ARTS creates own logistics system for the Airbus A350 wing section
ARTS has successfully concluded another project with its Bordeaux-based customer, Airbus. The aim was to include the creation of an in-house materials management and logistics system to record and store components in the Airbus A350 wing section. In this blog, the project manager, Christian Rost, reports on the challenges and processes that arose during project delivery.
© Nejron Photo/Shutterstock.com
Project implementation in Bordeaux
The “Shop floor Support” project team was engaged in a project for Airbus, at the customer’s site near Bordeaux. A test A350 aircraft, MSN 005, underwent refurbishment. Our project team in Bordeaux was tasked with recording and categorising the components used in the wing section, Section 15, of the aircraft during the aircraft’s overhaul and maintenance, which involved creating a custom warehouse management solution.
The site where our project team was based is located approximately 12 kilometres outside Bordeaux, on the premises of the French company, Sabena technics. This location is also the site where, in addition to the refurbishment of the A350 and maintenance and repair of Airbus’ type A320, SuperG, A380 and Beluga aeroplanes, maintenance is also performed on French government aircraft.
During the six-month project period, which ran from August 2016 until January 2017, three ARTS employees were engaged in the logistics project. The project scope included the creation of an in-house materials management and logistics system to record and store components in the wing section. An Airbus A350 development aircraft, MSN 005, was modernised during the project. The components in the different sections were disassembled by various project teams and, after the components had been checked and cleaned, were reassembled. Components and assemblies that were no longer functional were replaced with new ones. Our project team was tasked with categorising the wing components and storing them in a warehouse before distributing the relevant components to the project staff who were responsible for fitting them. Both disassembly and assembly were handled by different project sections.
Wing structures on the shop floor at Airbus - © Airbus/M.Lindner
Successful logistics processes
Our extensive candidate pool made it possible for us to select the best logistics personnel, work preparation and line support staff. Thanks to their subject matter expertise and know how, our three employees were able to cover the requirements for this task perfectly. The project team needed more than specialist expertise: it also needed to demonstrate responsibility and teamwork. We must be able to rely on our own staff, as we cannot always be present on site, and thus an decent, self-reliant organisation is vital to the success of our project work.
A significant aspect of our corporate culture is the sharing of all necessary information in order to achieve our project goals, which allows us to have complete confidence in our project teams at all times. By ensuring consistency with the processes, including logistics processes, in Toulouse, our project team were able to collect initial input and experiences from the French aerospace capital. After a short stay in Toulouse to increase their familiarity with the local processes, our staff started work on the logistics project in Bordeaux. Our team worked with SAP PEA and SAP PDA software systems. Monitoring and warehousing, including the proper storage of the structural components and assemblies, were some of the most significant project tasks. In addition, our staff were responsible for entering data into the SAP systems. Any non-compliant or missing components were recorded via the creation of non-conformities (NCs), which were then entered into the data system. The database work was extremely important to the project, as details of all disassembled components were recorded in order to identify which additional components would be required.
The logistics project in Bordeaux was delivered by staff members with particular organisational abilities, who coordinated the structural components and planned an effective storage process.
As an interface and coordination partner, our employees were responsible for ensuring wing component availability, materials procurement, and delivery of used components. This included managing any missing parts, monitoring orders, and coordinating the movment of goods.
Communication is extremely important in the logistics sector, and close collaboration with other departments requires advanced communication skills from each team member. Our team was particularly effective in communicating when distributing components.
Team spirit is another important skill for our staff. They work closely alongside their colleagues and other specialist teams, while their work supports other departments, which is the only way to ensure a seamless working arrangement.
Extensive A350 experience
Mehdi Boyals, a member of the project team in Bordeaux, already has nine years’ experience in the aerospace sector, with experience as a trained manufacturing engineer working in line support in Section 16/18 on the Airbus A350 in Hamburg. The two other project team members were also able to build on several years of experience working with Airbus.
Thanks to our expert team, we were able to complete the project successfully and were able to enhance the logistics capabilities of our customer, Airbus. The project location in Bordeaux also contributed to the optimum working conditions that our team enjoyed – with the opportunity to explore the area around the city after a productive day at work or at the weekend. Thanks to this work-life balance, our logistic experts were able to concentrate fully on the project and bring it to a successful conclusion.
After the modifications had been completed, the Airbus A350 was delivered back to Toulouse.
The next aircraft is due to be modified in Bordeaux in 2018, and we hope to win this project as well, followed by another successful project. Do you have any question concerning our A350 logistics project? The opportunity for a discussion and your e-mail feedback is always welcome.