From box to tablet
GateApp enables fully digitalized identification of materials
Supplying aircraft materials to customers all over the world places high demands on logistics. This applies in particular to the timely identification of required spare parts during the delivery and return process: Lufthansa Technik Logistik Services (LTLS) has to identify all components not only upon receipt, but also when checking their certificate, entering them in Lufthansa Technik's materials management system and processing all accompanying documents. Only then can LTLS forward the aircraft materials to the different workshops around the world. This time-consuming routing of materials via several locations leads to long transportation times, high transportation and handling costs and large material stocks.
In 2014, LTLS developed a new procedure for identifying materials in the international cycle so that spare parts could be shipped directly from the customer to the nearest maintenance, repair and overhaul (MRO) facility and back again, if required. Named gate.control (gate = Global AsseT Expert), the procedure enabled serviceable and unserviceable spare parts to be identified at an early stage. This was made possible by a remote procedure consisting of tamper-proof control software, hardware for information intake and a predefined process that determines the responsibilities of all parties involved. Thus, the materials could already be identified in the region or directly at the customer's site with the help of a Gate box.
These Gate boxes, which are about one cubic meter in size and equipped with various IT hardware components, are now going to be replaced by an Internet application that Lufthansa Technik Logistik Services recently developed and that will be introduced step by step. Instead of using the cameras in the box to scan aircraft materials as well as their type labels and accompanying documents, employees will from now on use an industry tablet computer featuring the pre-installed GateApp. Thanks to its ergonomic hand strap, the tablet can be held with one arm so that employees always have one hand free for scanning and photographing. This not only makes gate.control mobile, more convenient and more flexible in terms of size, but also ensures that the identification of materials is fully digitalized and thus even more reliable. Cutting back the hardware to just one device reduces the rate of failure and ensures that replacements can be supplied more simply and quickly. In addition, only a brief introduction is needed to be able to use the app.
The tablets with GateApp will be used by external, certified logistics providers at the customer's facility, primarily in the provider's storage and material handling areas. Since the portable tablet solution is considerably less expensive and makes the Gate process more practicable, LTLS will be able to establish a much tighter global location network and thus shorten turnaround times in the delivery chain.