KPI dashboards are the perfect solution to control an airline’s operation.

Either real-time or near-real-time, a well-implemented dashboard with a thorough set of KPIs enables a considerable potential for improved monitoring and situational awareness — especially on management and executive level.

Unfortunately, many KPI projects integration projects fail — commonly due to the same mistakes.

Implementing or setting-up a KPI dashboard seems to be a simple and relatively effortless task.

And many times, an airline got in touch with us after 6 or 12 months of unsuccessful — or should I say disillusioned — in-house implementation.

airline kpi mistakes
Source: www.bild.de

Retrospectively, and also based on our experience, projects usually fail because of the following four mistakes:

1 — KPIS ARE NOT CLEARLY DEFINED

Defining KPIs seems to be so trivial in the beginning but swiftly turns out to be super-complex.

Why’s that? Because there are a lot of details, which are not evident in the beginning.

Let’s take an easy example: Departure Punctuality. 

Trivial at first: All flights departing as (or nearly as) planned (an expert would say ATD > STD) in relation to all departed flights. 

Unfortunately, there are dozens of additional questions:

  • What’s the basis for the KPI? Actual and Scheduled time or probably delay times?
  • If we go for delay times, do we receive the delays instantly and in good quality?
  • When does unpunctuality start? 3 minutes late? 15? 16?
  • How do we consider canceled flights?
  • Do we use different thresholds?
  • Shall all airports be included?
  • Shall all aircraft operators be included?
  • And so on

Always bearing in mind: Departure Punctuality is one of the most simple KPIs, and we are already raising numerous questions.

I guess you can imagine how complexity grows when defining KPIs as Ground Time Sufficiency or Misconnex Quota.

The problem now is that most often, instead of considering the complexity in the beginning, development starts on an insufficient specification.

And I’m pretty sure you can imagine how this impacts the project progress and success.

2 — STARTING WITH TOO MANY KPIs

The mentioned complexity and related challenges leads directly to the fact that setting-up a KPI dashboard with too many KPIs isn’t a good idea at all.

We’ve seen so many projects that got stuck because it was not possible to handle the complexity of various KPIs — each with the challenges described above.

Our advice: Start with a small set of KPIs — 3 should be sufficient (Have a look here: 3 KPIs every airline should pay attention to).

And instead of trying to set up several, ultra-complex KPIs, use the three and tailor them to different dimensions (airport, fleets, etc.) — this is much easier and faster but already brings enormous benefits.

3 — PAYING TO LESS ATTENTION TO VISUALIZATION

KPIs are important. Reliable data and correct calculation is essential. But it accounts for 50% only.

The other 50% is about visualization. Without a proper — but preferably perfect and delightful visualization — you won’t get a sustainable usage and success of the dashboard.

And by the way, perfect and delightful is not a question of favors — it’s a science called Information Design.

And again there are so many things, which can be done wrong and which ultimately will lead to a reduced usage:

  • Wrong usage of colors and fonts
  • Improper usage of charts
  • No clear design concept
  • Missing alignment between content and design
  • Unstructured content
  • And many more

4 — REDUCED ACCESSIBILITY

Probably the most critical and absolute killer-mistake: Your dashboard is not seamlessly integrated on required devices (screen, laptop, pad, mobile) and/or cannot be accessed with tools needed at all. 

By the way: When talking about seamless integration, this is not about providing browser access to your dashboard.

Apart from that, there’s not much to say — the project success stands and falls with the accessibility of your user group — take care of it.