IFS’s Maintenix is riding high on its selection by LATAM Airlines and Southwest Airlines and will soon support about a quarter of the world’s commercial and military fixed-wing aircraft.
But the $500-million-a year IFS believes its other applications, including Complex MRO and IFS Apps, are better suited to engine shops, component repair facilities and independent airframe MROs. For this is a very different market, requiring strong capabilities for doing external business.
Jeff Cass, developer of Maintenix and now strategy VP in IFS’s aerospace and defense unit, says MROs and airlines have different needs. For instance, contracts and invoicing are very important for MROs. Trying to satisfy both segments with the same app is not very efficient. And IFS, which started out in asset management, has very effective solutions for engine shops, which are a bit like manufacturing plants, and for component shops.
Cass sees a great deal of potential in upgrading shop software. Some major ERP-firm installations are 10- to 15-years old and due for renewal or replacement. Many shops have home-grown systems. All of these applications are being pressed by new demands, for instance for customer visibility into check progress and the increasing need to do all business as electronically as possible.
IFS already supports MROs such as St Aero, KLM UK Engineering, Emirates Engineering, Saudi Arabia’s Middle East Propulsion Company and JORAMCO with tools from IFS Apps. But many other big fish are still out there.
For instance, HAECO Hong Kong uses Ultramain, partly because its major customer Cathay Pacific Airways does. But parent corporation HAECO is looking for a global solution and setting very demanding requirements. “What they are looking for does not exist yet,” Cass acknowledges.
And IFS is not alone in seeking the business. Competitors like AMOS’s MRO edition, Pentagon 2000, Corridor Aviation Maintenance Software and EmpowerMX are also looking at the important third-party MRO market, which has a few huge global players and hundreds of smaller shops.
*Editor's note: This article was updated on May 23.