- Posted December 7, 2013 by
Sector 126, Noida-Greater Noid, India
This iReport is part of an assignment:
In-flight Catering Management – Serving passengers all around the world
Every year, close to three billion people take to the skies – more than the combined population of the US, China and Russia. Airlines cater to these people from different parts of the world, ethnic regions and religious backgrounds throughout the year with various cuisines - breakfast, lunch, evening snacks and dinner. A large number of airlines staff and departments are dedicatedly involved in delivering these services effectively and efficiently during the flight.
Airlines industry is under immense pressure to improve the catering service and increase profitability, owing to growing competition and rising fuel expenses. A well-managed in-flight catering service can help airlines reduce cost and improve profit margins without compromising on customer expectations and brand values.
What is the need for In-flight Catering Systems?
A majority of airlines companies rely upon external food manufacturers and suppliers for catering services. An international flight that operates in several countries has food and transport partners spread all over the world. It is, therefore, important that flight and load information for all flights is available to operational staff in caterer facilities, and food and transport partners on time. With QOSMOS, an in-flight catering system, airlines can automate the workflow process and interactions among various stakeholders, increasing efficiency and productivity. Airlines can thus better integrate with caterers across the globe to ensure effective collaboration for optimal inventory allocation and catering order automation.
Not just this, in-flight catering systems also provide statistics on caterer performance and service quality. Such reports help track customer complaints and onboard service violations to maintain brand image. A good in-flight catering management system can thus help airlines companies to save millions every year.
Why In-flight Catering Systems?
Airlines spend a huge chunk of their revenue on fuel; even more than the salaries of an airlines company. As per studies, majority of airlines carry additional supply of food and drinks, which often end up as waste after every schedule of a flight. Every ounce of extra weight means aircraft is consuming more fuel to carry it over the sky and back to earth.
The loss involved, however, is multi-fold. What goes into the trash containers is also the cost to prepare meal, transport it from supplier to aircraft, load it into aircraft’s galley, hygienically store food, manpower, time and communication involved, and network and power charges etc. All these put together make a huge difference in an airline’s overall budget.
The increase in the overall budget happen mostly because airlines do not have the right information about the number of food packets and other inventory required in each flight. Thus, airlines end up stuffing itself with extra supplies, lest it compromises on in-flight services. Precise and right information at the right time to the right persons will ensure that food is not wasted and the cost associated with it is also saved.
A good in-flight catering management system is not just about reducing food wastage and better cost management. It means that the well integrated in-flight catering management system must handle all the requirements of an in-flight caterer today. An effective In-flight catering management system must also be able to plan galley load and streamline pre-requisites of a flight’s catering requirements, from end-to-end – i.e. from airlines to supplier and back to airlines. It must be scalable enough to grow with the future requirements of tomorrow.
In-flight Catering gets easier with Effective Galley Planning
Galley load planning is one of the complex tasks an airlines deal with. Optimizing galley supply leads to better fuel consumption and million dollar savings. In order to load galley with required lot, a large number of information is exchanged between an airlines and its food supply partner, several hours before the final take-off of a flight. Information -- ranging from flight schedule, passenger details, number of aircraft staff, menu specification, special meals/snacks, children/infants details, to variety of drinks -- is gathered, sorted, compiled, analyzed and disseminated, hours before a flight takes off to its destination.
In-flight catering management systems, such as QOSMOS, help airlines optimize galley load plan with 3D visualization module. It creates optimized load plans applying appropriate weight and space constraints. This integrated solution streamlines the catering process by ensuring that only defined and necessary load is carried on flight, resulting in lesser fuel consumption and higher profit. QOSMOS comes with features that help monitor and control costs by analyzing catering opportunities, optimizing inventory levels, reducing the use of paper, decreasing telecommunication bills and reducing the manpower involved in handling network growth.
Such systems also provide a single window where information such as menu planning, finances, budgeting etc. are available enabling airline planners and decision makers to respond quickly to operational changes and dynamic market needs. It also helps airlines to have complete control over invoice reconciliation process. Thus, airlines can reduce chances of over payments.
Though planning is done several hours before, galley supply has to be verified and loaded into the aircraft within a short period, so as not to delay the flight. To eliminate delays in catering and commissary supplies loaded into galley, it is also important that there are no errors communicated between airlines and its catering partners. This is the key to generate accurate reports that let airlines and catering partners manage meals, inventory and equipment for every flight.
The galley supply information is made available to cabin crew members on mobile devices such as iPads to help them deliver better customer service and improve productivity. This enables flight attendants to locate special meals and extra supplies on board without searching through each carrier.