Nov 02, 2006This article was originally published by RFID Update.
November 2, 2006—ABI Research of Oyster Bay, New York, predicts that the market for RFID from the aerospace and defense industries will reach $2 billion in 2011. This figure includes revenues generated by the US Department of Defense RFID mandate, the increasing integration of RFID into the aircraft manufacturing process, and active RFID and RTLS efforts like the government contracts often won by Savi Technology (now a subsidiary of giant defense contractor Lockheed Martin).
Drilling down into this figure, one of the key opportunities for RFID that ABI Research identifies is that of MRO, or maintenance, repair, and overhaul. Managing MRO is a multifaceted, challenging affair for aerospace and defense companies, laced with issues of security, safety, inefficiency, and compliance. A typical repair or maintenance job is composed of many sub-processes, including identifying the problem, locating or purchasing the required part, locating the appropriate personnel to execute the repair or replacement, and documenting almost every step.
RFID can streamline and facilitate the MRO process, and help aerospace and defense companies realize so-called "integrated MRO", which is essentially technology-enabled visibility into the entire MRO process, both within a company's four walls and out into its suppliers' inventories. The ideal of integrated MRO is "the centralization of sourcing, procurement, receiving, internal distribution and service," according to ABI. The desired result is that many of the MRO processes are pushed out to suppliers, leaving the aerospace or defense company to focus on its manufacturing core competencies.
There are two areas of MRO that ABI cites as particularly compelling opportunities for the application of RFID: document tracking and locating parts, tools, and materials. "The key to an integrated MRO supply chain is documentation," writes ABI. And yet, most documentation processes in aerospace and defense manufacturing today are manual and fragmented. RFID could enable the automation of these processes, cutting down on labor costs and human error, and allowing integration across currently siloed documentation systems. As for locating physical assets, ABI notes that as much as 70 percent of a mechanic's time can be wasted in search of a required part, tool, or material. Such inefficiency is ripe for RFID-enabled improvement.
Read the release from ABI Research