Improve Your Load Control Efficiency (2) - Correct Usage of the System
Apr 05, 2016
You probably have experienced the following situation while using Microsoft Word®:
You are in hurry, because you need this 30-page document to be ready by tomorrow. But instead of creating first a style sheet, you – because you have forgotten how to create a style sheet – try to save time by simply typing the whole text into a blank document. Afterwards you bring it into the desired design by formatting it manually.
The question is: “Did you really save time?”
I say no! It´s because the time you “saved” by directly typing without creating a style-sheet before, will be exceeded by the time spent with all this manual formatting.
It might even become an ultimate catastrophe for your time management, if your boss asks you to change the font style or headline sizes. As you worked without a style sheet you most likely will have to “re-design” everything again manually – instead of simply adjusting the style sheet. The original idea of doing something fast and efficient then results in the fact that you have worked very inefficient.
This simple example shall show you that the usage of IT support that is designed to help you to improve the efficiency and quality of your work routines is not always utilized by its full extent. We all know this by the one or the other application being used by us.
Reasons for that might be:
- The IT user got no or no good training and thinks, he is already working efficiently. He simply doesn’t know that there are ways to do it even better (like by using a style sheet in the above described example).
- The IT user received a (good) training and knows that there is a more efficient way. But he simply has forgotten it. Due to maybe time limitations or laziness to refresh his knowledge by looking it up, he prefers to do it “this fast way” (and actually thinks he is more efficient).
The same effect actually applies for the efficient usage of a Weight and Balance solution. I can say from my personal experience, that I saw the same phenomenon among Load Control system users. Besides using the operational system for the creation of the loading instructions and load sheets not always in the best way, I noticed moreover that some airlines don´t put enough focus on the configuration of the Master Data of their IT load control system. This is a big mistake, because the Master Data actually represents the brain of the system. The bad effect: Useful features that simply have to be configured beforehand to facilitate working routines and therefore improve the Load Controller’s efficiency won´t come into effect – even if they exist (like the style-sheet in above example). These helpful configurable features might for instance be:
- automatic transfer of a cargo table after any update
- automatic assignment of a galley or pantry code or
- automated passenger and bag weight assignment for one flight
What might be appropriate solutions for better efficiency here?
Looking at reason one (= user doesn´t even know he works inefficiently): When implementing a new system or employing new Load Controllers, please consider training or extra training rather as investment than as expense. It will pay out for you later. The more the users are skilled from the very beginning, the more they will not fall into inefficient routines. It is always more difficult to get rid of bad habits and routines, we all know that.
For the second reason (= user got training, but simply forgot some things): We all know how we feel after a training. We learned it all, but when it comes to real life, not all taught content will immediately be utilized from the very beginning. The reason: It is not needed or it is simply too much information at once for the new user. As the brain works economically people forget about some features. The recommended solution is to ask your IT provider for refresher trainings. Alternatively, you can invite a product specialist to monitor the usage of some users under efficiency aspects. Again – it is not an expense, it is rather an investment into your Load Control efficiency.
These might be steps that you can initiate. But how can an IT system help you to improve here?
For an efficient usage of your Load Control system a workflow-oriented processing is the solution, like it is provided by NetLine/Load, the Weight and Balance Solution of Lufthansa Systems. This means: No load sheet can be issued if not all pre-configured steps and actions are carried out in a specific sequence and each step is needed to be completed successfully. The user will be led through the system, similar to a so called “wizard”. There is even one more positive side effect: Besides having the benefit of improved efficiency, workflow-orientation will also help you to increase the safety of your Load Control operation as no load sheet can be issued without completing previous steps.
This was my second blog post of the series “How to improve Load Control efficiency". In my next blog article I will share my thoughts on how cultural behavior might have an impact on your Load Control Center or department. Stay tuned and share your thoughts by commenting this blog.
Improve your efficiency. Thoughts at the beginning of the year:
Improve your Load Control efficiency (3): Why culture matters!
Improve your Load Control efficiency (4): Why the auto-load button doesn´t always make your life easier…:
Improve your Load Control Efficiency, Part 5.1: Organizational Aspects: