FBO, Inc. is a “Fixed base operator” at the Metropolis airport whose business is divided into two groups of operations, namely
a) Refueling of Commercial (40%) under contract & Retail (60%)
b) Provision of a variety of services (refueling, maintenance, and Avionics) to private and corporate aircraft.
Reiling, the General Managers is concerned that the commercial contract operations are not being performed as efficiently as possible and is considering a variety of alternatives to alter operating procedures and operations control. At the same time, if pooling is deemed inappropriate then the implementation of a different format in the face of a hostile management/union relationship is a concern.
This case addresses the problems in operating procedures and the difficulties of taking union relations into account in the modification of operating procedures. In particular, the case demonstrates the difference between operations planning and control. Normal fueling operations required 23 union employees. During a recent strike, when the FBO was negotiating the employment contract with these union employees, non-union managers performed refueling tasks. Fourteen managers handled refueling operations working 12 hour shifts, 7 days a week. While FBO would not expect union employees to work 12 hour shifts, or work 7 days a week, they do see evidence from this experience that refueling operations could be managed more efficiently.
To improving operations the alternatives to be considered are:
• Use Radios and install communications system with dispatchers
• Ask airlines to be cooperative in notifying about delays, etc.
• Is it possible to reduce absenteeism?
• Improve scheduling rules
• Assign refuelers to specific trucks; specific airlines.
• Assign specific refuelers to top trucks only.
The most obvious need for improvement here is to devise a system that will allow the lead dispatcher to keep a better control over the inventories of fuel in the trucks.
By assigning refuelers to specific trucks and airlines, they will have responsibility for their own truck and will attend more carefully to quantities of fuel remaining in their own truck. Management can hold individual refuelers responsible for the activity performed. This would help in developing a closer relationship with the airline and might lead to better service. Refuelers can become more familiar with airline’s schedule and specific fueling requirements. On the other hand, there is a high possibility of operation inefficiencies could occur due to absentee and emergency situations as the refuelers doesn’t worry about other trucks or unassigned task.
Rule of Thumb: Lack of ‘up to date’ information and a form of safety precaution will be followed if there is no tight control. The case says,
• Send fuel 35 minutes before plane is due to depart; 30 minutes average fueling time.
• If the plane is not ‘on time’, the refuelers should come back after 5 minutes. Obviously it shows that the refuelers are out of contact with everybody.
I don’t think any such rule would be required, if the lead could get the latest information from the airline dispatch and communicate with the drivers on the ramp. Thus the lead dispatcher plays a role and he or she need to run the schedule and adapt it to suit changes due to delays. Better the plan the more would be the control. Therefore it is clear that FBO should not fail to make necessary investment in communication system..
Better planning should be made to avoid running out of fuel while refueling and having to dispatch an additional truck to compete refueling operations. Additionally, more efficient topping schedules need to be developed so that three trucks are not absent from refueling operations at the same time. Per...
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