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One of the biggest challenges for mobile workers is matching an appropriate form factor (e.g. laptop, PDA, smartphone, or tablet) with a customized mobile application. Airline ground service provider Worldwide Flight Services (WFS) found itself in this position following a request from one of its customers. WFS is one of the largest ground handling companies in the world with more than 10,000 employees and operations at more than 115 airports around the world. The company provides cargo, ramp, passenger, and technical services to the global airline industry.
British Airways had been using the same manual invoicing and SLA (service level agreement) tracking system for many years and decided it needed to improve both processes. The airline company sent out an RFP to several of the ground handler companies it worked with, including WFS. The RFP required ground handling companies to describe in detail how they would handle electronic invoicing and streamline the SLA process.
One of the problems the airline wanted to resolve was inaccurate reporting on its SLA checklist. "There are more than two dozen metrics that airline ground transportation companies capture for each flight," says John Robinson, vice president of IT at WFS. "For example, first-class bags are required to be removed from the aircraft within minutes of arrival and available for passenger pickup. Not surprisingly, when companies use manual reporting methods, their performance ratings appear to be at or above 99 percent." Anyone who travels very much knows that 99 percent isn't reality. And, airlines know it's not reality, either.
Because of the job routines performed by many of WFS's ground service support personnel, carrying around a 5-to-10-pound tablet or notebook wasn't a good fit. Also, a pure PDA-based solution would require the workers to carry multiple communications devices such as cell phones and/or walkie-talkies, which would be a nuisance. WFS's research led it to a smartphone solution.
Source: Integrated Solutions, http://integratedsolutionsmag.com
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