Digitizing individual production steps in the kinds of complex work environments found in LSG Sky Chefs units is no easy undertaking. “Whenever you start moving things around within individual production processes, it’s a lot like performing open-heart surgery. You have to proceed with care to avoid disrupting ongoing activities”, explained Natalie Schlegel, a business analyst in the LSG Group. However, trial runs under real conditions are a must. “You also need a good dash of pioneering spirit.”
And this is where our colleagues in the North America region come in. The 25 LSG Sky Chefs units generating the most revenue there are looking to make the switch to paperless production by 2019. Specifically, this means extensively digitizing administrative processes involving local workstations with the aim of considerably reducing the workload. The paper folders and production sheets used in isolation at each workstation at every unit are to vanish along with the associated Excel sheets used to note production times and volumes. All of these process steps are part of the variable production schedule (VPS), which has been paper based to date.
“We are moving with the times here by digitizing all VPS-related processing”, said Schlegel. In the future, colleagues will use permanently installed touchscreens at their workstations. The specific production volumes and time slots will be displayed on an app installed there for every shift. “Everyone will then know precisely what is needed when and why. In real time.”
VPS app: for greater transparency
As the key benefit of this digitization drive, the direct link to the production data saved in CBASE will allow for flexible adjustments to even last-minute changes in customers’ flight operations. Each workstation involved can be updated without delay. “The exchange of paper-based work orders previously needed in such cases will be completely eliminated”, explained Schlegel. “This will provide greater production transparency and allow us to be more flexible in our planning by taking into account the team strengths per shift. We will be able to manage capacity more specifically as well. We will also benefit from cross-unit networking of VPS data, which will be pooled in the future and facilitate targeted optimisations.”
This is a key advantage for our customers. “All of the airlines that work with us deal with increasingly spontaneous passengers with more individual approaches, which means they need to be as flexible as possible. We are ready to meet this challenge as a partner by offering a contemporary solution that utilizes the potential unlocked through consistently digitizing our processes.” As expected, customer feedback has been favorable. “We are receiving considerable support for the digitization approach adopted in North America.”
Top 25: Seattle is just the beginning
Our Hong Kong colleagues, who already took an important step towards digitization with eHACCP, had prepared the ground well. Our colleagues in North America used their solution and further enhanced it in cooperation with Corporate IT. “We were already able to develop a proof of concept with our app on this basis in 2016”, explained Schlegel. “We tested whether our idea held up in reality at selected workstations in the units in Dallas, Seattle and Los Angeles for a week in each case. We could never have learned the same as quickly in a laboratory setting.” The feedback from operational colleagues on the ground was particularly essential to optimizing the user friendliness and handling of the VPS app. “We then successfully embarked on the final stage in July 2017, with live operations at the first digitized facility in Seattle.” Next will come the units in Dallas, Miami, Los Angeles and JFK 1371. “We’ve a lot planned yet!”