Every airline is focused on operational performance. And every airline is already trying to monitor the most relevant performance indicators such as punctuality, regularity or misconnex quota.
When talking to performance analysts from airlines across the globe, still most of them tell us that they rely on daily or even weekly and monthly performance reports.
Let me tell you a true fact: Monitoring and managing an airline’s operational performance based on weekly or monthly figures is essential — but they have one big disadvantage in common: They are historical. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying that it isn’t important to do that. Of course, you can analyse historical figures, assess problems, identify root causes and implement measures to avoid recurring problems in the future. This will certainly help to improve your operational performance in the future — but only in the long run.
However, there is a possibility to massively boost your operational performance: Visualize and provide your most important KPIs in real-time — to all related staff.
Let’s spend a second to define what is meant by real-time KPIs. Actually, the KPIs are the same as you have on your daily or weekly reports. But there’s one big difference: The KPIs are calculated every second or whenever new data is available. That means, the punctuality KPI shows the punctuality at this very second. And as soon as new flight data comes in the KPI is updated.
Pretty sure you like that idea of real-time KPIs but I can already see the questions mark above your head, asking how this will help to boost your operational performance.
As always, it’s all about people and all about psychology.
So, here are 3 facts, why real-time KPIs will boost your operational performance:
Employees will be more focused
This is pretty easy to explain. By providing a clear, transparent and real-time big picture, operational staff will act differently. Very often that’s an unconscious change. However, we always get the feedback that employees are focused, when they have access and can easily understand the big picture. This especially accounts, when KPIs are starting to drop or decline. With real-time KPIs the staff is immediately aware that there’s something going on and will be absolutely committed and focused to deliver highest performance.
There are a lot of psychological studies analysing the effect of how situational awareness improves work and work results. Although it is very complex to quantify, all of the studies come to the results, that being aware of a situation massively improves your work.
People love to reach goals
We love to reach goals, don’t we? And trying to reach or finally reaching the goals in terms of punctuality, stability, etc. boost the motivation of your staff. However, there’s pitfall — and this one again is psychological: Cause and effect. To ultimately boost an employee’s motivation, it is important to directly show the effect (of course, with real-time KPIs :)). Although, the human brain is brilliant in many ways, it lacks potential to bring together cause and effect — at least if not directly and timely linked (just think about junk food: We all know that junk food is not healthy, but since the effect is far in the future we underestimate that).
Again, showing the direct effect of employee’s work and reached goals, will boost an employee’s motivation. From experience I can tell you it is unbelievable how hard people work to reach the for example the punctuality goal of a day.
Employees can directly see the impact they make
This one is closely linked with the above, but a bit different from a psychological point view. It’s very common, that people underestimate their impact on the overall success of a company / airline.
“I’m just a ramp agent; if I’m five minutes late it won’t have impact”. That’s simply because employees don’t know the big picture (which is actually not their fault). By providing both specific and overall real-time KPIs for every area, every employee can assess how they are impacting the overall process — and I’m starting to repeat myself — that will additionally motivate.
Real-time KPIs won’t change your processes and they won’t solve fundamental problems — but: they will help your employees to deliver the best performance. And the coolest part: They will deliver that performance because they want it and not because somebody tells them. And finally, improving your daily performance will ultimately contribute to optimizing overall performance which will reflect on your daily, weekly and monthly reports — promised.
Benjamin Walther, CEO, Information Design
Get in touch with Benjamin directly: email@example.com or connect with him on LinkedIn