Creating a new business culture in SmartLynx02.03.2020
SmartLynx Airlines has a very large team working daily, taking care of hundreds of different procedures to ensure that the company runs smoothly. Different experiences and competencies, different types of procedures and tasks, but there is one unifying component - Director Business Process Management Sandra Grunde.
Sandra has been working in SmartLynx since 2012 when she started as a Business Process Developer and led different process improvement projects at the departmental level.
“These were the early stages of automation of our procedures. A time when we just started to develop first analytics and teach employees how to create, process and use the data that are at company’s disposal. It was a time when a large part of the processes was recorded on paper, the know-how was in people's heads and their individual experience, not in the internal systems available to everyone. This was the beginning of digitization in SmartLynx.
There are two ways how business process management is used. The first is process improvement as a project for example some local improvements of specific procedures, but the second is improvement of culture, where improvements are raised by employees and their engagement. Compared to 2012 this is the main difference because SmartLynx has embraced such switch in a business culture.”
As Sandra explains, in a way, business process management is like treating a patient. You evaluate his condition, make a diagnosis and treatment method, you bring his health in order, and then teach the patient to work with himself and follow a healthy lifestyle.
“We focus on two environments - internal and external. For internal environment it is fundamental to improve cross-functional processes, define clear responsibilities, transparency, process automation, communication, visual management.
For a growing company such as SmartLynx, it is important not to lose the connection between different processes, between departments and professionals. Our goal is to minimize inefficiency, minimize data entry in different forms, and get everyone at all levels in one system - creating a single mechanism. Regardless of whether the employee is based in Latvia, Estonia, Malta or any other country in the world.
It is also important to initiate decentralization and ensure that decisions are taken not only at the top but also at the departmental level. We need to make sure that everyone thinks likewise and are able to make decisions. This is one of the most important factors as the company grows - to keep the decision-making dynamic. In large companies centralized decision-making takes more time, but time is crucial in the aviation.
As for external environment the main focus is on quality delivered to our partners and customers. It means to improve as much as possible starting from reduction of flight delays, improving service quality and operational standards, communication with the customer and problem solving capabilities till cutting off response time and many other improvement things. In providing ACMI service we have to literally and figuratively become the same company, while still keeping our principles.
At the same time, we consider that we are corporate and socially responsible company, and by improving our processes, we also strive to reduce the environmental impact of our business operations.”
Development of technology in recent decades has significantly changed business processes in aviation. Now almost everything is automated, paperless and always connected. Everything works in a unified system where all professionals involved have a significant role and responsibility. Excellence and competitive advantage lies in details.
“The distance between Operational and Technical processes of Aviation and Business processes has significantly decreased. Business thinking now is a part of main processes of Aviation.
Standards have risen, the industry is becoming increasingly competitive and expensive, and business volumes are growing rapidly. To survive in such changing circumstances you must work smart. You have to be able to make smart and quick decisions, have effective planning in action, in a sense, you have to become a data scientist while processing the large amount of information received, increase digital competence of employees, teach them.
Our ability to evolve, to become more efficient in our work and adapt to changing market determines the quality of our service and the outcome of our work. Our work is what shapes the customer attitude, both at B2B level and for passengers. It builds their experience and carries the positive experience to our brand.
I am confident that projects we have launched previous year will improve our company in all levels and aspects of business and I am sure that this will be sensed by our customers and passengers very soon.”