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Aerospace Industry Sector – a Document Management Case Study

March 21, 2012

An Engineering Document Management Case Study –

document management for aerospace industries

When documenting work carried out within the Aerospace industry, very strict guidelines must be adhered to, to ensure not only passenger safety in the air, but also compliance with data storage, traceability and verification legislation.

The safety of an aircraft and its passengers depends on the reliability of its major components and the engineering processes carried out during the manufacture and installation of those components.

Companies manufacturing and operating in the aerospace industry are therefore heavily regulated and constantly required to demonstrate compliance with the strict criteria set out by the industry regulatory bodies, such as the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA).

If these components are used for Military Aircraft, the legislation and security is increased significantly.

At every stage – from design and manufacture, in-service support, repair and overhaul, to the timely delivery and notification of all technical updates to operators of commercial, military and freight aircraft – supporting documentation has to be meticulously collated, retained, updated and distributed.

Retention of documentation is obligatory

Documents provide the primary route for evidence-based verification and traceability; they enable an organisation to demonstrate compliance with customer requirements and industry regulations.

Assurance records also become a fundamental point of reference when determining compliance with the intended design and help to satisfy the requirements of building control and health and safety bodies. They also ensure that a contractor can demonstrate a duty of care and that the end product is fit for purpose.

The Document Traffic Control Case Study

Remote document managementA ProcessFlows Document Management integration at a World-leading manufacturer of aviation components, is organising, accelerating and directing the flow of business document traffic throughout the entire global operation.

The production of technical publications is process driven

Every three months the company has to update their components technical publications and process/distribute the information to aircraft operators.

It’s a huge task and one that was, until the ProcessFlows solution was implemented, primarily a manual authoring and publishing process. This took up a huge amount of staff time, even with the limited distribution options.

Precise guidelines have to be followed to ensure the accuracy of updated information. If mistakes are made, the safety of aircraft can be compromised. Checking and double-checking was essential.

A more efficient and assured way of updating safety-critical technical documentation and delivering it in a timely way to customers was sought.

ProcessFlows’ automated electronic document management met the criteria

After an evaluation and tender process, ProcessFlows was chosen to implement an automated document capture and management solution, built around OnBase from Hyland Software and integrate it with the organisation’s global SAP system.

The solution integrates seamlessly with all existing business systems, applications and mobile devices. It centralises the storage of all electronic information in a dedicated ‘electronic filing cabinet’ (repository) which can be accessed, viewed and updated (subject to user access rights) via the SAP user interface, from any location, worldwide.

Building now for the future

OnBase is totally modular; the initial implementation provides a firm foundation for any future enterprise scale ECM system. There will never be a need to ‘rip and replace’, so this is a sound investment for an organisation with bigger plans.

The project took off

Converting technical publications and all associated documentation into electronic format and having them all in one place, means it is now much easier to manage updates.

Documentation is easy to find ‘at the click of a button’. Workflow capability drives content through the business process, validating the information so that nothing gets missed.

Notifying customers of new updates is an automatic, bi-directional process with in-built verification that updates have
been received.

The process is less people centric; it’s secure and tight and the risk of human error has been removed. In this way they are providing a fully automated ‘Knowledge Transfer’. Knowledge Transfer is the process of making sure that the people who need to see the documentation read it and verify that they have read it.

This way there is no room for misinterpretation should there be an issue with the documentation later on.

Data traffic control

The potential of the ProcessFlows solution to improve document handling and control data in other business areas is already being realised.

The organisation is now looking at upgrading – module by module – to provide integration with Outlook, and with Oracle, to enable web access.

Finance and Accounts Payable

All finance information will be held and managed within OnBase – invoices, purchase orders and despatch notes will be automatically matched within OnBase, before being uploaded into the accounts system for payment.

Technical Applications

Storing technical information within OnBase has enabled the creation of a bespoke workflow which ensures that amendments, approvals, reviews and sign-off of every document is completed in line with company procedures and directives.

The workflow engine takes care of retention and automatically sends documents requiring updates for editing and input. Once complete, the system will then notify all interested parties (both internal and external) that the document requires approval and comment.

The ProcessFlows solution handles this entire process through many iterations, right through to Publication and Knowledge Transfer.

There is no limit

OnBase product suites from ProcessFlows are very flexible, so you can select just the functionality you need, when you need it. The solution can be as small as an ‘electronic filing cabinet’ for a single operation, or can grow to be a global ECM system.

Aerospace companies need smart and secure business processes to help them efficiently manage compliant global operations and enable the easy sharing of information with staff, suppliers and customers. To date, we have supplied all this and more with our OnBase and ReadSoft integrations, ensuring operational effectiveness throughout the entire organisation. – ProcessFlows Project Manager

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