General mro aerospace

5 Questions to Ask General MRO Aerospace Companies Before Your RFQ

Aircraft in the aerospace and defense sector are required by FAA regulations to be rigorously maintained. However, research has long shown that there is substantial room to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of general aerospace MRO. 

McKinsey found that armed forces have the ability to improve both the efficiency and effectiveness of maintenance, repair, and overhaul functions but as much as 60%. Achieving these improvements will require fundamental shifts in the way we approach each project.

Here are a few factors to prioritize as you begin evaluating MRO aerospace companies:

  • Turnaround Times (TATs)
  • Line Capacity
  • Certifications
  • A One-Stop Shop 
  • Holds a Vendor Code For Your Company

Ask the five questions below to get started on the right foot with your next MRO project before you even have a quote in hand.

1. Will you be able to turn the product around as fast as I need it?

Anticipated turnaround times (TATs) will make or break a relationship with a repair station before it even begins. However, it’s important to keep in mind that certain processes will have minimum turnaround times due to specialized chemistry, required dwell times, and other factors outside of the MRO provider’s immediate control. 

Ensure that the house’s line capacity is not a bottleneck and that your provider takes fast TATs with responsive service seriously; everything else will fall into place. Another area the MRO station has full control is with quote turnarounds — which can be a signpost of your partner’s overall level of urgency. An industry-best provider should be able to guarantee you quote TATs of 24 hours or less (as we do at MFT).

2. Do you have the capacity to take all of this off my plate?

Fast turnarounds won’t help when the general MRO aerospace companies you’re evaluating are short on line capacity. Quickly completing only a few parts at a time might ultimately prove slower than a slightly longer process that involves most or all of your parts at once.

When you can’t manage your current workload and need additional capacity, ask detailed questions about the size and number of barrels, racks, and other equipment the provider has available for your desired aerospace MRO processes. Keep in mind that with certain parts, the size of a barrel can be deceiving. Small springs, for instance, are prone to nesting if they’re all loaded into a barrel at once, whereas larger springs can use up more of the barrel without running into issues. Discuss your specific needs with the MRO repair station to clarify how your parts will fit into their total available capacity.

3. Do you have all of the required certifications?

A large finishing house with fast turnaround times is in a strong position to earn your business, but not if they lack expertise in the makes and models of your parts. Registered and certified vendors and suppliers will generally be a baseline requirement for MRO aerospace and defense parts.

The fact alone that you have not heard of a particular vendor is not a red flag. As long as the repair station can produce an FAA certificate with the correct ratings (which are not unlike endorsements on a driver’s license) for your review, you can have confidence that their work is up to the standards defined in the industry-required processes for your parts. 

Other quality certifications and accreditations are equally important. Check your MRO provider for RoHS compliance, registration with ITAR, AS9100D certification, and more.

4. Are you a “one-stop shop” for the MRO work I need completed? 

Many aerospace and defense companies and MRO service providers do not have the time to chase down multiple vendors for each specific stage of the overhaul and restoration process. A single part may need deep cleaning, coating removal, polishing, passivation, and perhaps even re-coating. These are all separate processes with their own specified standards and unique equipment or chemistries involved.

Especially if you’ve ever had trouble with service quality or timeliness, it’s best to consolidate your needs with a single provider who has the expertise and certifications to handle every needed process back-to-back. Juggling too many vendors wastes your time and even mitigates the benefits of fast turnaround times on each individual step. Choose a multi-qualified repair station and commit to efficiency with vendor reduction.

5. Do you currently hold a vendor code for my company?

Vendor codes can be a hassle to set up if the MRO service provider does not already have you built out in their system. Ask upfront to save yourself time in the long run, and opt for a general MRO aerospace vendor that already holds your company’s vendor code so you can get started immediately with less paperwork.

These five questions are an excellent way to kick off the conversation, but the MRO experts at Metal Finishing Technologies are ready to answer more if you have any in mind. Get in touch with our certified and experienced team for your aerospace MRO needs today.

Back to Blog

Sign up for our newsletter