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Building the business case for optimization


A business case is often the starting point to implementing an optimization product.  In this article we explore the visible and invisible benefits to consider.

When an airline considers implementing a software solution, it must build a comprehensive business case. This standard approach allows for approval, review, and audit processes, ensuring that the proposed change aligns with the company’s financial goals, risk management, and overall strategy. A business case begins with a vision—whether driven by outdated software, changes in business operations, or advancements in technology, there’s always a motivating factor behind the push for change.

At Motulus, we are well-acquainted with this process. Our pioneering resource planning optimization software, especially designed for aviation crew and aircraft assignment, has been successfully implemented in several airlines. This software includes dynamic features that are unique in the marketplace. Nonetheless, creating a business case remains essential. We not only provide the vision but also practical support and evidence to back it up.


Proof of concepts can quantify the financial opportunity

Often, we engage in proof of concepts (POCs) to demonstrate the financial savings our solution can bring. These savings might be direct, such as reduced hotel costs or positioning expenses, clearly impacting the bottom line. Indirect savings are also significant; for example, more robust rosters, better buffers, and effective standby management can reduce operational costs related to customer compensation or crew overtime. While these may not always be the focal points of a business case, they are crucial.

Financial grounds are fundamental for any business case, but employee and crew welfare are also key components. In crew rostering software, the impact on crew lifestyles is significant, and airlines are keen to ensure crew satisfaction. Factors like fair duty assignments and fatigue management are very important but can be challenging to demonstrate due to data limitations and the emotive nature of these criteria. Additionally, a business case may highlight the efficiency gains for the planning team, making the process quicker and freeing up valuable time for other tasks.


Do all business cases meet their promises?

Do all business cases meet their promises? Probably not. However, many exceed expectations, offering unforeseen benefits. For instance, scenario analysis and “what-if” analysis capabilities of optimizers provide valuable insights and flexibility. These tools can change departmental thinking, instilling confidence in decisions and fostering an environment of exploration and innovation. While the value of improved decision-making is hard to quantify, its impact is undeniable.

Moreover, the intangible benefits of working with an innovative partner should not be underestimated. Collaborating with a company that approaches problems with creativity and determination can influence your team, encouraging deeper thinking and relentless problem-solving. These benefits, though difficult to measure before realization, are often recognized by airlines even if they don’t always make it into the formal business case.

In our experience, airlines understand these broader benefits, which, while challenging to quantify in a business case, are vital to long-term success and innovation.


Photo by Scott Graham on Unsplash