| French group AKKA Technologies took advantage of the MRO Europe exhibition in London to present us with AKKAtalogue, an online solution dedicated to aircraft modifications and upgrades. Drawing its inspiration from e-commerce websites, this platform wants to make the decision-making process much easier for lessors and operators, but not just that, as Pierre-Yves Lazies and David Ballandras, respectively, Vice President Aircraft Support & Operations and Aircraft Leasing Account Manager at AKKA technologies explained to us.
The AKKAtalogue is displayed as a stripped-down and simple to use interface (click here to see a preview!), with specific accesses for lessors, airlines and even OEM. As David Ballandras explained to us, the tool presents around a hundred services across the three main families proposed by the Aircraft Support & Operations branch, which are Aircraft Modifications, Airworthiness & Technical Services and Flight Ops. For the first family, AKKAtalogue presents a host of off-the-shelf modifications. "For the avionics part, we have very simple modifications such as VHF, HF and Selcal, as well as more complex modification, such as to ensure that the ADS-B Out complies with the requirements which will come into force in January", he says.
He continues with a long list of cabin modifications, some of which are particularly complex as they affect major interior monuments (galleys, lavatories, etc.), both for the A320 family and the A330. There are also modification related to paintwork, from simple markings to complete external liveries, cargo conversion for ATRs and the installation of equipment such as digital tablet supports for EFB (13 aircraft platforms covered on Airbus, Boeing, ATR, Embraer and so on). "Each time, the STC, the Engineering and the kits are made up of off-the-shelf solution", he specifies. "But we also have a part dedicated to minor modifications, such as for seat renumbering", he adds.
The second family covers the services which correspond to the CAMO part, with boroscope inspections on APUs and engines, and airframe inspections. Finally, the third large product family presented by the AKKAtalogue is related to operations support, and the Regulation Management, flight data analysis, the AKKA Operation Control Center (AOCC) and Documentation Management in particular. These are more the services that may also interest operators.
"The first two families are particularly intended for leasing companies who want prices quickly, and that's the whole advantage of this catalogue", emphasises David Ballandras who specifies that this quick information access is also a good starting point for discussions between the lessor and the lessee for modifications. He continues, "for example, a leasing company may decide to modify the numbers of their seats. They order their modification by entering the aircraft type and the MSNs and we automatically provide information on the Lead Time and the prices. Of course, certain modifications requires much more information when major interior monuments are involved, but the logic is the same as when you buy something from an e-commerce site".
The other dimensions of the AKKAtalogue platform
But the digital platform also provides a host of other features, even if it doesn't go quite as far as actual ordering, which is held back by the validation of the offers given the audits related to the EN9001 standard, as Pierre-Yves Lazies explained to us. "The intermediate step is to offer the catalogue in a platform which will also integrate our project management tool, which enables the customer to see the progress of the Engineering in real time on their dashboard, whether on a desktop or a smartphone", he tells us.
The customer dashboard may then be presented with a Gantt diagram, monitoring all the deliverables, the target date and the degree of progress attached to the scheduling. "But in-house this also lets us see where we are according to the number of hours consumed, get a plan for completion and anticipate any obstacles for the whole engineering package part. We are entering a level of detail which enables us to anticipate any sticking points", says a happy Pierre-Yves Lazies.
He notes that this is also true for parts. "We also connect MRP (Material Requirements Planning) inputs to our project management application, which cover all our purchases, enabling us to monitor the supply chain and to launch a plan B if there is any delay. And thanks to our warehouse management system, the customer is also informed as soon as the part is received, picked up and dispatched". "It's really comprehensive as certain modification kits can feature up to 4000 parts", he concludes.