Airports Turn to Lean Six Sigma to Solve Passenger Congestion, Baggage Handling Issues

Airports Turn to Lean Six Sigma to Solve Passenger Congestion, Baggage Handling Issues

By Discovery Lean Six Sigma

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Airports around the world have turned to Lean Six Sigma to solve some of the most common problems they experience. Anyone who has ever flown likely has dealt with long delays in security lines, difficulty navigating the airport because of lack of signage and congestion everywhere.

Lean Six Sigma, with its focus on efficiency and customer service, offers solutions for these types of snarled processes. More and more airports are taking advantage.

In Malaysia, for example, airport officials used properly placed digital signs to inform passengers of what they can and cannot take through security. This cut one of the biggest time wasters at the airport – having to go back through security – from 40% of passengers to just 10%.

In a statement, Malaysian Airport Holdings CEO Raja Azmi Raja Nazuddin said that implementing Lean has cut down wait times overall.

“Data have shown that by applying Lean methodologies we achieved our target at almost 90% of the time with the average queue time at immigration being 10 minutes for departure and 15 minutes for arrival,” he said.

Raja Azmi explained that the Malaysia Airport also was able to “alleviate passenger anxiety” in the lines for those flying to other countries by installing a time indicator showing how long passengers would have to wait in line.

Overall, the use of digital message boards placed at critical passenger “touch points” around the airport has reduced congestion and improved foot traffic flow. The airport identified 139 Lean initiatives and has already implemented 90% of them.

Security Lines in Brussels

Brussels Airport also have put Lean into action to streamline security at the airport. By studying data from multiple trials, the airport made changes to the security process that included placing a “passenger facilitator” at the beginning of the screening lane and placing a support agent at the end of the lane.

The idea is to have someone there to both help passengers prepare for screenings and help them get back their items when they are done.

The airport has trained 800 employees in the new systems. The result: a 95% satisfaction rate among passengers going through the new security lines at the Brussels Airport. Thomas Sterken, a capacity planning and optimization manager at Brussels Airport Company, said a great deal of the success is due to the fact that “our staff embraced the changes well, thanks to our investment in training and coaching.”

Baggage Handling at Kenya Airways

In Kenya, a project to make baggage handling more efficient achieved strong results and potentially relieved many headaches for travelers. In 2016, Kenya Airways applied Lean Six Sigma strategies to address issues with baggage handling for connecting flights, something that often leads to flight delays as planes wait for baggage to be loaded.

They used the Six Sigma methodology of DMAIC (define, measure, analyze, improve, control) to apply a continuous improvement cycle to how baggage was handled on connecting flights.

The goal was to reduce the number of plane turnaround delays. Overall, the airline reduced baggage handling-related delays by 65%.

Cutting Down Passenger Wait Times

In airports around the world, the goal of employing Lean and Six Sigma is to make traveling through an airport more efficient and convenient for passengers. As the Malaysian Airport and Brussels Airport projects show, sometimes this can come down to providing passengers the right information or assistance when needed.

Technology also plays a role. In the United States, the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) has used new technology to rapidly scan for items in baggage, cutting down passengers’ wait times in the security line. TSA has invested millions of dollars to find ways to use process improvement in making passenger experience better without sacrificing safety.

Given the large number of processes involved in moving through the airport – from finding a parking spot all the way to boarding the plane – there are many ways to implement Lean Six Sigma and make those processes better.

The post Airports Turn to Lean Six Sigma to Solve Passenger Congestion, Baggage Handling Issues appeared first on Six Sigma Daily.

By: admin
Posted: March 15, 2019, 1:52 pm

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