Tuesday 25th Oct 2016 - Logistics Manager

British Airways efficiency boost

Introduced by British Airways as part of an efficiency drive for servicing Boeing 747s and 777s, Cribmaster provides visibility for all maintenance, repair and operations stock – thousands of different items. Cardiff now services over 100 aircraft a year, up from 76 the previous year.

First proposed as part of a continuous improvement initiative, the system builds upon BuckHickman InOne’s barcode driven consignment stock management solution. The new system enables British Airways to drive efficiency savings through full control and traceability of all stock transactions.

The dedicated online inventory management system is hosted over a secure internet connection. The online deployment eliminated the cost and complexity normally associated with implementing such systems within a large blue chip organisation.

Phase two in the system’s development will involve the stores management team using the data collected from the software to construct project related tool kits and deliver them directly to the aircraft bay. This will eliminate walk and wait time to and from the central stores and ensure that all the items needed for a maintenance job are on hand.

Currently when an engineer requires an item from stores a hand held radio frequency reader scans three barcodes to collect data. The first barcode is scanned from the person’s identity badge, the second identifies the product being taken and finally the third identifies the project or aircraft maintenance bay.

This information is uploaded to Cribmaster in real time. The system records all transaction data, updates inventory levels and calculates reordering needs. When an item runs low or hits its reorder level the system generates a demand notification, which is then reviewed, approved and sent electronically to BuckHickman InOne. Reports produced by the system allow managers to analyse product usage by person, team and maintenance bay over a period of time or by aircraft.

The same procedure checks non-expendable items back into stores. This ensures that nothing has been left on or in any part of the aircraft before it is released, which is vital for safety.

Cribmaster also manages larger tooling, such as torque wrenches and power tools. The system keeps an audit trail of who used each tool and when and where. It also identifies and tracks which tools need reworking, replacing or calibrating.

By managing the stock more effectively, British Airways has already halved the amount of storage space needed for stocking maintenance, repair and operations items. This allows the organisation to stock more aircraft spare parts.

The system currently controls all the stock supplied by BuckHickman InOne, including consigned product, and is now being rolled out to include other suppliers. Cribmaster enables BuckHickman InOne and other suppliers to receive stock alerts and replenishment orders electronically, eliminating the need for manual data entry and allowing the supplier to be proactive in responding to low stock situations.

Phil Morgan, inventory and tooling group leader says: “We have already seen significant efficiency savings. Using this solution from BuckHickman InOne we can now see who is using what tools for each project. As a result people only take out items that they need rather than taking extra as their own spare stock.