Boosting back office productivity for an airport operator 

The challenge

As a result of a steep fall in revenue a leading airport company needed to make significant reductions in its operating costs to maintain profitability. We were tasked with helping the company’s Business Support Centre, which provides group shared services to six airports, to improve productivity in all core functions, particularly finance, by at least 20% in just 3 months.

How we helped

Our own experience has shown that a high level of employee engagement is the only way to sustain a new process.

We began by engaging with the client’s project team to fully understand the current state of their processes. Using Lean tools and techniques we worked with them to identify opportunities for improvement and together we created a new way of working.

Tasks were standardised and planning made predictable, eliminating the need for time-consuming handovers.

This new approach dramatically reduced the number of call backs by establishing a dedicated team trained and empowered to provide immediate solutions.

It further allowed both staff and management to have real-time visibility of the department’s performance, with the ability to raise issues and resolve them before they could impact on customer service and SLAs.

The results

By the end of the 12 week project the following benefits had been achieved:

  • Productivity had improved by twice the target to 40%
  • This resulted in transaction processing times reducing from 10 days to less than two
  • It also allowed staff the time to start targeting old debt previously seen as low priority, enabling more proactive credit management and significantly reducing exposure to debt.

The change from a workplace dominated by peaks and troughs of activity to a more stable and efficient approach, substantially increased employee engagement and the long-term success of the transformation.

A marked reduction in days lost through absence and sickness was also identified as being indicative of employee buy-in.

Moreover, the transformational skills and knowledge transferred to the client’s own internal practitioner team means that they are now able to lead change programmes in other areas of the client’s business with no external support.