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Persepective - Rich HigginsBoeing is improving the completeness, accuracy, and timeliness of its Airplane Illustrated Parts Catalog (AIPC) to save airlines time and money and improve the efficiency of their daily operations.

Airline mechanics, procurement agents, inventory controllers, and engineers all rely on the AIPC and related Spec 2000 provisioning data when parts need to be installed on airplanes. Airlines use the AIPC to identify, requisition, store, and issue line maintenance parts. The related provisioning data allows airlines to select and procure equipment, parts, and materials for supporting, maintaining, and repairing fleet airplanes, end items, support equipment, and related component parts.

To help ensure airlines have the most up-to-date information to support their operations, the cycle time for producing the AIPC has been reduced 35 percent during the past year by reducing engineering backlogs and eliminating non-value-added steps in the process.

Efforts now are under way to resequence how updates are made to the AIPC, so that the overall cycle time for producing the AIPC and Spec 2000 provisioning data is reduced an additional 45 percent. This resequencing will make the AIPC and Spec 2000 provisioning data available at the same time, which will better support inventory planning and procurement activities at the airlines.

Improvements also have been made in how Boeing part suppliers provide technical data to the AIPC and related provisioning data. The process for acquisition and incorporation of supplier data has been redesigned to provide earlier notification of data requirements to suppliers, to tighten the time for inputting that data into the system, and to ensure the accuracy of the data. Workshops were held last year to educate suppliers on the value of their technical data and its impact on airline operations, specifically airline provisioning and maintenance activities.


















Another key component of the AIPC is defining the interchangeability of parts so airlines can determine which parts are usable on their fleet of airplanes. A new process was implemented last year to ensure interchangeability is documented and made available to all downstream users when Boeing Engineering designs a new part. Training materials for suppliers were developed with the help of some airlines to emphasize the importance and impact interchangeability has on airline operations.

In addition to improving current processes, new approaches for managing and delivering part information are in development. A new system for authoring part information will be implemented in 2001. It will automatically establish part information from the engineering source data rather than requiring manual rekeying of the data into the authoring system. This will reduce manual input, enable the data to be reused, and have a positive impact on the quality and cycle time of the information in the AIPC and the Spec 2000 provisioning data. When fully implemented, this system will help ensure a one-to-one relationship between the information contained in the AIPC and the engineering definition of the airplane, which is the authoritative source for the airplane configuration at delivery.

Development is also under way to provide the AIPC data to airlines by way of the World Wide Web in 2001. Airlines will be able to view customized data that is updated every 30 days. This will enable users of the AIPC to view the most current part information and have access to online search capabilities. From the AIPC web site, airlines also will be able to directly access the Boeing PART page to initiate procurement activities. This will help reduce airline maintenance time and ensure that airplanes are put back into revenue service quickly.

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