In 1998, Michael Lentini bought a FBO that was losing about $5,000.00 a month. He became painfully aware that the aircraft maintenance industry has been plagued with an onslaught of paperwork that was generally making the physical “work” of repairing an aircraft pale in comparison. It is not uncommon, on small repairs, for the paperwork and administration aspect of the job to take as long, or longer, than the repair itself. Lentini found people writing the same items over and over again long hand then giving to someone else to enter the same info into a computer system again.
In order to meet the demands of the Federal Aviation Administration, he needed to not only order parts from his vendors, but had to also perform an incoming inspection to ascertain the validity of the parts (that oil filter is, in fact, an oil filter), receive the part into inventory, log the cure date if the part expires and periodically inventory the parts room to make sure he did not lose precious stock. Lentini also needed to maintain a file of invoices for the parts he had sold, so that eight months in the future, when a customer’s vacuum pump failed, he could figure out where it was purchased and handle the warranty claim.
On the shop floor, the mechanics needed to greet the customer that required work performed on their aircraft, grab a work order form and write down what the customer wanted, fill out a parts order form to give to the parts department, and perform the repairs to the aircraft. Each mechanic was required to write down the corrective actions that he performed on the work order and, when the aircraft was done, get the paperwork to the parts department to make sure that the parts used were billed out.
When the parts department had audited and completed their portion of the paperwork packet, it was then routed to the front office, where the packet was audited by the Director of Maintenance, who would verify that the parts used have the associated tags and form 8130’s, verify that the work was signed off using the correct verbiage, verify that parts needed for the repairs were actually billed on the work order, and ascertain that the mechanic that performed the work also signed off the work in accordance with the Repair Station manual.
At this point a log book entry could be typed up for the work and inserted in the aircraft’s appropriate log book and the paperwork packet was then routed to the billing clerk so that an invoice can be generated from the work order. Parts sheets were reviewed to determine what stock was used on the job, timecards were reviewed to determine how much labor along with the correct labor rate that should be on the invoice, and then FINALLY, the customer can be billed.
EBis is Born
EBis was born in 1999 when Michael Lentini bought an FBO. Lentini previously had been in the computer business, he immediately started to look for software to run his shop. He was quickly surprised by the limited amount of software out there and how old the technology was. Lentini found out there was nothing out there that did what he wanted - something written for the shop that met all F.A.A. Repair Station requirements.
Michael then contacted a friend of his, Eric Baal, and Eric agreed to come home over his spring break from college and write something that he could use in the shop - and EBis was born.
Eric spent all summer following around the technicians and seeing what EBis needed to do and how to improve frequent tasks. Word about the application started to spread and EBis was featured in AMT Magazine (Sept 1999). The application, originally created without the goal of selling it, was sold to its first customer in October. Walter Mangon, an Aviation Master Mechanic Award Winner, bought it for his shop, Mangon Aircraft, Inc., in Petaluma, CA.
Over the past 16 years, EBis has gone through countless improvements including two rewrites that have kept EBis running on the latest technology. DatcoMedia has continued to update EBis, and these are included free in the yearly service contract. DatcoMedia also takes user input seriously and are constantly adding features requested by users.
Today, EBis is used by a wide array of users from multiple location jet centers to engine shops to small single location operations from the United States to Canada to Europe. In addition, EBis is used at the factory repair stations for Cirrus and Piper.
Today, EBis 3 is used at hundreds of repair stations throughout the US, Canada, Mexico, Europe, and Australia.
EBis GSE, originally developed in 2004 with Southwest Airlines to replace their internal system, is used to manage the ground support operations of Southwest Airlines, Delta Airlines, JetBlue, and Virgin Australia. It is used also by third party maintenance providers such as ABR Aviation in Australia to help provide first class service to GSE customers.
EBis GSE also has full supply chain integration with Napa and Sage, full integration with "smart" meters allowing for automatic preventive maintenance, and has a comprehensive set of automatic reports that can be emailed directly every morning, without having to access EBis.