Process and Governance
Delivering efficient and customer-focused business processes is fundamental to becoming an agile global competitor that is able to respond to any changes in its trading environment, particularly for a business as complex as airport management.As Dubai Airports continues to grow, the organisation has again demonstrated its innovativeness by finding ways of providing more and better services with the same resources. This past year marked another milestone in Dubai Airports’ continued transformation into a leaner organisation, with the adoption of new processes that have helped improve overall efficiency, quality and accuracy, while driving down costs across numerous departments, including information communication technology, finance, legal, risk management and procurement.
Information Communication Technology
During the past year, Dubai Airports completed the initial scaling of an IT master plan that will rationalise and optimise IT systems, functions and processes to support smooth delivery of SP2020, the organisation’s $7.8 billion expansion plan. Ultimately it will see several ICT functions grouped together with those of other key stakeholders. The projects will improve system availability, reliability, efficiency, and reduce costs.
One of the key initiatives that began to be rolled out during 2012 was the development of the Campus Area Networks (CAN). The main objective of the CAN project was to deliver organisation-wide connectivity that was scalable, robust and provided the infrastructure that supports an application and system agnostic communication backbone. The project is expected to be completed by 2014.
In 2012 Dubai Airports also continued to roll out in-house applications and tools that added value to the business. This included the enhancement of a new budgeting tool designed to deliver more accurate and efficient financial planning; the refinement of the new interactive Performance Management System (PMS) tool launched in 2011; as well as the introduction of Aeronautical Billing Services to enhance the billing accuracy, reconciliation and forecasting for all aeronautical services.
On the operational side of the business, the introduction of the Aircraft Stand Planning Automation system during the year has brought about increased efficiency and cost savings at Dubai International. The system optimises the use of available aircraft stands and facilitates the smooth rotation of arriving and departing aircraft. Similarly, the successful introduction of a data interface with Emirates airline’s and dnata’s operation systems, which permits key operational information to be exchanged between the three stakeholder groups, has resulted in improved operational responsiveness at Dubai International.
In a bid to further secure Dubai Airports’ corporate infrastructure and digital assets, an incident management and events monitoring system was introduced to improve the identification and response times to security threats.
Further enhancing data security was the initiation of the first phase of a Data Loss Prevention system, which will put the business in line with globally accepted data protection practices and minimise the risk of corporate data leaking into the public domain. The second phase is expected to be implemented in late 2013 with the third and final phase expected to complete in 2014.
As the airport continues to expand, Dubai Airports has successfully faced an increasingly complex procurement programme while still safeguarding quality and keeping costs under control.
The number of purchase orders rose to AED750 million in 2012 from AED701 million in 2011. Yet through proactive negotiations on new purchases, the organisation managed to save AED7.5 million while reducing costs by about AED28 million through contract negotiations for existing orders.
This growth in purchase orders was handled without increasing the headcount and without compromising quality – testament to the organisation’s ability to continually improve.
Dubai Airports’ overall revenue rose 10 per cent year-on-year in 2012, in line with forecasts. Based on forecast growth in passenger numbers, cargo and aircraft movements, a similar trend in aeronautical and non-aeronautical revenue growth is expected in 2013. (For more details on revenue click here)
The introduction of new processes and standards played a significant role in improving the financial health of the organisation in 2012.
A new budgeting tool, developed in-house in 2011, brought increased clarity to the budgeting process and streamlined the approval of payments. This, together with greater transparency introduced across the business, has gone a long way to improving stakeholder relationships.
The introduction of a Corporate Portfolio Office (CPO) in 2011 to oversee the approval and implementation of all projects across the business has had a tremendous impact in improving efficiency, cutting costs and providing better visibility on organisational priorities and the budgeting process across the company.
The CPO not only assists in the drawing up of business cases for projects, but also aligns them with the goals, demands and requirements of the business. It has provided senior management the ability to categorise all projects across the organisation in terms of importance, provide more flexible budgeting and streamline the implementation of projects. Through regular monitoring, the CPO is able to avoid costly delays and provide assistance where needed to ensure deadlines are met.
The overview the CPO has over the business has allowed Dubai Airports the flexibility to launch new projects when they are required without being hamstrung by budgetary cycles. It has resulted in significant savings in both money and time.
With airports being such dynamic environments, it is only appropriate Dubai Airports regularly updates its risk register and puts in place plans to mitigate those risks.
Dubai Airports continuously updates the risk management register, its centralised information model allowing each business unit to handle its risks independently while providing management with a consolidated corporate risk register.
The maturing of Dubai Airports’ risk management policy over the past few years has already resulted in reduced insurance premiums across the organisation. In 2012, Dubai Airports saved a further AED2.5 million on its aviation insurance after the insurance policy was transferred from ATC provider Serco to Dubai Airports.
Dubai Airports also conducted an insurance and risk benchmarking study to ensure Dubai International continues to rank alongside or above its international peers as well as adhering to industry best practice.
The reputation and good-standing of Dubai Airports is a vital asset that must be safeguarded at all costs. It was for this reason that a new in-house legal team was appointed in 2011, providing more flexibility and cost-savings on a wide range of legal matters.
The team has brought legal clarity to the organisation’s contracting process and reduced risks and costs by eliminating potential pitfalls in the wording of all contracts. It has also given Dubai Airports more flexibility to appoint external legal advisors only where specific expertise is required and is best suited for each individual case.
In the past year all laws and legislation at both federal and local level issued in 2012 were reviewed to ensure that all Dubai Airports’ policies and decisions were aligned and compiled with the changes as well as ensure that the organisation’s interests were safeguarded from a legal perspective.
Through co-operation, co-ordination and exchange of experiences and information in various areas of legislative and legal studies, the legal unit has provided various departments across Dubai Airports with legal peace of mind in their day-to-day business activities.
During 2012 Dubai Airports enhanced its business process framework, allowing the company to better integrate all new business processes by identifying the impact of process changes in each and every department and across all systems. The framework prevents the introduction of new bottlenecks along the process chain, allowing a seamless implementation of any process. The tool also identifies the complexity and feasibility of implementing any changes.
The company also conducted a number of internal reviews to ensure that Dubai Airports’ numerous divisions continue to maintain the high standards of and adherence to the organisation’s aerodrome manual, a document that prescribes the airport’s operating procedures and standards. Meeting the manual’s requirements is vital to the safety and proper functioning of the airport.
Operating at the highest standards is second nature for a company that aims to own the world’s largest and best airports.