October 2, 2022
Document Workflow Automation in Commercial Aviation

Document Workflow Automation in Commercial Aviation

DALLAS – From flight plans to maintenance reports to safety inspections, the documents in commercial aviation do more than just keep things running smoothly; they make safe and efficient air travel possible.

Many organizations in aviation could benefit significantly from implementing workflow automation software to improve how documents and data are organized, moved, and manipulated.

Photo: National Transportation Safety Board – Bombardier Maintenance, Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=71344146

The Role of Document Workflows in Commercial Aviation

Documentation in commercial aviation plays a central role in many aspects of operations. For example, all aircraft need to be regularly inspected for safety and the results of those inspections need to be recorded appropriately. Similarly, whenever repairs or maintenance are performed, the completed work needs to be documented.

Furthermore, all flight plans need to be documented and filed with the appropriate authorities for the relevant airspace, such as the US FAA. Aircraft fueling reports are another example of how document workflows impact aviation. Plus, like any other organization, commercial aviation businesses have document workflows for wages, budgeting, taxes, personnel management, and more.

In short, if you are in the aviation industry, you are likely dealing with documents and recordkeeping on a daily basis. How you manage those document workflows can have a major impact on your productivity, effectiveness, and bottom line.

Photo: NBAA

Workflow Automation in Commercial Aviation

If you are primarily using non-automated document workflows, chances are that mistakes, inefficiencies, and miscommunications are costing you productivity, time, and money. Fortunately, workflow automation is the simple answer to this.

With document workflow automation software, you can simplify the process of creating, completing, and filing documentation. For example, if a safety inspector examines an aircraft, he or she can complete the relevant form and have it automatically delivered to the safety officer. There is no need to email it separately (which can be forgotten); just complete the report and it will be delivered.

Automation also allows for special actions when something doesn’t go as expected. Returning to the example of the safety report, if there is an issue, a work order can be automatically created for the relevant work crew. Additionally, the aircraft can be marked in the appropriate system as being unfit for use until it has been repaired.

In other words, automation can handle many of the steps of your document workflows that are currently being done manually. It can simplify the work done by your team and keep the whole process running smoothly. Although safety is one of the top concerns in commercial aviation, it is far from the only area that can benefit from automation. Workflows for nearly all aspects of business operations can be automated.

Photo: Mark Groover – Self-photographed, CC BY-SA 4.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=5406401

The Benefits of Workflow Automation

There are some excellent reasons to consider implementing workflow automation in commercial aviation. These are some of the most significant benefits:

  • Increased Productivity: Automation helps to speed up workflows and reduce the amount of human work necessary to get things done. For example, workflow automation software can almost completely eliminate the need for filing aviation documentation. Thus, work crews can focus on inspections, maintenance, fueling, and other essential tasks.
  • Opportunities for Savings: Typically, after the initial investment, automation will save time and money compared to manual work. In some cases, it can also reveal opportunities to reduce costs. When you automate, you can more easily track how resources are spent and find new efficiencies.
  • Reduced Errors: To err is human. Fortunately, computer systems don’t suffer from the same problem. Automation can help to dramatically reduce errors such as typos and misfiling mistakes.
  • Improved Asset Uptime: For airlines, maximizing the efficient utilization of aircraft is the key to maximizing profits. If aircraft are on the ground receiving maintenance, they can’t earn revenue. Better issue tracking and resolution can lead to increased uptime and improved profit margins.
  • Increased Certainty: Mistakes and misunderstandings can lead to uncertainty. When your team is more confident, there are significant cultural and morale benefits. With the right workflow automation solution, you can give your team increased peace of mind.
Photo: Lufthansa Technik

How to Automate Workflows

Historically, workflow automation has been a very labor-intensive process because it requires bespoke software. However, more modern solutions are making it easier than ever to create automated workflows in any organization.

To get started with automation, simply find an appropriate workflow automation software, map out a workflow, and set appropriate rules for how the documents will be handled. For most teams, the most complex part of this is mapping the document processes that are already in use. Once you have done this, it is a surprisingly easy process to set up automation.

Featured image: NBAA

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