Efficiency improvement aimed at enhancing customer service

 - December 31, 2008, 5:47 AM

StandardAero’s Los Angeles engine shop has been serving the business aviation community for 62 years. It was started by Cliff Garrett in 1946 as AiResearch Aviation on what was then known as Mine Field, later to become Los Angeles International Airport (LAX). The company built a solid reputation for maintenance, including retrofit programs for the Falcon 20, Hawker 125 series and 731 JetStar.

In 1985 it was renamed Garrett Aviation and subsequently acquired by Landmark Aviation in 2005. In 2007 Landmark Aviation’s MRO services, Associated Air Center, TSS Aviation and Standard Aero, itself founded in 1911, came together to form today’s StandardAero.

The StandardAero network, a Dubai Aerospace Enterprise (DAE) company, specializes in engine maintenance, repair and overhaul, and nose-to-tail services that include airframe, interior refurbishments and paint for business and general aviation, air transport and military aircraft.

When DAE took over the LAX facility the company decided to build on existing strengths but improve overall efficiency and productivity.

“Leveraging more than 20 years of lean transformation and redesign experience, StandardAero’s Enterprise Services group led a redesign of the Los Angeles facility,” Harvey Ticlo, StandardAero’s senior vice president of business aviation, told AIN.

“[Since we have focused] on process, ownership and job roles in the new shop, customers have experienced a 20-percent decrease in average turn-around time and shorter estimating and invoicing processes,” Ticlo said. “They also benefit from StandardAero’s repair versus replace philosophy of repairing parts instead of replacing them whenever possible, passing the cost savings on to the customer.”

Ticlo said the LAX engine shop went through a one-year, $5 million transformation. “We took a team of employees out of day-to-day operations and dedicated them to redesigning the business,” he said. “It is based on the cellular concept of a
one-piece flow to create a visual workplace that improves throughput and efficiency.”
To root the major change in the way the shop would operate, the employees were engaged in the process from the beginning. “Our employees were involved in the project from design to execution. They have full ownership of every process from beginning to end, including cleaning the area and maintaining their tools,” Ticlo said.
The redesigned engine shop is organized into four cells: a TPE331 cell; a TFE731 speed line cell; a TFE731 and CFE738 heavy maintenance cell; and a supply cell. According to Ticlo, the cells are organized teams of people, processes and tooling designed to support specific processes.

For example, the TFE731 speed line cell focuses exclusively on major periodic inspections (MPIs) and minor repair work of less than 30 hours, while the TFE731/ CFE738 heavy maintenance cell focuses on MPIs on the CFE738, core zone inspections (CZIs) on the TFE731, and all repairs on both engines.

“The cell design philosophy significantly reduces non-value added activities such as hunting for and gathering items to process units,” he said. “It also permits kitting of parts and components combined with tooling located at the point of use and allows technicians to focus on value-added activities with reduced effort and stress.

Streamlining information flow, customer service, engineering, supply chain and inspectors are all embedded as a part of each cell team.

“In addition to a highly efficient work environment we’ve got a lot of capacity, resources and expertise across the network,” Ticlo added. “When we have
an issue in any of our shops we go to central engineering, and within 24 hours we have an engineer working on the problem.” StandardAero’s system consists of more than 200 professional engineers specializing in such areas as metallurgy and structural engineering.

StandardAero Los Angeles maintains engine inspection, repair and overhaul capabilities for the Honeywell TFE731, TPE331 and CFE738, including a manufacturer-approved test cell for all three engines. The company maintains authorized service center agreements with Honeywell (engines), Dassault Falcon Jet, Embraer (Legacy 600) and Bombardier.

It is the only non-PAH (production approval holder) authorized Bombardier Service Center west of the Mississippi for all three product lines: the Global Express, Challenger and Learjet.

The 120,000-sq-ft facility includes a 60,000-sq-ft hangar with TFE731/CFE738 engine shop, TPE331 engine shop, avionics/ electrical shop and machine/ welding shop.

The FAR 145 and EASA repair station also works on Hawker Beechcraft (Hawkers), Gulfstream (GII/III/IV/V), Cessna Citations, Westwind and Astra, Lockheed JetStar, Rockwell Sabreliner, the 500 series Pratt & Whitney Canada PW series and Rolls-Royce Tay and Spey.

Of the company’s 155 total employees, 108 are A&P mechanics and eight are dedicated avionics/electrical technicians.

“Los Angeles is a tough location because of the high cost of operation, but it is also the gateway to the west. We get a lot of traffic drop-ins coming across the ocean,” Ticlo said. “On the airframe side we’ve invested a lot of money in the Falcon and Bombardier product lines, including the new 7X. On the engine side we have a long history of first-class service that we’ve made more efficient and productive.”

Ticlo said the company also operates mobile support teams based in Denver and Van Nuys and is looking to add a team in northern California. “When you look at our compatibility, capacity and location, I think we’re well situated for growth,” he said.