A Race against the clock at the Customer Support Center
Safran Aircraft Engines' Customer Support Center (CSC) allows the company to provide customers with recommendations on maintenance, repair and upkeep of its aircraft engines, in workshops or directly on the wing. This strategic business line requires expert technicians on duty 24/7/365.
A job in class by itself
This gripping job needs solid nerves to manage crises. It's also a very demanding job: you can be on duty by day or by night, and you have to make the right decisions in split seconds.
Much is at stake for airlines: they need their aircraft operation-ready wherever they are!
20:00 Nothing to report
Christian, who has been working as a technician at the Safran Aircraft Engines' Customer Support Center for six years now, reports for duty with his fellow technicians on the night shift at the Montereau site, near Paris.
Like every evening, he is driven by the same one aim: answering as quick as possible the questions of customer airlines, meeting their specific needs by organizing, for example, a spare engine part to be available in four hours, or by helping provide remote technical advice for resolving a problem.
In every case, the goal is to avoid grounding the plane - or getting it back off the ground as soon as possible - wherever it may be, while ensuring in-flight safety. Grounded aircraft are expensive for the airlines that operate them: in a very competitive market, the reliability of our engines and aircraft availability must total.
23:00: Plane grounded in Prague
Christian has only just started his shift when he receives an urgent e-mail telling him that a plane fitted with CFM56 engines is stranded at Václav Havel airport in Prague.
We have an AOG (Aircraft On Ground): I'm on it.
He tells his coworkers.
The aircraft was just about ready to take off when a warning light went on in the cockpit.
The pilot followed the usual procedure and returned to the parking stand that he had just left. A question is sent immediately to the CSC by the company's maintenance technicians.
More than 1,000 kilometers away, the Safran Aircraft Engines technician checks the database to read up on the terms of the airline's contract, the engine's history and any similar issues which have occurred previously.
23:50 The procedure begins
This is when the real race against the clock starts. Christian realizes that he is missing key information for identifying the problem.
He calls the client straight away to ask them for more information telling him that he can call upon the Field Service Engineer (FSE) on site if needed.
When he hangs up, he knows that the team in Prague will carry out a visual inspection on the engine in the next few minutes.
00:45 Cause identified
The on-the-spot Field Service Engineer contacts Christian to let him know that the cause of the warning has been identified: there is a leak on one of the outer pipes which will have to be changed.
After asking the customer to email him a purchase order with the reference numbers for the damaged part, Christian says:
I'll get onto the Distribution Center straight away and ring you back!
Fortunately, the part can be replaced on-site. In other words, the engine does not need to go to a repair workshop.
01:15 Managing the logistics
Once the airline has signed off and the part can be ordered, Christian contacts the duty officer at Safran Aircraft Engines' Civil Distribution Center (CDC) at Villaroche, to give them the component's reference number and make sure that the part will be delivered as soon as possible.
01:30 Not a minute to waste
The CDC duty officer logs into the inventory management application and promptly locates the component among the 11,000 product references in stock. All they have to do is prepare it and package it.
Christian lets his customer know so that the part is ready to go. In a few hours, the head of maintenance in Prague will have the part and will be able to fix the engine.
05:55 Mission accomplished
Christian finishes his day's work, but there is one last task for him to do: provide the next team with all the information necessary for tracking and resolving his customer's file.
To ensure traceability, this repair will be added to the log of both the aircraft and the engine. After a final coffee in the CSC's new cafeteria, it is time for Christian to go home with the satisfaction of knowing his work is done.
09:30 The aircraft takes off from Prague once again!
The customer service engineer meets up with a technician from the CSC and he likes what he hears:
Everything is done, it all went really well, the engine is good to go!
As the crew settles back in the cockpit and the passengers are boarding, the Customer Service Center is already managing another emergency.