Porsche engineering has a well-deserved reputation for being among the best in the automotive industry, but the automaker’s Porsche Consulting subsidiary gives the company’s brainy engineers the chance to take some of that lauded knack for efficiency and precision, and apply it to other industries.
Take, for instance, British Airways, who puts Porsche engineers to use in trying to streamline its aircraft inspection and maintenance routines.
While the carryover from the automotive industry to aviation may not be apparent at first glance, as with all problem solving, solutions in both cases ultimately come down to compromises, and logistics. Says British Airways Engineering Heavy Maintenance General Manager Bill Kelly: “The challenge in the heavy maintenance sector is always a matter of performing an entire series of tasks to meet high standards in a cost effective manner.”
Being cost effective in this case largely revolves around minimizing an aircraft’s downtime. With help from Porsche engineers from the automaker’s consulting arm, British Airways’ short-haul fleet has seen a reduction in downtime of 20 percent. That’s thanks in part to new ways of strategizing things like the procurement of replacement parts, which even in seemingly simple cases can cost hundreds of thousands of dollars, and can take months to ship.
Another area where Porsche engineers have helped the aviation company is with regard to analyzing data, to more effectively ascertain what sort of issues can be expected at the next inspection, and what parts might have seen the most wear. For instance, the difference between a plane whose flight path lies primarily over the ocean, or over the desert, means a great difference in what sort of wear should be anticipated.
So while flying and driving are two vastly different means of travel, “when you look behind the scenes, you can see that car makers are facing challenges similar to ours,” says Mr. Kelly.