At the highest level, aircraft maintenance software provides a means of tracking the maintenance and repair of aircraft while ensuring optimal use of available personnel. People and planes, however, are not the only resource that companies must manage with precision. There are also both direct and indirect materials, and misuse of these supplies can cause overconsumption by as much as 40 percent.
In this context, direct materials are the products directly used to repair and maintain aircraft: consumable items, such as air filters, and durables that fail due to wear and tear, such as rotors. Indirect materials are accessories needed to complete the work, including abrasives, adhesives and gloves. If we assert for sake of example that optimal usage of direct and indirect materials for a company is $1 billion dollars annually, then waste can be as high as $400 million.
That waste figure is from overconsumption alone. The actual cost can be much higher after factoring in other inefficiencies, such as the period between a mechanic identifying the need for a material and possessing it. Therefore, an inventory management system is an integral component of any aircraft maintenance software. The primary challenges to overcome include accountability, inventory availability and workflow efficiency, and barcode scanning is yielding excellent results in these arenas.