PIPS follows AlliedSignal components

COMPANY: AlliedSignal Aerospace
PURPOSE: To create a common database and standard reporting for the performance tracking of aerospace products

APPLICATION: Product In-service Performance Support (PIPS) -- Phoenix-based AlliedSignal Aerospace provides an array of aircraft parts, as well as repair and overhaul facilities supporting virtually every aircraft in operation. With a customer base that includes operators of some of the world's largest airlines and OEMs, AlliedSignal needed to develop a single system that would track and report on the reliability of all aircraft components.

"When we started this project, we had eight different systems doing component tracking, and they didn't know about each other," said Chuck Potts, project coordinator at AlliedSignal Aerospace. "This was pretty inefficient as far as the reuse of the analysis tools, and the integration of data was quite a chore."

The Product In-service Performance Support (PIPS) application was created to bring about a common database and standard reporting. AlliedSignal Aerospace determined such a system would significantly reduce reporting time, cut costs and result in increased data accuracy.

The PIPS application supports internal users at AlliedSignal, primarily in project engineering, warranty and maintenance service agreements organization, legal and reliability engineering. It is also used to share reliability data with the company's external customers.

According to Fergus Pollard, application architect, the initial challenge was to establish a development team that had enough knowledge of the business to come up with a worthwhile
system that would be usable across the entire spectrum of the business. "Our actual IS developers, in fact, didn't have much knowledge of the business," said Pollard. "They were pretty much programmers and IS developers, not aerospace types."

A core team combining IS developers and business representatives spanning the spectrum of the company's operations was therefore assembled. "The continuing challenge with that was that all of these business reps had other jobs," said Pollard. "We had to work hard to keep them constantly involved."

In choosing tools and methods, AlliedSignal went with CORBA. The company also looked for development languages in which IS had an established skill base. Tools were chosen based on the fact that the company was already using a great deal of Visual Basic on the front end and C++ on the back end.

Because most CORBA tools were still in beta at the beginning of this project, AlliedSignal found available training to be pretty much nil. "To a large part, we relied on the breadth of experience of our developers," said Pollard.

Thus far all of the application's functionality, and two of the company's eight systems, have been migrated to PIPS. The development tool DAIS, and support from its maker and distributor ICL and PeerLogic, are credited with the success of the project. And return on investment has already been documented. "We have a business person who used to spend 40 hours at the first of every month creating reliability reports that he would distribute across the company," said Potts. "Today that reporting takes only eight hours."

Representing a 60:1 savings, another benefit is the new PIPS format. The new technology allows the equivalent of a 30Mb PowerPoint presentation to be presented on the Web server in only a half a megabyte in PDF format.

-- Deborah Melewski


Chuck Potts

Fergus Pollard

Vern Beck

Lloyd Holston

Martin Lacey

Ken Bobis

Peter Nguyen

Parveen Pati

Al Romo

Ragu Kondury

Curtis Holbrook

David Weber

Ragu Konuru

Ramin Zahraie

Dave Bulmore

Sreenivas Kalluri

Brian Van Tasel

Tim O'Connell

John Penman

Rikki Nyman

Sandra Lacy

Becky Elder


Streamlined report creation and distribution process. Long term, PIPS will result in cost
savings and improved
accuracy, volume and timeliness of data

ICL/PeerLogic DAIS, ERwin, Rational Rose

Servers; HP-UX CORBA server, NT ASP Server; Windows 95 clients; the oracle database