I would like to share with you some more excerpts from my book ‘Beyond airline disruptions: Thinking and managing anew’ in hope that they will inspire you to start rethinking the way you work, and discover hidden opportunities for improvement.
You won’t find lots of data and statistics in this book. This is because you already have too much of them. You will rather learn how to make sense of numbers aggregated in your company’s reports, understand where do they come from, and how to create a platform that supports decision making in complex and dynamic airline system.
I invite you to embark on this exciting journey and hope that the following excerpts will give you a better idea what this is all about:
We need to recognise that inherited management methods and information systems can no longer serve the purpose. Traditional planning and forecasting are not suitable to keep the pace with what is happening in the real world. We need to find a new way of system management that acknowledges its dynamics and interactions, and constantly balances between profit and quality. The key to managing such a system is understanding of operational changes, especially when they exceed the acceptable level built in the company’s plan and start generating additional cost and decline in service quality with longer term consequences. These changes – that we will refer to as disruptions – are the sweet spots where the results of all systems activities, for better or for worse, become visible, measurable, and their deeper origins trackable. They are the place from where we can start connecting instead of counting dots.
By making decisions based on too many assumptions, we unknowingly create more problems elsewhere and are unable to measure their impact on the system due their complexity. When we compare the planned and actual results published in company reports, we cannot say what is beyond these figures, what really happened and why, and what we need to improve. Regardless of amount of data we collect and analyse, sometimes the impact of our decisions is minor, and sometimes it can have longer-term implications on the system performance that we wouldn’t be aware of. This is because the system we are in is not designed to manage things we are facing in real life. Complexity arises from interactions between people and processes that are the very nature of airline business, but existing information systems and management do not recognise it. Hence the detachment between strategy and operations, plans and reality.