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Customer Stories

 

SR Technics Switzerland turns data into knowledge with the SAS® Business Analytics

SR Technics Switzerland (SR Technics), a dominant player in the aircraft maintenance and engineering market, has chosen SAS software to help them to analyze data and create safety reliability reports. SR Technics has built up strong customer-focused businesses in the aircraft overhaul, aircraft maintenance, jet engine overhaul and repair, and component overhaul and repair segments. SR Technics' highly skilled employees help customers around the world to increase their fleet utilization and improve their bottom lines. The company was originally part of the Swissair Group, but is now owned by 3i, Star Capital and its management. 

Knowledge means safety
Safety is one of the most important aspects of the transportation industry, which is why maintenance is a prime focus of the regulatory authorities. The guidelines and laws promulgated by state bodies for the airline industry are particularly stringent. For example, an airline will only be granted an operating licence if it can prove that maintenance is carried out under a binding contract.

Authorities such as the US FAA (Federal Aviation Administration) or the Swiss BAZL (Federal Office of Civil Aviation) monitor compliance with these strict requirements by way of reliability report submissions, which are required by law. These detailed reports not only provide information about the current condition and history of the planes, but also provide early detection analyses about potential future problems or defects. For a maintenance company such as SR Technics, knowledge is thus the key to success – and safety.

"To be successful and to retain our good reputation, we have to guarantee absolute safety and provide the best-possible quality. This is why we decided on SAS," says Manfred Matschulat, Data Warehouse Manager at SR Technics. SAS Business Analytics "helps us to cope with this challenging task by providing reliable, comprehensive reports," he adds.

With the SAS, SR Technics has implemented a user-friendly solution to consolidate and analyze all available information, irrespective of the system in which it resides, and uses it to create meaningful reports. "We are now able to evaluate and display data comprehensively and easily, to provide information automatically and on time and thus, at the end of the day, to provide detailed conclusions about the condition of aircraft or components," explains Matschulat.

Building a heterogeneous data landscape
Before using SAS, vast quantities of heterogeneous data taken from disconnected applications systems had to be compiled and evaluated – a very time-consuming process. This is why the "SRMaRiO" (Maintenance Repair and Overhaul) project for integration into a standardized system was started, one aspect of which was to establish a data warehouse. At the same time that data was being moved into the new data warehouse, it was also being streamlined. Data about aircraft types that were no longer in operation, or which were no longer covered by the contract, were archived separately.

In parallel with the realization of the SAS Enterprise Intelligence Platform, SAP R/3 was developed and introduced which, as the new enterprise resource planning (ERP) system, which now controls ongoing processes and provides most of the data for the SAS data warehouse.  It proved to be a real challenge to build up a data warehouse on the structure of an ERP system that was in development, but in spite of the difficult starting situation, the SAS data warehouse was completed on schedule.

A powerful platform
During the initial decision-making process to choose the most suitable data warehouse, several vendors were compared with each other and against a pilot project benchmark, where real examples taken from SR Technics' day-to-day business were to be tackled "live." The value and power of SAS became clear immediately. Through the simple operation of the SAS data warehouse, the required report was created practically with a single mouse click. Matschulat recalls: "SAS was the only company that met our expectations and that presented a complete solution on the basis of the data supplied. A test report was produced perfectly, in spite of the lack of preparation time! The SAS data warehouse gives us the speed, punctuality, reliability and flexibility that we need."

Using SAS, it was possible to simplify and even drastically shorten a number of processes through optimized data processing. This was the case with the C-check, for example, a general condition inspection and system check which is carried out on aircraft at regular intervals. Matschulat illustrates the savings made, using the example of the MD-11 aircraft: "Around 400 different steps have to be carried out for a C-check of this type. Collating the data required and making it available used to take 10 minutes per task, but this time has been cut by 50 percent with SAS. Altogether, this means that the time per C-check has been reduced from eight to four days."

Automating reports saves valuable time and resources
Approximately 180 internal SR Technics users and customers produce their business-related reports using SAS. Even users without any previous knowledge can generate new analyses after just one-half a day of internal training. If necessary, new reports can be integrated into the schematic sequence by a developer in the data warehouse department, which are provided as standard reports to all relevant units. Today, evaluations are easier to compare with each other since they are prepared using the same parameters. More than 200 tables with approximately 190 million records are read every week to generate the 500 individual reports currently defined and automatically published on the intranet and in client portals.

To keep tabs on the flow of data, users and customers define for themselves which evaluations are relevant to their activities. In the case of specific evaluations, recipients are informed about report completion via e-mail using publish and subscribe technology, or receive them in a package sent directly to their printers. Many sequences have been largely automated or drastically simplified with SAS – enabling staff to turn their valuable time and attention to other important tasks.

"The integration of a new customer into the system took one to two days with the old system, with various departments being involved," says Matschulat. "Today, most of the process is automated as data are taken directly into the SAS data warehouse. We no longer need to spend lots of time on this, and the amount of work has fallen to two to three hours, maximum, per new customer – and we avoid any sources of error at the same time."

SR Technics' customers access the reports that are relevant to them via an Internet portal. The legally required reports on the availability of aircraft and their components are provided as standard by SR Technics – customers do not have to bother doing this themselves. Other reports are created for customers as required in the SAS data warehouse and offered as add-ons. "Thanks to SAS, today we are able to access the data relevant to the airline business much more quickly and flexibly, and at the same time, the automated processes have made the data much more reliable," concludes Matschulat. "We are not only able to make better use of our resources, but also to generate more information from the data available to us."

Copyright © SAS Institute Inc. All Rights Reserved.

Manfred Matschulat 
Data Warehouse Manager

SR Technics Switzerland

Challenge:
Collate heterogeneous data from disparate systems, analyze it and create legally required reliability reports.
Benefits:
Enhanced aircraft safety, reduced operating costs, time savings

SAS was the only company that met our expectations and that presented a complete solution on the basis of the data supplied. 

Manfred Matschulat

Data warehouse manager

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