demand for MRO services has surged as a result. The industry has experienced an unexpected influx of work due to this renewed focus on aircraft retention and revitalization. This unexpected surge has not only defied forecasts but has also highlighted the remarkable resilience of the aviation sector and its capacity to adapt to evolving circumstances.
Transformative Role of Digitalization and Technology in Advancing Asia Pacific MRO Practices in the context of Pandemics
The pandemic prompted heightened agility and adaptability in people. In aviation's traditional MRO sector, technological advancement is slower than in IT giants like Apple. iPhones debut annually, while planes evolve every decade or longer. Nonetheless, MRO is embracing digital tools for process enhancement, faster inspections, and reduced labor. Drones replace manual checks, tablets digitize paper processes, and manuals transition to digital formats. Although progress is evident, MRO is yet to match technology-intensive sectors. Big data management remains nascent in MRO, underscoring substantial untapped potential. The trajectory is positive, but MRO's tech transformation has a way to go.
Supply Chain Disruptions Reshape Asian MRO Operations and Drive Resilience Efforts
The supply chain challenge looms large, evident from the considerable influx of pending tasks burdening Maintenance, Repair, and Operations (MROs). Their foremost concern resides in material availability – be it raw resources or general spare components. Scarce materials significantly impede the turnaround time, a critical metric. Swift aircraft restoration upon customer return is imperative, as every idle hour translates to operator expenditure. Simultaneously, logistics firms grapple with their own influx of tasks, necessitating adept management. OEMs, the original manufacturers, compound the predicament by safeguarding their repair parts. Unlike earlier times when third-party manufacturers thrived, now the aftermarket is an arena OEMs meticulously guard. This protective stance adds intricacies, diminishing the role of third parties. The resultant disruption in the supply chain reverberates across the industry.
MRO is embracing digital tools for process enhancement, faster inspections, and reduced labor. Drones replace manual checks, tablets digitize paper processes, and manuals transition to digital formats
Adapting the MRO Workforce: Essential Skills and Initiatives for Post-Pandemic Industry Evolution
In the realm of sustainable practices, transportation emerges as a pivotal concern, particularly within Maintenance, Repair, and Operations (MRO). The conventional practice of shipping parts to and fro across regions contributes to environmental strain, high costs, and reliance on non-sustainable materials and chemicals. This landscape is gradually shifting. Industries are adopting eco-conscious methods, such as renewable energy integration in factory operations, though challenges persist.
Sustainability's commendable pursuit comes at a cost, posing a dilemma. While striving for sustainability incurs expenses, it aligns with progressive values. Material sourcing becomes a scrutiny point – avoiding conflict zones and prioritizing suppliers adhering to ethical practices safeguards human dignity. The essence of sustainability intertwines with responsible supplier choices, a complex yet essential aspect.
A synergy emerges between sustainability and insourcing – the drive to accomplish tasks in-house. This approach fosters quality control, aligning processes with sustainability goals. The strategy mitigates logistical disruptions and collaborates with local suppliers, reducing environmental stressors and bolstering the supply chain's resilience.
In essence, the trajectory of sustainability intertwines with intricate choices involving transportation, ethical material sourcing, insourcing, and local collaboration. While the road is demanding, it ultimately charts a course towards equilibrium between responsible practices and operational viability, ushering a greener and ethically conscious MRO landscape.
Navigating New Realities: Resilience and Innovation Propel Asia's MRO Companies to Thrive in the Post-COVID Era
In the aftermath of COVID-19, businesses have witnessed significant shifts, prompting them to adopt novel strategies. Notably, collaborations and partnerships have emerged as a prevailing trend across various sectors. Companies, including former rivals, are joining forces to leverage their respective strengths, resulting in enhanced competitiveness and resilience. This approach allows them to focus on their core proficiencies while benefiting from complementary expertise, ultimately fostering mutual growth and innovation.
Simultaneously, the pandemic has driven companies to reevaluate their capabilities and future prospects. Many have embarked on journeys of capability development, transitioning from older generation offerings to cutting-edge solutions. This transformation can occur through partnerships or internal efforts. By investing in upskilling, R&D, and advanced technologies, businesses aim to bolster their value propositions to customers, remaining agile in a rapidly evolving landscape.
"The pandemic has driven companies to reevaluate their capabilities and future prospects"
The adoption of digital technologies and industry 4.0 practices impacted the efficiency and the competitiveness of MRO activities in APAC after COVID-19
The impact of digitalization and digital practices on businesses has been an ongoing process, rather than an immediate transformation. The pandemic acted as a catalyst, hastening the adoption of technology-driven solutions and more efficient processes. Although new technologies and digitization have enhanced company operations, the journey is far from complete. Implementing changes in established operations, especially when reliant on specific digital platforms, requires time and significant investment. Despite the challenges, the pandemic accelerated the shift towards digital practices, even though many companies faced financial constraints. This ongoing evolution reflects a positive direction, yet acknowledges the complexity of integrating digital strategies into the core of business operations.
Conclusion: The MRO market in Asia has transitioned from tough times to a thriving phase, with a surge in demand. However, the newfound growth presents challenges in recruiting skilled workforce due to pandemic-induced departures. Despite this hurdle, the MRO sector holds a promising future, buoyed by sustained demand, evolving aircraft landscape, and long-term potential.