West Star Aviation has implemented several initiatives to optimise efficiency and reduce turn times – including the roll out of custom-configured iPads. It is also expanding second shifts at its four full-service locations. These facilities are in East Alton, Illinois; Grand Junction, Colorado; Chattanooga, Tennessee; and Perryville, Missouri. So far, West Star’s second shift efforts have reduced turn times by as much as 25-30% in certain instances.
Meanwhile, the ‘Corridor Go’ programme will put custom-configured iPads in the hands of more than 600 technicians. West Star says the new technology will improve the scaling of the overall work process on the shop floor, leading to a simpler way of work.
The company distributed custom-configured iPads to technicians at its Perryville site in Autumn 2020, as part of a beta-test with Corridor Go. It says this testing revealed how useful an iPad could be to a technician beyond accessing Corridor Go.
The Grand Junction site finished distributing iPads recently and West Star is currently focusing on its Chattanooga and East Alton sites. It is aiming for company-wide implementation, including at applicable affiliate companies, by the end of May 2021.
Technical teams will be able to access the latest technical information, including specific vendor-issued apps (for example, Gogo, L5 Install) and OEM maintenance manuals. Technicians can also order parts directly from their iPads without having to leave the work area.
West Star believes the programme will have wide-ranging benefits for aircraft services, airframe maintenance, avionics installation/repair, NDT and window repair services.
The iPads provide access to proprietary systems, such as an internal communication channel and a new learning management system (LMS) for on-demand training. This type of training enables technicians to immediately access company-developed training, FAA-specific training and virtual maintenance initial training provided by partners, without technicians looking for a way to connect. The company added that the result is a technical team that is up to date with requirements from customers, partners and vendors.
“This substantial investment in technology is aimed at simplifying workflow wherever possible by providing a more digitally enabled work environment,” said Katie Johnson, vice president, human resources. “By providing hardware that provides quick access to technical data, training material and safety certification content in the hands of the technicians, we are continuing to empower our people to succeed.”
The LMS also captures West Star’s own technical experts performing certain tasks, and then creates a library for newer technicians to watch and reference. The company says this has been shown to accelerate their development and technical expertise.
“We are improving several aspects of our workflow process as a larger overall objective, resulting in the most skilled technicians providing the quickest service to our valued customers,” said Dave Krogman, general manager at the Grand Junction site.