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Making informed decisions with data

20 December 2018

Siree Vatanavigkit, Strategic Planning Manager (Engineering), Policy and Strategy Management Bureau, AEROTHAI, and CANSO Global Benchmarking Workgroup Chair, on the importance of benchmarking performance.

While the global focus on big data continues to evolve, those of us in the ATM industry are already asking ourselves how can ANSPs make even better use of data to make informed decisions and improve operations?

CANSO’s annual Global Air Navigation Services Performance Report is the ‘go-to’ document for ANSPs setting organizational goals like cost-efficiency and productivity, and wanting to understand global trends. The report provides a framework for measuring cost-efficiency and productivity performance, and supplementary analysis that drills down into the data that matters, summarizing performance in a simple, meaningful way.

So when ANSP industry leaders ask questions like; how does our organization compare to others globally? Which costs improvements can we make without impacting safety and operational performance? To what extent do we drive productivity? Are our goals achievable?  – this is what I would say.

Understanding global trends

First refer to the global trends highlighted in the Global Air Navigation Services Performance Report: Executive Summary. If an organization performs in accordance with the trends, it is at least as good as its peers. If it falls behind, it should aim to be better; and if it is ahead of the game, I congratulate you.

The Executive Summary also offers important industry context for performance, providing information on aviation industry-wide trends, of which it is important to be aware. For example, 2017 saw rising air traffic and decreasing ANSP cost-efficiency. This contrasts with 2016, 2014 and 2013, where traffic increases were accompanied by improvements in cost-efficiency. To understand the factors at play here and how to mitigate them, take a look at the report and see how these might influence your organization’s short and long term goals.

Benchmarking performance

Secondly, use the statistics provided in the Global Air Navigation Services Performance Report: ANSP View to help determine goals. Along with individual ANSP performance data from the latest year, each key performance indicator graph provides details on statistical average and quartile values.  These statistical values can assist ANSPs in assessing if they are operating within the performance range of their peers and if there are gaps that need to be addressed.

It is also important to acknowledge that ANSPs must also assess their own operating requirements to determine if the goal is attainable and suitable for the organization. For example, from an organization’s financial perspective, aiming to lower overall employment costs of air traffic controllers in operations may seem aspirational; however, from the human resource point of view, organizations also need attractive offers for ATCOs to ensure employee retention. This means every decision an ANSP takes must be based both on the performance goals identified and their own operating context. To help level different employment cost factors, the report offers an alternative view using purchasing power parity (PPP) conversion rates to normalize the impact cost of living in each country has on comparative employment costs; just one example of how ANSPs can usefully compare and analyse data collected for this report.

Peer-to-peer learning

Thirdly, use the report to explore individual ANSP performance, and understand how each organization is implementing change and how it responds to factors impacting its performance over a period of time. Through the report, ANSPs can look at peers who face the same challenges or those that have improved their performance over the years in order to assess if it were to implement similar initiatives under similar conditions, would its aspirational goal be possible to achieve and how long it would take to attain that goal. Of course, understanding the operating context of those ANSPs is important, so contextual data is also provided within the report. This gives a complete picture of both how improved performance can be achieved and the factors that must be considered.

Building our data base

Lastly, to any organization that has identified a need and ambition to improve ATM performance both at an organizational and industry level, I encourage you to participate in the CANSO Global Benchmarking Workgroup (GBWG), the group that creates this report. It is a valuable part of the CANSO  global community that is working closely together to track and analyse industry trends and highlight the factors that are influencing the performance of ATM operations across the globe. Together Members set and evolve measurement criteria and have the opportunity to contribute to an industry leading analytical tool. If you would like to be part of this, please get in touch.

The Global Air Navigation Services Performance Report: Executive Summary and Global Air Navigation Services Performance Report: ANSP View are both available via the CANSO publications library.

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About the author

 
Siree Vatanavigkit Strategic Planning Manager (Engineering), Policy and Strategy Management Bureau, AEROTHAI, and CANSO Global Benchmarking Workgroup Chair

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