e-Maintenance at JAL

Japan Airlines keeps 'em flying with solution to give service staff real-time access to latest maintenance information

Burlington, MA  October 30, 2002  Japan Airlines (JAL) is creating an e-maintenance solution based on an application from software company Enigma to deliver critical repair and service information to the company's 5,000 engineers and mechanics on a 24/7 basis.

JAL will deploy the solution, based on Enigma's 3C Version 8 technology, globally via the Web, with CD-ROM as a backup. The system is intended to provide the technical and graphical information necessary for technicians to keep the JAL fleet of 150 Boeing aircraft in the air.

Enigma's 3C Platform allows original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) or user companies to bundle all the necessary maintenance information for a particular component or piece of equipment into a single application. The system enables service staff to search electronic databases for necessary maintenance information, including through wireless devices, rather than having to wade through multiple paper manuals, bulletins and catalogs. Enigma released version 8 of the platform in August.

Deployed in conjunction with local support partner Altech, JAL's e-maintenance solution will provide support for five different models of Boeing aircraft by combining the original manufacturer's maintenance recommendations with new content developed by JAL, updated service alerts and the shared knowledge and best practices of JAL's mechanics.

"With an average of more than 12,000 commercial passenger and cargo flights a month, we are constantly looking for ways to make sure we maximize uptime for every one of our aircraft safely," said Akira Furuta, director at JAL. "This [e-maintenance] program is an important step in boosting the overall reliability and efficiency of our maintenance and service organization and improving the uptime for a critical part of our fleet."

JAL's e-maintenance solution will take advantage of the Enigma platform's Java 2 Enterprise Edition (J2EE) n-tier based architecture, which was designed to integrate with other front- and backend systems. In this application, Enigma will be pulling content directly from SAP and Documentum systems and integrating the information to provide real time access to dynamic corporate resources.

The Enigma-SAP integration will provide critical planning, material management and work card generation functionality, while the Enigma-Documentum integration will maintain customer-originated changes and engineering order workflow and will be used for merging JAL and Boeing information.

"Traditionally, airplane maintenance involves huge volumes of manuals and loose service bulletins that a mechanic wades through for each repair or service job," said Jonathan Yaron, CEO of Enigma. "In a time when the airline industry is facing significant financial pressure, the more agile airlines are re-examining 'Old World' business practices and turning to new technologies to drive costs down, streamline regulatory compliance and improve equipment availability. This project with JAL was designed not only to provide support for the initial deployment of 150 aircraft but also to scale with JAL's anticipated growth."

For more information on solutions for the service and support chain, see "In the Field and All Grown Up," the Net Best Thing column in the June/July 2002 of iSource Business.

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