Five Foundations for Guaranteed Baggage Handling

For baggage handling systems located in the busiest terminals of the busiest airports, ALSTEC's systems integration philosophy is to focus on delivering tangible benefits valued by customers. What underpins its contracts, which is particularly significant for managers wishing to achieve better baggage control, is a distinctive mix of stakeholder partnerships, performance guarantees, long-term efficiency payments, sustained system availability, and value for money. This combination forms the core of agreements whereby the company commits itself to keeping its ambitious promises throughout all the stages of project delivery and – when requested – the subsequent years of system operation.

Any specification defining a future upgrade project or an ongoing operation and maintenance service needs to incorporate all of the detailed provisions which will make the system fit for the task of consistently meeting stringent, twenty first century baggage handling priorities. Managers need to be confident that the lower-cost options are not omitting elements whose removal risks a critical loss of effectiveness at peak times or during an unforeseen crisis.

Stakeholder Partnerships

ALSTEC has long term partnerships with prestigious organisations such as BAA, British Energy and the UK's Ministry of Defence. Many of its personnel are based at individual customer facilities, where they work with the customer's own staff as if part of a single team. At London Heathrow, the company manages the activities of some 350 O & M personnel based permanently on-site.

Performance Guarantees

While some of the changes made during a typical upgrade are qualitative, others are quantitative and can be clearly defined in measurable terms – enabling them to be promised at the outset, continuously monitored, and verified over time. Recognised and highly visible key performance indicators are used to assess progress and drive continuous improvements to baggage systems.

Long Term Efficiency Payments

Incentives are built into the contracts, by allowing a proportion of the planned profit to be conditional on the delivery of satisfactory performance relative to factors agreed to be critical measures of success. These factors are typified by minimal disruption to operations, adherence to workplace safety criteria, and compatibility between whole-life costs and earlier predictions.

Sustained System Availability

Uninterrupted operation is viewed as the ultimate priority which preventive maintenance activities based on detailed record keeping and early fault identification are organised to serve. The focus of the strategies embodied in planned maintenance programmes is always to get equipment quickly back into service, while using fall-back routes in the interim. During upgrades, project work is carried out in such a way as to avoid disruption of baggage throughput and associated passenger flow. Break-ins to existing lines are typically carried out overnight, when demand is at its lowest level.

Value for Money

Computer simulations of proposed changes enable their effectiveness to be tested in advance, in terms of both local effects and any potential imbalances created elsewhere in the system. Pre-assembly techniques enable equipment and interfaces to be thoroughly checked prior to installation. Continuous close monitoring of any defect causes and effects paves the way for worthwhile reductions in potential wastage, while also enabling the work's progress to be regularly compared with original concepts.
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