Higher Skies taking flight

12 November 2021

Since August 2020, Allinq has been managing Schiphol Airport’s entire passive infrastructure. After an intensive first six months, the experiences of the various sourcing parties were combined, and the Higher Skies optimisation project was launched.Together with Schiphol Telematics (ST), sourcing partners Allinq, Conscia and Orange Cyberdefense want to improve the performance of the processes so that they are more with the customer’s requirements.

Manon Aprahamian is Project Flow Manager at AAS. She explains: “After we took over the work of ST last year, together with the other two sourcing partners we realised that there was plenty more to be gained from the collaboration. Cross-chain collaboration can add great value. And Higher Skies is the result.” The programme was launched in March 2021. Manon: “The transfer of Schiphol Telematics to the sourcing partners was done very carefully. Each partner has its own responsibility, but how well are we doing together? What is our joint approach to Schiphol Airport’s ambition to become the best digital airport in the world? As chain partners, are we all on the same wavelength?”

Three framework topics

In March, we defined the three ‘framework topics’ with the highest priority at that time. These are themes to which we attached different goals and actions. This included action cards for the sourcing partners on which the deliverables and other targets were recorded. The following three framework topics were specified: KPIs, Quality and Process. Manon on the KPIs: “We asked ourselves: what exactly are we measuring? It turned out that not everyone shared the same idea. In the Higher Skies programme, we’re primarily focusing on the NSNC projects: Not Standard, Not Complex. The goal of the KPIs is to jointly use an unambiguous measuring system so that we can measure the performance of the various partners in both an NSNC and a Complex process. It’s important that all the parties use the same measuring points and clear-cut reports. So that we can finally compare apples with apples. And not apples with oranges.”

‘Experience’ sessions

Productive sessions were also organised for the Quality framework topic. “We randomly pulled a number of orders from the system. The progress of the orders was analysed. From the moment the customer issues the order to the central service integrator up to and including completion of the order. This could involve setting up a workplace, for example. Or laying a fibre optic cable from A to B.” The customer cases were unravelled in what we call ‘experience’ sessions. These expose the entire process: such as the communication points, the waiting times between different actions and the information supplied to the customer. Not forgetting the interfaces between the partners for the order in question. “Which issues are my sourcing partners encountering? Are they experiencing the same as us or are they running into other issues

Tuning and monitoring

Eight actions were assigned to the Quality framework topic. These include organising a daily stand-up in which the partners jointly go through and coordinate their requests and ongoing business. Another action card is to make one person responsible for each framework topic. They are also the central contact person for this topic. The basic principles were also defined for the introduction of a traffic-light report. Among other things, this allows the delivery dates of quotations to be monitored. “The close contact with the customer is also very important”. Through direct contact, we can discuss wishes or details that might otherwise remain underexposed. That’s why we encourage the customer to regularly contact us if they have major requirements, urgent requests or other matters.”

Planning and the situation on the ground 

Then the third framework topic: Process. Here, particular attention was devoted to the quotation and information requests. Manon: “When Schiphol Telematics was transferred to the three sourcing partners in August 2020, we had worked out the process for that. And we’ve stuck to that process. In March 2021, we looked at the extent to which this process ties in with our practical experiences of the past nine months. Can it be done better? Faster? Are the responsibilities always equally clear? We identified nine gaps: points where our process description didn’t always match the situation on the ground.” We created an action card for this too. The definitions of the information requests were refined. The process for this was redesigned. Here, too, the human factor was given the necessary attention. Any ambiguities in the mutual expectations between the chain partners were removed. And we tried to help the partners understand each other’s processes and challenges.”

Kick-off phase 2 

Manon looks back with satisfaction on the approach to the first three framework topics. “Thanks to the weekly efforts of all the chain partners, we’ve had some success with all three items. The atmosphere is positive, we have a great team and there’s a lot of energy. There’s also a spirit of cooperation across the chain. These actions and outcomes enable us to take a step forward and give us a good basis for the following framework topics: Customer and System & Tooling. We launched this recently. During the kick-off, people enthusiastically brainstormed on these two items, and the first action cards were launched based on the results. One of the goals is to increase the customer experience and the close contact between the chain and the customer. In other words, to strengthen the ties with the customer. Which improvements and/or adjustments are needed in the existing processes? We can only answer this question by sharing experiences and ideas throughout the chain. On to more great successful results!”