Swissport Cargo Services at Heathrow recently unveiled the latest version of its document imaging system (SHIELDIntelefile) supplied by its technology partner Transputec Computers Plc which puts all their airway bills and attachments online in a secure website within 24 hours of a flight arrival or departure.
"The ability to view specific documents or the documentation for entire flights on demand is what has given us a real competitive advantage. No one else can offer this service, at present. The system now provides us with a searchable online database which provides a unique value-added service to our clients. In addition, we now see it as part of the future of the business and we are using it as a sales tool.
The biggest impact is the reduced cost of continuing to make critical information available to any number of our staff online and also to share this information with out customers which gives us a unique market leading strategy."
Steve Ainsley, Managing Director, Swissport Cargo Services
With more than 40 years of experience in ground handling Swissport Cargo Services in the United Kingdom is part of the larger family of Swissport International. Owned by Ferrovial which is based in Spain, Swissport International provides ground services for over 70 million passengers and 3.2 million tonnes of cargo a year on behalf of some 650 client companies. With a workforce of around 30 000 personnel, Swissport is active at 179 airports in 42 countries on five continents. Swissport has been named Global Ground Handler of the Year nine times in a row by ITM (2001-2009). Swissport Heathrow is one of its busiest stations.
Asked about the business drivers which lead to the development of this innovation Steve Ainsley MD of Swissport Heathrow said: "We at Swissport have always been market leaders in the use of innovative technological. We were the first with truck waiting time software and other innovations. When we set out on this journey with our technology partners Transputec our aim was to cut down paper work initially and to provide a simple archiving solution to free up valuable floor space for business use."
Five years ago Swissport Heathrow went into partnership with document imaging specialists Transputec to develop a solution specific to the handling, availability, searching and storage of documents specific to aircargo needs.
Steve said: "At that time our target was to achieve 5 main aims: reduce the amount of photocopying, reduce space required for storage, improve the speed of retrieval, make cost savings across the whole area of managing documents and improve the handling of customer queries."
To achieve this Swissport commissioned a feasibility study from Transputec to review current business practices and workflow with a view to proposing areas where both technology and change in processes could reduce costs and improve efficiency.
Transputec identified a number of opportunities where costs reductions, process streamlining and service quality could be improved. "We did this by creating a platform whereby people in different communities, staff, customers and airline partners and customs could eventually help themselves to the relevant information which in itself would bring many benefits both tangible and intangible." said Rickie Sehgal, Managing Director of Transputec.
Now in fifth year SHIELDIntelefile is used widely across Swissport Cargo Services UK internally and with their airline partners and HM Customs. Swissport recognises that it gives them something unique to sell to clients and partners. They now use the system as part of their service offering when pitching to new and prospects customers.
The documents are collected at 7.30 AM every morning by Transputec staff. They are scanned and verified and within 24 hours they are all viewable via our secure website. Data is written to WORM (Write Once Read many Times) drives. This solution is accepted by Customs & Excise and the other regulatory bodies as a legally compliant solution.
"The ability to view specific documents or the documentation for entire flights on demand is what has given us a real competitive advantage. No one else can offer this service, at present. The system now provides with us with a searchable online database which provides a unique value added service to our clients. In addition, we now see it as part of the future of the business and we are using it as a sales tool." said Steve.
On measurable savings Steve said "We have made quantifiable saving on photocopying (previously 2,500,000 copies equating to a year £250,000); Microfiching ( £30,000 a year); on staff (we had to have a team of people to manage search microfiches to answer queries) on storage (at £20 a square foot which we can reuse or let) and across the whole area of managing documents. However, the biggest benefit was to improve customer satisfaction and we have achieved this thanks to Transputec by improving the handling of customer queries."
"But" Steve added "The biggest Impact is the reduced cost of continuing to make critical information available to any number of our staff online and also share this information with out customers which gives us a unique market leading strategy."
Looking to the future Steve said "We see SHIELDIntelefile integrating with Cargospot 2000 as a way of meeting new compliance regulations as well as making information available on demand. We see the service evolving to 3 or 4 collections a day. For the future we would like to go for a 24 hour realtime scanning service with pick up perhaps 3 times a day so that documents are online almost immediately. We see SHIELDIntelefile as a value added service for clients with all documents available the following day. We also recognise that this system has broad application for other of our departments such as accounts and HR to manage their regulatory paper. Eventually we would like to see the system rolled out throughout the Swissport network in Europe."
But adding a note of realism Steve warned "It doesn't matter what software tool you have the reality is that staff will often only use 10% of the functionality. The key is to have the strength of management to implement it consistently."
For more information about SHIELD Intelefile, call the Sales Information Centre at +44 (0)208 584 1400. This case study is for information only. Transputec Computers Plc makes no warranties, express or implied, in this summary.