Product stewardship & supply chain
Product stewardship & supply chain
Product quality and flight safety
Safety first: for us, safe flight operation is more than just a legal requirement. In aviation, it is fundamentally the highest priority. In our processes, we place high demands on quality and safety along the entire value chain. Not least because reliable and high-quality products are our trademark.
Safety is imperative in aviation, and legal requirements concerning safety are subject to strict monitoring by the relevant authorities. This is why product quality and flight safety are just as important to MTU as well. The company must comply with the legal requirements imposed upon it as a development, manufacturing and maintenance organization in the aviation industry. These include aviation-authority licenses, approvals and certifications as well as safety and environmental requirements as legally mandated by regulatory authorities. Through stringent quality standards, we ensure that these are implemented across the Group and at all levels of the value chain in accordance with the law, thus adding value for our customers and partners. In addition, secure mobility solutions are an important global challenge for the future.
A Group-wide integrated management system (IMS) ensures compliance with laws and internal regulations and clearly assigns responsibilities within the company. One principle of the IMS policy is that “safety takes priority in what we do.” The quality framework is enshrined in a management manual that is binding for all employees and managers across the Group. The company’s dedicated quality department, Corporate Quality, is directly subordinate to the Chief Operating Officer (COO) and reports quarterly to the Executive Board on quality aspects and flight-related incidents. MTU Safety Management in accordance with the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) standard is part of the IMS and defines how to handle safety-related air-traffic events. Appropriate organizational structures and responsibilities, such as a flight safety board and a flight safety manager, have also been established. High quality standards together with product safety and reliability are enshrined in the MTU Principles as important corporate objectives. Independent and accredited external auditors regularly validate and certify our IMS.
Sustainable product lifecycle
We take into account all safety and environmental requirements of regulatory authorities in the early stages of planning new engines for later use, and compliance must be documented as part of the certification process. We employ a comprehensive testing program involving test rigs and test series to validate the safe flight operation of our products. This includes being able to ensure safe operation during a hailstorm or a bird strike (following a bird ingestion event) and complying with strict limits on pollutants and noise emissions. MTU components frequently exceed aviation authority requirements, because our customers demand high standards when it comes to fail-safe operation and eco-efficiency. In addition, our manufacturing and maintenance of engine parts and modules meets all required occupational safety and environmental protection standards.
Sustainability over the entire lifecycle of an engine
We examine our engine modules for their impact on the environment, health and safety throughout their development, production and operation lifecycles. Accordingly, we cover all major stages of a product’s service life. The key to our continuous progress is development. Our mission is to design every new engine we collaborate on so that it is greener, quieter and more fuel-efficient than its predecessor.
We use only fault-free and clearly identifiable components that have been approved by the appropriate aviation authority and are based on approved development documentation. They must also have been produced or repaired in compliance with aviation regulatory processes by a certified company.
The aviation sector has strict rules governing documentation in order to verify the airworthiness of components and engines. There must be no gaps in documentation for the entire product lifecycle. MTU holds its suppliers to the same standards and audits them to ensure compliance. To ensure compliance with quality and safety requirements, we have implemented comprehensive monitoring and testing processes along the entire value chain. Safety-critical components (engine components are categorized into various safety classes) are subjected to particularly rigorous testing to verify their technical quality. Strict requirements also apply to materials. Since fail-safe materials are a basic prerequisite for aviation safety, all engine components, including all materials we use, must be approved by the aviation authorities.
In 2018, we successfully completed a total of 534 internal and external quality audits at eight sites.
In 2018, we once again fulfilled all our product compliance requirements. In the previous financial year, once again no breaches of statutory regulations were observed in connection with the purchase or operation of our products, nor were any fines imposed on MTU. Neither were there any incidents or breaches of statutory regulations or internal guidelines in relation to the effect on health or safety of our products and services.
We employ regular internal and external audits of quality issues to ensure that the uniformly high standards within the company are adhered to and that they comply with the regulatory requirements. In the reporting period, we conducted 409 internal audits including certification audits and underwent 125 external audits by customers or aviation authorities, all of which we passed.
Strengthening knowledge of quality
MTU’s quality system together with the relevant standards and regulations are undergoing continuous development. This involves applying the ideas that emerge, for example, from collaboration in the Aero Engine Supplier Quality Group or from regular discussions among our quality managers. In the reporting year, the focus was on strengthening the Group-wide exchange of lessons learned and best practice approaches. To this end, our quality managers have established an additional exchange of expertise that takes place regularly across the MTU Group.
We include all our employees in our high quality standards and provide basic information with our Group-wide Q.net quality network. In addition, several times a year we raise employees’ awareness of quality issues across the Group by providing them with relevant information (Q Info). We provide training on quality issues for managers and employees at the individual sites.
Shopfloor/office management at all production sites also supports continuous improvement: employees and managers exchange views on quality and other issues several times a week and initiate short-term measures if problems arise. In 2018, we also launched a Group-wide quality initiative for the commercial MRO segment comprising four subprojects in which cross-site teams deal with different quality topics.
Focus on customer satisfaction
A high level of product quality and safety is crucial for customer satisfaction. “High customer satisfaction” was a core objective for MTU in 2018, and one of the secondary objectives on our roadmap was “on-time delivery and quality at a high level.” IMS, our certified quality management system, serves to ensure customer satisfaction, process orientation and continuous improvement in all phases of development, production and maintenance.
In 2018 as in 2017, the goal was also to lower or at least keep the number of customer complaints stable at all locations. Customer complaints are evaluated at the individual MTU sites, and for the majority of sites, these declined compared with the previous year. At the remaining, sites the level of complaints was either constant or elevated.
We follow up and analyze all customer complaints relating to MTU products delivered in substandard quality. Appropriate measures are then defined and implemented so as to permanently eliminate the cause of the defects. In addition, in 2017 and 2018 a cross-divisional improvement project team at the Munich site systematically analyzed complaints from key customers over a selected period for the causes of errors. They initiated measures for individual areas, the effectiveness of which we will review in 2019.
Dialog with our customers
MTU Maintenance offers maintenance and additional services for aircraft engines and industrial gas turbines, and is thus active in the end-customer business. Direct interaction with customers, specifically airlines, leasing companies and energy producers, forms the basis of customer care. We use an IT-based “voice of the customer” module to regularly measure current customer satisfaction levels. The survey takes place once a quarter for our Hannover, Ludwigsfelde and Vancouver sites and for all main products. Each customer has the option of providing feedback about product quality, service, logistics and contractual terms. We actively use this feedback in order to identify areas for improvement and initiate measures accordingly. Doing so allows us to improve our performance and increase customer satisfaction as a means of staying competitive. In addition, MTU Maintenance Lease Services runs its own system for measuring satisfaction in the engine leasing and asset management business.