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The holidays are traditionally a time when people fly home to gather with family – or sometimes travel to exotic locales to escape the winter weather. While traveling, airline customers hope for clear skies, careful luggage handlers, and on-time flights.

To keep aircraft flying safely and provide excellent customer service, many airlines are relying on new predictive analytics technology. Savvy operators use equipment health monitoring solutions to analyze huge volumes of data. With this insight, airlines can pinpoint maintenance requirements, predict likely failures, and proactively repair or replace parts – before problems delay or cancel a fully booked flight of holiday travelers.

But how do companies in the aerospace and defense industry – whether they are OEMs, operators, or third-party service providers – decide that equipment health monitoring and predictive maintenance is a valuable investment for their business? What is the best way to get started deploying these solutions?

Launching a new initiative with confidence

At SAP, we often work with A&D companies to uncover new opportunities to use equipment health monitoring technologies to reduce disruptions, improve customer satisfaction, and improve cash flow. We offer a variety of exploratory and business planning services that can help organizations understand the potential value of analytics solutions, create a strategy for deploying technologies in a cost-effective way, and implement best practices that help maximize business benefits.

A typical first step is for A&D companies to explore opportunities through a design thinking approach. Design thinking is a mindset that we use to solve problems and unlock potential. Backed by a suite of tools, our design thinking approach helps us focus on understanding the human side of things – considering not only what our technology is but also what that technology means to our customers and their customers. With design thinking, we put ourselves in the shoes of customers to create new value for all stakeholders.

Next, we engage the SAP Value Engineering methodology to help A&D companies assess the likely value of deploying an equipment health monitoring solution. SAP Value Engineering facilitates thought leadership, benchmarking, and best practice surveys that diagnose business performance. The group also develops high-impact recommendations to help customers improve current performance and uncover business value potential in a timely, and cost-efficient manner.

SAP Value Engineering consultants input real customer data into projections and scenarios to determine how the solution could contribute value to the organization or help the company reach its business goals. Tools in the value engineering toolbox include:

  • Collaborative value assessment – Identify and prioritize target opportunities; develop high level cost estimates, model solutions, and value proposition

  • Business case - Comprehensive and highly structured methodologies that capture both the quantifiable and unquantifiable characteristics of a proposed project

Once profitable scenarios are clearly identified, we work with the customer to develop a highly detailed business case that specifies how and where the solution should be deployed and rolled out, the areas of the business where it can be used (often in stages across the enterprise), and the anticipated benefits of the deployment over time. Once the project is approved and funded, the business case can serve as a foundation for project planning and management.

Identifying the benefits of new insight

The deployment of equipment health monitoring and predictive analytics technologies promises to deliver quantifiable business benefits to A&D companies. For example, imagine that a flight from Newark to Chicago experiences an intermittent hydraulic fault code. The equipment health monitoring solution sends a message to the ground station, where maintenance control personnel investigate details of the fault history, both for that aircraft and the entire fleet.

After identifying the likely problem, maintenance control orders the shipment of a pressure transmitter to the airline’s operations in Chicago. When the aircraft lands, the ground crew replaces the pressure transmitter during the scheduled cleaning and refueling time. The next leg of the flight takes off as scheduled, without delay.

As shown in this example, the business benefits of reduced cost, enhanced customer satisfaction, and increased profitability are significant. According to SAP Benchmarking, operators who track and analyze standard equipment KPIs typically reduce maintenance costs by 29 percent.

Yet it’s not enough for A&D enterprises to intuitively understand the value of these solutions. Instead, companies need a well-crafted plan that explores use cases, tests different value scenarios, and builds a solid business case for an equipment health monitoring solution.

We’re here to help. By providing design thinking, value engineering, and business case development services, SAP can help A&D companies identify well-qualified options that not only give stakeholders confidence but also deliver maximum benefits from equipment health monitoring and predictive analytics technologies.  For more information, visit us at

For more information about SAP Value Engineering services, please click here.