Short-term flight delays, staff calling in sick, changes to holiday and shift plans – in the dynamic environment of ground handling, workforce planning is no easy task. In the aviation industry more than most others, processes have to be coordinated with great precision. Flexibility is also enormously important, as the situation can change at any time depending on the flight schedule. This can render even the best-prepared personnel plans useless. Unforeseeable events can also throw workforce plans into disarray – especially when they come on the scale of a global pandemic, such as the COVID 19.
Perfectly prepared for the unexpected
Coronavirus has hit the aviation industry hard. “Without EPG’s workforce management software, we wouldn’t have been able to react as quickly to changing circumstances during the crisis,” says Martin Paintner, Director Quality, Processes and Project Steering at AHS. “The software enabled us to adapt to different scenarios immediately, and we could also switch to a zero shift plan very quickly. During the run-up phase, the tool helps us to set everything up again, adjust flight schedules, and organize the necessary personnel with great flexibility.”
Workforce management system brings more order to airport operations
Maintaining an overview of daily airport operations has always been a challenge, even in pre-pandemic times. Before introducing WFM, AHS had to use spreadsheets to plan more than 360,000 flights per year (including all associated activities and tasks) at over ten locations. Staff were given handwritten shift and duty rosters. There was no central tool, and each department across all locations was seen as a separate unit. As well as making planning extremely difficult, this also made the entire process very inflexible. AHS plans its workforce in a task-based way, meaning there are no fixed shifts, nor is there any skills planning. This gives the service provider maximum flexibility in the highly volatile aviation business. Finding a partner that could meet the full range of requirements and offer the necessary quality management proved to be extremely difficult. “The decision to work with EPG ultimately came down to strategic considerations,” says Martin Paintner. “The WFM solution also complements our company’s aviation portfolio perfectly. We worked together closely on adapting and developing the system to our exact requirements,” he adds. “This has given rise to a strategic distribution partnership.”
All-in-one software for planning, dispatch and analysis
WFM has become an essential tool at AHS. The system controls all workforce planning processes. It takes care of shift and roster planning, coordinates absences and holidays, and can react to unforeseen situations in a highly flexible way. With the data that is recorded and collected, AHS can now also improve the quality of shift planning for its employees. All service level agreements are defined in advance and stored in WFM. In addition, the process stages are mapped in the system and can be followed by the customer at any time. WFM can therefore also be used for customer communications. The integrated BI tool Pentao delivers efficiency reports which, among other things, provide an overview of all workforce planning processes.
Staff motivation improved with self-service function
WFM involves the employees directly in shift planning. The integrated Turn Around Manager (TAM) app provides them with a digital overview of the tasks for the day. After accepting and starting a task, the planner also has full transparency over the handling process and can intervene directly where necessary. This means that tasks can be easily moved if the daily flight schedule changes. Any warnings, such as in the event of bottlenecks, can also be triggered automatically by the system. Employees can submit holiday and shift requests directly via the mobile app WFM PRO (Personal Request Organizer). “Staff motivation has improved considerably since we introduced this self-service function,” says Martin Paintner. “We can create much better shift plans and tailor them to the exact needs of individual employees. Our staff are impressed with this state-of-the-art solution.” Another advantage: absences can be managed easily, and employees can submit special requests via WFM PRO at any time and from anywhere. The app also provides a complete overview of any other pending tasks, such as planned training courses.
Record more activities, generate more revenue
During the process, WFM knows exactly which services can be invoiced to the customer and, thus, which activities need to be recorded by the employee. This is based on the SLAs that are stored in the system. WFM guides the AHS staff through each individual task.
“We now rely on WFM for everything. The solution eliminates the need to create personnel and shift plans manually, which has always been time-consuming and error-prone. It enables us to create daily plans, as well as providing a month-by-month overview. WFM has become an essential tool for us,” says Martin Paintner.