From thousands of cancelled flights to the collapse of an entire airline, these are challenging times to be in aviation. With Ryanair; the organisation has stated the fact it “messed up in the planning of pilot holidays”1 as the reason behind cancellations impacting hundreds of thousands of travellers (and, very briefly, its share price).
In the case of Monarch; falling revenues, rising costs and security issues were all cited2 as contributing factors in its demise.
There are parallels to be drawn here between the challenges faced by these two airlines and those experienced every day by facilities management organisations that serve the aviation industry – and their fates are very much intertwined.
Challenge 1: Large dispersed workforce with requests for annual leave
What happens when you’ve got 1,000 members of staff, all of whom are entitled to take a holiday? It’s probably a very long time since anyone last used a wall planner, but there are most certainly still organisations trying to get by on Excel spreadsheets.
A scheduling system that as well as handling working hours legislation such as FAA regulation, Drivers Hours Rules or the ‘working time directive’, also connects to the specifics of a contract and enable employees to signify when they can work more hours.
No more holiday headaches. Administration costs in finding available people with the correct skills at any given time are reduced and compliance with legislation becomes easier. This also provides a clear audit trail in case of client query.
Challenge 2: The need to optimise efficiencies
The FM industry is built on people and much as roboticization is heralded as bringing in a new era of automation, it will be a long time before robots replace the front-line human interface.
An example of this is our recent trip to the ASIS 2017 security conference where we spoke with the largest provider of security robots in the world. The current addressable market is limited to just several hundred robots and whilst the technology is undoubtedly valuable, the inability of robots to cope with large crowd situations, be nimble, or deal with behavioural ambiguity demonstrates that for now, we need to seek efficiency in process automation rather than replacing people.
A sound FM management solution will deliver clear, granular instructions that ensure that front line individuals are:
- Assigned to a task that is best matched to their skill set
- Equipped with the right tools and information to carry out the task
- In the right place, at the right time
- Clear on every aspect of the task
- Able to confirm completion of the task via a handheld device
- Immediately able to respond urgent, time-sensitive requests
The human capital employed by an FM organisation is operating at optimal efficiency. This means that not only will the contract be delivered according to agreed SLA’s, but allows scope for managing and tracking unplanned events (for example: a spillage on a concourse).
Challenge 3: Paper-thin margins
According to IATA3, net profitability for the European airline industry currently sits at around 3.7% (North America fares better at 7.2%), this presents a significant risk of one or two major events wiping out any value that exists within the business. With FM margins resolutely single-digit, the need to avoid unnecessary costs wherever possible is coupled with a requirement to drive efficiency in every activity.
Using FM management software enables facilities management organisations to focus on deploying people in the places where they can be most effective: on the front line and managing strategic functions. By coupling intelligent task allocation and team scheduling with smart tracking and reporting, the need to manually fill out paper reports, re-key data into excel spreadsheets or call employees to check availability is removed.
Alongside efficiencies created by appropriate scheduling, reporting becomes real-time, enabling FM organisations to make immediate adjustments and improvements delivering a better overall client experience and increasing the likelihood of contract renewal.
Challenge 4: Complexity of operation
Aviation done well is like a beautiful ballet – every individual working together to deliver something that looks effortless despite the number of variables and moving parts. From an FM perspective this is well represented in aircraft turnaround which allows just twenty-two minutes from start to completion. From disembarking the passengers in the right order to cleaning every tray table and making way for Gate Gourmet to replenish stock, it only takes one person to arrive late or one wheelchair to be in the wrong place to throw the whole thing into disarray.
It’s not, as some people have suggested, IoT. There’s little point in sticking a sensor on a wheelchair if there’s no-one available to move it. The key factor remains that you need the right people in the right place to act upon information received. Using Servicetrac enables FM companies that specialise in the aviation space to keep the whole ballet moving.
By being operating a quality service within an incredibly short amount of time, FM organisations can save aviation companies from financial penalties associated with delayed departures.
With the fine for leaving an aircraft sat on the tarmac running into multiple hundreds of pounds per minute, Servicetrac from Innovise helps facilities management firms to deliver a quality service whilst demonstrating the true value of their workforce.
Find out how Innovise helps OCS deliver continuous improvement in aviation services by watching the video here. To find out how we could help you, get in touch.
Innovise Software is a leading facilities management software supplier to companies across the globe including Canada, the US and UK.
By leveraging Servicetrac and its sister product Timegate, we can help FMs to achieve more with the staff they have and to deliver to a higher standard by working with new technologies.
Sources: 1 Bloomberg 2 BBC News 3IATA