Why USM and why now?

In an era where environmental sustainability has become as crucial as operational efficiency, one might argue that our industry stands at a crossroads. Even though the sector has been around for years, the urgent push towards eco-friendly practices has ramped up the awareness and acceptance of Used Serviceable Material (USM).

With a market size valued at $6.9 billion in 2022 and projected growth to $9.906 billion by 2032, USM is no longer just an esoteric acronym used by a small segment of people; it's a transformative approach that addresses both the economic and environmental imperatives of the times.

Why now?

Because the industry needs to reconcile the increasing demand for air travel with the pressing need to reduce waste, making the utilisation of USM a practice whose time has come.

What are the projected benefits of USM?

The adoption of USM into MRO heralds a plethora of benefits. Foremost, it promises considerable cost efficiency and resource optimisation—vital for an industry looking to streamline budgets and invest in future advancements. Environmentally, it's a boon, prolonging the life of aircraft parts, thus curtailing the need for new production and its associated carbon footprint. Furthermore, the rigorous inspection and recertification processes ensure that USM components satisfy the highest safety and quality standards, providing airlines with parts that are both reliable and readily available, leading to faster turnaround times and reduced aircraft downtime.

What about traceability?

It's well understood that safety is the keystone of the aviation industry. And reliability is the support structure holding up aviation MRO. Traceability is essential to maintaining both safety and reliability.

Therefore, when it comes to USM, without meticulous traceability, aftermarket parts lose their value, posing a challenge for the industry to enforce efficient digital documentation practices.

Regardless of the obstacles, the opportunities that aftermarket parts pose are significant enough that there will be a growing financial incentive to rapidly overcome them.

How have perceptions changed?

The tide is turning in favor of USM. Once viewed with skepticism due to concerns over quality and reliability, today's USM parts, backed by rigorous certification, are dispelling doubts. Airlines and Maintenance, Repair, and Overhaul (MRO) providers are increasingly recognising the economic and environmental value of incorporating USM into their material management programmes.

Challenges and Opportunities

The USM market, while ripe with opportunity, does not come without its challenges. As mentioned before, the need to increasingly digitise the MRO industry should remain an ongoing priority.

However, what is probably the most paramount concern is that newer aircraft have longer lifecycles - meaning that there are fewer retirements, and therefore less harvestable material.

With all that said, however, the opportunities are substantial. The hard push towards meeting sustainability goals opens up avenues for USM to be a serious player within MRO across the globe. With the right investments in technology and a collaborative approach across OEMs and MROs, the full potential of USM could be unleashed, playing a significant role in the aviation industry's journey to 'Net Zero' by 2050.