Major Modification Program Delivers Success with No Disruption in Service

Major Modification Program Delivers Success with No Disruption in Service

Situation at Hand

A large OEM had a short and urgent lead time to begin a major component retrofit program. An in-service abnormality in primary and secondary flight control actuators was identified, which required the airframe manufacturer to find a solution. Usually with a major modification program, components must be sent to the OEM for a repair modification, which could take at least thirty days. Having to send the components away puts the airline at risk of having to take airplanes out of service, leading to a significant loss in passenger revenue.

Problem to Solve

The OEM required assistance in providing the airline with consignment spare components so there was no disruption in the airline dispatch schedule/reliability. This program required parts planning that involved providing free-of-charge consignment spares (seed units). Many of these seed units had extensive lead times and the tracking of shipments of the seed units to world-wide operations was vital. Plus, the management of the inflow and outflow of the components under this retrofit program required establishing an intra-departmental infrastructure. Lastly, the project required an FAA-approved field service bulletin.

Approach and Solution

Consistent and diplomatic discussion were held with all the appropriate stakeholders including Director of Manufacturing, parts planners, and program managers. Free consignment spares were sent to the airline on a separate Purchase Order, so the airline would have replacement components in the hangar as they began to remove the units to be sent back to the OEM for repair. Close and timely management of the seed unit manufacturing process was critical to on-time completion of the units.

Additionally, strict component repair turnaround-time (TAT) performance was achieved by positioning competent repair personnel, who were ready to receive components to satisfy the service bulletin modification. Issues at the supply chain/shop, as well as the component assembly and test areas, were immediately resolved. Lastly, continuous communication with the world-wide jumbo jet community ensured that there was no disruption in the fleet dispatch schedule. The airline was able to keep all their aircraft in service, which prevented significant revenue loss.


100% of aircraft successfully modified…with no disruption in service and all seed units returned to the OEM

100% customer satisfaction…numerous compliments from overseas operators and airframe manufacturers

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