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c01 case1a ans

Operations management
Answer: A business trip to Brussels
Identify all the processes and their activities that were mentioned in the
case study.
The processes are categorised in 'order of appearance' in Attachment 1. In class this
stage can be missed, going straight on to the analysis matrix. For assessed work both
steps would probably be used.
Classify them in accordance with their type.
Refer to Attachment 1. Try drawing up a matrix that allows the processes to be
identified and classified in some way. This could be according to the 4Vs characteristics
of each process. Alternatively, a more straightforward classification could be based on
what is being transformed in the process (materials, information, or customers) and what
exactly is changing (shape, location, ownership, psychological state, etc.).
Starting with the blank matrix, one could fill it out on a board or overhead projector.
This is a good way of getting interaction with a big class early on in a course. Everyone
has an opinion, and there is a lot of debate about where each activity should fit. Often,
there are many places to put some activities, so we may decide to classify only dominant
types of processing. In each case, ask what is being processed (material, information,
customers) and how is it being transformed to give added value. The downside of this
approach is the time it will take: allow at least half an hour for about 20 activities.
Which of these processes were most affected by the severe weather?
The case study describes the effect of severe weather on the daily processes within the
airport. All the processes listed in Question 1 face a challenge due to the weather
conditions, but in the majority of cases this is not caused directly by the weather. Rather,
the severe weather affects some processes, which in turn cause problems in other
processes. This creates an operational ‘chain reaction’. Refer to Attachment 2.
Air traffic control (ATC) reacts to the severe weather first by closing and later reopening
the airfield. This process then uses the limited flexibility of its operations by
rescheduling aircraft take-off and landing slots. Meanwhile, on the airfield itself, runway
Chapter 1: Short case study – answer
Copyright © 2006 Pearson Education Limited
Slack: Operations Management, 5th edition
clearance and de-icing operations commence as a direct consequence of the severe
The ongoing rescheduling of the flights has consequences for information processing
operations (general flight information, inter-airport communications and customer
announcements) and operations involved in aircraft turnaround. ATC cannot, however,
break the safety rules for separation of aircraft, and often increases effective capacity by
batching groups of landings and then of takeoffs. One may therefore assume that many
flights have been compacted, shortening the time between them. Consequently, many
operations have to increase their speed and flexibility to meet this challenge.
The processes affected are in-flight catering, aviation refuelling, baggage handling,
cabin cleaning, servicing units, technical maintenance, passenger/crew transport,
departure gate control, check-in desk, and tow tractors.
Further consequences of ATC's rescheduling are flight delays. This means that capacity
within the airport is stretched – more people are waiting in the airport for flights, so this
area becomes a bottleneck.
A number of processes are affected by an increase in people (WIP). This can be a
problem: for example, airport catering facilities need to increase the speed and
flexibility of their operations to increase the volume of customers served. There may
also be a shortage of seating in departure lounges. However, this situation can also be
advantageous, as trade will increase for catering and retail facilities. Frustrated
customers may complain more, taking scarce capacity away from more serving.
In this case, the processes affected are:
♦ customer waiting areas,
♦ customer transportation,
♦ airport catering,
♦ shops,
♦ first aid,
♦ airport cleaning,
♦ border control,
♦ customs,
♦ left luggage,
♦ flight information desk, and
Chapter 1: Short case study – answer
Copyright © 2006 Pearson Education Limited
Slack: Operations Management, 5th edition
♦ customer announcements.
Rescheduled flights and flight delays are not necessarily caused by the severe weather.
Other causes could be ATC strikes or technical problems. Similarly, flight delays will
increase the number of people waiting in the terminal, but this can also occur for other
reasons, e.g. busy holiday periods.
Therefore, the processes which are most affected by the severe weather are those which
are affected directly – air traffic control, de-icing and runway clearance.
Approximately how many different organizations are involved in
delivering the goods and services described in this report?
It appears that there is a different organization for each of the processes listed in
Question 1. The table below, although by no means exhaustive, lists the majority.
What are the implications of this?
The airport appears to operate as a co-operative between different organizations which
are located in the same area. The airport itself will have some overall management, but
it will not be directly responsible for all the separate organizations. Consequently, cooperation between all the organizations is necessary to ensure the macro operation of the
airport itself is effective.
Despite all of the organizations forming part of the airport macro operation, each
organization has its own individual objective. These objectives may sometimes conflict.
For example, the objective of the air traffic control organization could be to ensure that
all flights leave safely and land on time with minimal disruption to the crew, passengers
and technical staff; the objective of a gift shop could be to maximise profits. In the case
study, air traffic control has failed to meet its objectives because the weather has caused
flight delays, yet the gift shop may have increased its sales for the day because the delay
has resulted in more passengers waiting in the terminal.
The typical passenger may be unaware of the number of separate organizations involved
in the airport macro operation, seeing each process as an indication of the level of
service in the airport itself. Therefore, if a particular organization fails to meet its
objectives, this will reflect on the customer’s perception of service in the airport as a
whole. For example, the writer of the case study may identify the service at Brussels
Airport in general as being careless because they slipped on spilt coffee, rather than
associating the problem with just the cleaning company.
Chapter 1: Short case study – answer
Copyright © 2006 Pearson Education Limited
Slack: Operations Management, 5th edition
Attachment 1: Processes and activities (order of appearance in case)
What is being
Passenger in-flight Information passed to passengers from pilot during flight
(e.g. reporting of flight delays)
Air Traffic Control Control and diversion of air traffic during landing and
Runway clearance Clearing snow and ice from apron, taxiways and runways M
De-icing aircraft
In-flight catering
Preparing meals and loading onto aircraft
Aviation refuelling Refuelling of aircraft
Servicing units**
Servicing aircraft water and sanitation units
Baggage handling Receiving, weighing, labelling luggage;
Security checks;
Distribution: loaded onto aircraft, unloaded, delivered to
receiving area, storage facilities for unclaimed luggage
Buses from departure gate to aircraft, and from aircraft to C
arrivals gate
Airport security
Maintaining safety of passengers, crew and airport and
terminal staff
Cabin cleaning
Cleaning of aircraft cabin and flight deck
Pre/post flight checks, minor repairs, decisions on
airworthiness of aircraft
Customer waiting
Departure lounges (landside and airside), executive
Departure gate
Control of departing customers
Automated walkways and lifts
Catering (airport)
Cafes, bars and restaurants
Gift and general shops, duty-free shops
Passport control
Control of departing customers
Chapter 1: Short case study – answer
Copyright © 2006 Pearson Education Limited
Slack: Operations Management, 5th edition
What is being
First aid
First aid to passengers, crew and airport staff
Airport cleaning
Cleaning airport
Taxi rank
Transport to Brussels
City Express (train) Transport to Brussels
Check-in desk
Flight, baggage and ticket control
Departure/arrivals Information to passengers
display board
Border control
Immigration checks (passengers)
Security checks
Passenger security audit
Enforcement of Customs and Excise laws
Flight information
Extraordinary information to passengers
Arranging flight alterations between airports
Information to passengers
Tow tractor
Towing aircraft to taxiway
M = this activity transforms materials
I = this activity transforms information
C = this activity transforms customers
Note * indicates the type of transformation process
** This activity is not explicitly mentioned in the text but could be mentioned in teaching
Chapter 1: Short case study – answer
Copyright © 2006 Pearson Education Limited
Slack: Operations Management, 5th edition
Attachment 2: Organisations at Brussels Airport
Airport catering (including
bars, restaurants and cafes)
Private catering company or companies
Shops (concessions)
Individual chains of retailers
Duty-free shops
Airport authority or concession
Airport cleaning
Private cleaning company
Belgian police force
Belgian Customs and Excise
Check-in desk
Individual airlines (there are many)
Departure gate control
Individual airlines
Passport/border control
Belgian government
First aid
Belgian health service or private company
Flight information desk
Individual airlines
Customer announcements
Airport authority
Air traffic control
Belgian air traffic control
Ground control
Belgian air traffic control
Aviation refuelling
Petroleum companies
Servicing units
Private company or airline
In-flight catering
Individual airlines or contractors
Cabin cleaning
Private company or airline
Technical maintenance
Baggage handling
Airport authority or contractors
Chapter 1: Short case study – answer
Copyright © 2006 Pearson Education Limited