McKinsey underscores gen AI’s role in bridging the labour gap

by | May 13, 2024 | Innovation, MRO IT

Extensive labour shortages the aviation industry is currently facing have been identified as a critical challenge with the potential to slow progress, and the MRO sector is no exception. In fact, McKinsey & Company research indicates that by 2033, one-fifth of aviation maintenance technician jobs will go unfilled.

However, generative AI (gen AI) is seen as a potential way to bridge this growing gap, and the MRO industry is particularly is well positioned to benefit from the innovative technology. Gathering research on this topic, a recent McKinsey article looked at the transformative potential of gen AI for the MRO sector, here are some of its key insights.

The major ways gen AI can assist the MRO industry are as:

  • Virtual AI maintenance and repair experts (“co-pilots”)
  • AI-augmented reliability engineering tools
  • Assistants who take care of busywork
  • Permanent quality control supervisors
  • Supply chain managers
  • Accelerators of onboarding hires through skills training

Key challenges with its integration include:

  • Striking the right balance between careful and agile
  • Preserving strict safety and regulatory compliance
  • Finding the right talent
  • Having the right data

Highlighting gen AI’s potential, the article references a mining company that is scaling its support tools. The company is projected to see “at least a 35 per cent reduction in the time it will take technicians to troubleshoot equipment problems and at least a 25 per cent reduction in the time needed to do unplanned repairs.”

“Given the acute labour shortages in the MRO industry, these capabilities could turn out to be substantial productivity levers. There is also reason to believe that gen AI platforms could boost the quality, consistency, and accuracy of maintenance work, ultimately keeping more aircraft in the sky and minimizing aircraft out-of-service periods.”

Gen AI has the potential to transform the MRO sector, providing a range of solutions to the industry’s workforce challenge. Although its integration comes with a set of obstacles, if successful, the technology could help establish a more efficient, accurate, and safe industry.


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