A while ago I was at a Human Factors seminar in Amsterdam. One of the discussions was about the famous Ipad from Apple. A lot of industries are already familiar with the use of tablet computers on the work floor, but is the MRO industry falling behind? Most of us present at the seminar agreed that the Ipad itself is a difficult tool to realize a paperless work floor. Mechanics have dirty hands and the risk of dropping an Ipad tablet computer were reasonable concerns from the audience. And I agree. Initiatives for a paperless work floor is already more an more implemented by the MRO industry, but I believe that the use of paper will not disappear for a long time.
I grew up without PC’s and I still like to print out reports to study the contents and make notes on the printed pages, instead of reading from a screen. Many other people I know from the aviation industry, that also grew up without PC’s, share the same thoughts. But for the younger generations that grew up with PC’s, Internet and cellphones, reading from screens and not using paper, is more then common. I believe that this generation can realize a 100% paperless working environment, Unitil that time, we still need to accept the use of paper on the work floor.
Back to the use of the tablet computers in the MRO industry. As I alread indicated before, tablet computers used by mechanics on the work floor is a dilemma. I do not think this will work out. But I do think the tablet computer could be used in the MRO industry for other purposes.
When I was still working as an Quality Manager at my previous employer, our internal auditors and myself had to work with a lot with paper audit checklists while performing audits on the work floor. At the end of a long day of auditing, I had to write up everything in an audit report on the PC. Findings or observation had to be included separately in our Corrective Action Request System. A very time consuming process, which many organizations in the MRO industry have to deal with. A portable computer device could overcome this time consuming process.
Holland Aviation Consultancy & Engineering is currently working on developing software to be used on Ipads or any other tablet device for assistance in auditing processes. Our software will be the guide for any auditor. Audit subjects will be presented as questions on the tablet screen. The auditor can answer the question by selecting the option “Acceptable”, “Unacceptable” or “Not Applicable”. If the answer selected by the auditor is “Unacceptable”, the auditor can classify the level of the finding or observation and add comments to the non-compliance. All data will be summarized in an automatically generated audit report, and Corrective Action Requests will be generated as easy as the audit report itself.
The software will initially be used for our own Auditing Services we provide to the MRO industry. I f the tool proofs to be very effective, we will provide the product for sale to the MRO Industry as well. Please let us know if you or your organization share the same interest, and stay informed on the developments of our future product.