Many are familiar with the quote from the well-known British mathematician Clive Humby, who said that "data is the new oil". In the 21st century, data is indeed the "new oil" and in following this logic, one can say that labor in quantity and quality must be the "new gold" for many industries.
Traditionally, the most important competitive factors were the customer portfolio and commercial rates, i.e., volume/capacity and price. However, the global market challenges for the airline industry have reached a new level. Today, airlines and their service providers face new market factors, namely labor shortages and supply chain disruptions.
This phenomenon is by no means new. Rather, the transition from product-centricity to customer-centricity has been characterized by an increase in the importance of inclusivity of people to corporate culture. And yes, the pandemic has also perpetuated these challenges pushing four key elements:
- Unpredictable sick leave
- Shifting priorities of people
- Declining employee loyalty
- Strengthening attractiveness and security of other industries
Add to this the ongoing challenges of raw material availability and logistics, increasing uncertainty and inconsistency in service and quality—and you are in a real dilemma.
Thus, many business models are coming under increasing pressure and may even collapse as they are likely to become operationally unhealthy and commercially unviable in the long run. Consequently, airlines and their service providers are likely to operate with a permanent and increasingly difficult struggle for survival in a "blind flight," resulting in dissatisfied customers and a fed-up workforce.
In the short- and long-term, Operations, Commercial, Human Resources and Recruitment departments will continue implementing their plans. However, the most exercised measures revolve around reducing complexity and increasing flexibility. With this in mind, the inflight service and catering departments are working together to implement quick solutions, typically switching from single to double-catered flights, menu and service simplifications, and making appropriate adjustments to fees.
However, such an approach requires current systems in use as the supporting backbone to allow for rapid end-to-end adjustments.
Inflight catering is a complex and complicated process, and very often, the procedures and systems used by airlines are equally complex and complicated. But why does it have to be this way?
The short answer is that it does not. Modern solutions offer a significant plus in flexibility, ease of use and cost by removing cognitively demanding and labor-intensive tasks and automating them, providing a faster and more robust result.
Today, APIs increase the agility of catering departments by streamlining the data coming in and out of their systems. Consequently, more accurate and reliable real-time information provides the foundation for increasingly robust day-to-day operations by making the right data available to the right people at the right time. In addition, small changes that ripple through the airline's operations, such as late adjustments in passenger numbers that affect inflight service inventories, are now seamlessly integrated into systems. This means that countless inputs can vary while outputs adjust effortlessly, increasing flexibility.
LimeFlight is the only fully integrated solution that helps airlines effortlessly streamline their inflight logistics operations. They have achieved this by fully aligning inventory, meal planning and load planning between all stakeholders to ensure that all are working with the same up-to-date information, providing an effective and economically beneficial end-to-end solution. Today, their inflight logistics software is used by airlines worldwide to plan and manage inflight meal services, enable data flow, quickly adapt to changing situations, manage inventory with global real-time tracking of stock, flexibly plan galleys and find optimal uplift locations. With this approach, LimeFlight is the only inflight logistics solution equipped to address the challenges of the airline industry.