Field Services

Aviation Services Leader Elevates Global Airport Operations with Orion

Challenge

An aviation services company, providing field services for multiple global airlines at over 75 airports, faced a difficult challenge when they realized their team communications solution didn’t meet their needs.

In a world of oversold flights and tight connection schedules, the performance of service providers is measured in minutes. Delays cause customer dissatisfaction and incur fines for service providers — so dispatchers and their teams can’t afford communications downtime.

The aviation services company manages a host of services in a dynamic dispatch environment: gate services, cabin cleaning, catering, fueling, shuttle transport, and more. Because dispatchers assign tasks on-the-fly to thousands of agents from 6 am to midnight every day, the team needed a communications platform that keeps everyone in sync.

Unfortunately, they found that their existing communications systems failed to support their 20,000-strong mobile workforce. Messages were missed, or garbled, and high staff activity would cause transmission delays at the worst possible moment.

Attempting to solve the problem, management implemented land mobile radio (LMR), which didn’t work for dispatchers due to poor indoor reception. Next, the company tried carrier push-to-talk (PTT) and a simple PTT app, both of which lacked dispatch capability and failed to reliably deliver messages.

Dispatchers resorted to fielding calls on multiple phones, juggling a half dozen conversations with agents. Not only was this stressful and inefficient, but it also left no auditable trail. All of these issues led to longer response times and increased the risk of Service Level Agreement (SLA) violations, fines, and degraded service. Thus the solutions they initially tried made communications more complicated, not less. In the company’s search for a solution, they found many options, but none that were enterprise-ready.

Given these challenges that threatened a risk of lost contracts, the company’s Director of Systems Planning sought a better solution. He chose Orion for its enterprise voice services platform, web-based dispatch console, and reliable PTT communication.

Benefit

Keeping pace with the company’s demanding working environment, Orion onboarded over 1,000 staff members in the first 24 hours of service. Unlike prior solutions that required weeks of implementation and slow transitions from legacy solutions, Orion was established as the voice operations system of record on the first day. Immediately, team members began coordinating tasks using the Orion Push to Talk app on tablets and smartphones.

Dispatchers simply opened web browsers, logged in to Orion Dispatch Console, and got to work immediately. With Dispatch Console, dispatchers could finally oversee operations using one convenient, web-based interface. Finally, they easily reached the team members they needed to smoothly coordinate staff throughout the facility.

The dispatch team frequently utilizes Orion Direct Messaging and location services to efficiently assign tasks. For example, if the restroom near the Gate A10-A30 security checkpoint needs cleaning, the dispatcher finds a janitorial services worker nearby and speaks to them directly, instead of broadcasting to the entire team. Another feature that reduces distraction: built-in Leaders Only permissions that let employees talk only to dispatchers.

In the past, a small error like a missed message could leave a passenger stranded and suddenly disrupt company operations. Now that dispatchers can easily monitor staff location, replay messages, and intervene if work is delayed, Orion has virtually eliminated the company’s operational inefficiencies and saved thousands of dollars a day in fines for service delays.

Ultimately it is this combination of informational awareness and rapid, flexible communication that proved Orion’s value to the company. As one dispatcher said, “Before, I was juggling three phones and constantly moving between my computer, my phone, and tablet. I was overwhelmed. Now, Orion has made everyone on my team more effective by putting us in the right place at the right time.”

After eight short weeks of operating on Orion at two airports, the company expanded to eight more, including two sites in Europe. They also have grown their use of Orion beyond passenger and janitorial services to include catering, cabin cleaning, and maintenance teams. Currently, expansion is on track to encompass the organization’s 10,000 frontline staff globally. As the Director of Systems Planning said, “Orion was the solution we needed to solve our operational headaches.”

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