Latest research demonstrates why intelligent software is crucial to tackling the challenges of complex contracts.
April 2015 saw the 28th International Ground Handling Conference (IGHC) take place in Istanbul, bringing together key leaders and stakeholders from around the world. Over the course of three days, the event attempted to address the key theme “value at the crossroads of service of costs”.
Zafire, one of the event’s sponsors, was invited to present an informative workshop, ‘Tackling the complex challenges of contract management and billing’, where, using technology, intelligent software and IATA best practice and standards, they addressed the challenges that the aviation industry faces in complex contract management and billing.
“It’s clear from the projects we’re involved in and client feedback we’ve received, dealing with global contracts that span countries and airports with different service charges across the board makes for complicated contract set-up processes and service capture and billing routines.” Peter Ball, Business Development at Zafire.
Delegates were surveyed and asked a series of questions in order to discover common practices across the industry and to demonstrate how by replacing manual processes with intelligent software and automated business rules, they could:
- Dramatically reduce the time it takes to set up contracts
- Increase additional service charge capture by 25%
- Ensure accurate and timely billing
- Remove the need of manual data entry and reduce errors
- Transform data into meaningful and useful business intelligence.
70% of those surveyed revealed that their organisation’s contract management system did not fully integrate with their service capture system, citing the cost and the complexity of achieving this as the prime reasons. 40% admitted to spending over a day on average when setting up complex contracts, showing there are clear time savings to be made.
The strong demand for something better was very evident, with 40% of those attending stating that their current solution did not meet their automation requirements.
Over 30% of those surveyed currently use paper based tools to manage their aviation contracts, leading to inaccurate recording of tasks and events and an inability to correctly determine the reasons for delayed departures. There was agreement that intuitive solutions controlling above and below the wing activities would facilitate better service delivery, meeting SLAs, improve contract compliance and leverage additional billing opportunities whilst avoiding financial penalties.
Attendees estimated that up to 40% of additional services they deliver are never invoiced using their current processes, leading to lost revenues. This result prompted debate around the effectiveness of data capture solutions to resolve the problem. Automating invoice generation including multi-currency and local tax calculations would also allow for consolidated and split billing with data coming directly from the turnaround job, with no need to re-key information.
Following a review of the delegate’s feedback conversation moved on to look at why many across the industry experience the same challenges. Two of the main challenges discussed in detail were:
Limited or no visibility of individual aircraft turnarounds to determine if departures will be delayed
The use of paper based recording of turnaround events can lead to inaccurate recording of tasks and events and an inability to correctly determine the reasons for delayed departures.
Delegate feedback prompted discussions around automated solutions and how they enable data to be shared seamlessly between the back office and staff on the ground using mobile applications. When in place it was evident that back office systems would provide managers with cost control, operational visibility and comprehensive reporting while powerful mobile solutions help maintain a constant two-way flow of information helping to keep ground crews, service teams and fleet personnel instantly up to date.
Users would be provided with the ability to view the progress of individual flights showing current SLA status or a consolidated view of all flights with mobile solutions providing simple and intuitive ways to accurately record various types of turnaround events, including times, durations, counts, and GPS positioning.
When adding the ability to configure bespoke processes, the possibility of reacting immediately to internal or customer driven change requirements, specifying what data to capture at every step of the process in the mobile application was realised.
Peter Ball concluded by saying “With the evidence clearly demonstrating a need for improvement in the way processes are managed, the benefits of an end-to-end intelligent software solution become apparent, resulting in increased time savings, accurate billing and critical business intelligence.”