airplane getting fuel

Case Study

High octane analytics fuels the aircraft handling industry

High octane analytics fuels the aircraft handling industry

Discover how SLCA, a company that delivers fuel to over 300,000 flights a year, secured contracts at four new airports after unifying data on a business intelligence solution on Google Cloud.

Every day, hundreds of airlines rely on SLCA to refuel aircraft as they make their way across Europe. The company delivers kerosene and aviation gasoline directly to thousands of aircraft at over 20 Spanish airports, including Barcelona, Madrid and Palma de Mallorca.

This process requires not only real-time flight status data but also up-to-date information on contracts, contact with customers, parking data and pilot signatures. Previously, this data was kept in silos, meaning SLCA teams had to manually extract data to create operational dashboards and reports.

SLCA wanted to consolidate and optimize data processing to reduce the time it took to collate and analyze the data in the cloud, both improving the accessibility of the data and reducing the time spent retrieving and reporting on it.

5x

faster data analysis

100%

access to up-to-date data via real-time dashboards – available from everywhere

4

new contracts won thanks to optimized data

slca logo

Customer:
SLCA


Platform:
Google Cloud Platform


Services:
Application Services, Data & Analytics


Industry:
Logistics, Public Transport


Country:
Spain


Breaking down silos to get the bigger picture

With tight turnarounds, multiple stakeholders and over 300,000 fuel deliveries a year, SLCA needs fine-tuned logistics to keep airports running like well-oiled machines.

“Even the most basic process, such as attending to a parked aircraft, requires a lot of up-to-date information in order to avoid delays,” says Antonio Molina, IT Director at SLCA. “We need to refer to real-time flight information, then use that to define the time slot available for us to service the aircraft, get the fuel to the plane and take the pilot’s electronic signature when the job is done.”

SLCA had been using three applications to keep its operations moving and ensure that all relevant information is up to date. These applications covered three critical business functions:

  • Fuel management
  • Resource planning for accounting, sales and purchase processes
  • Asset and vehicle maintenance, as well as incident, audit and training management

But the data for these applications was kept in separate systems. Analyzing it involved manually extracting data from the various sources before running calculations to create unique research reports. This was inefficient for continuous analysis, easy referencing and reporting.

In addition, if a flight is delayed, airports look to identify the reason behind the delay – a process that can take place several days after the flight. On average, SLCA oversees more than 800 flights every day. Its previous reporting process meant that it couldn’t always defend its operations with detailed, comprehensive data. It needed faster, more responsive and authoritative analytics.

“The aircraft ground handling industry is a latecomer to the cloud. One of our main challenges was to direct ground operations at airports toward internet technology, and we're proud to be one of the industry's leading companies worldwide in unlocking the power of cloud technology.”

Antonio Molina, IT Director, SLCA

mechanic having job in airdrome

Optimizing data for more effective analytics

The company needed an implementation partner to help it overcome this challenge. “We looked at seven partners, and decided on SoftwareONE for its knowledge and professionalism,” says Antonio. “SoftwareONE led the project and introduced us to Google Cloud solutions. It advised us on our options and the best approach, and provided user and administrator training. As users of Google Workspace, we were already familiar with Google Cloud. We ran a benchmark against other providers and found that the cost-quality ratio of Google Cloud was unbeatable.”

Based on a Google Cloud Smart Analytics project, SoftwareONE and SLCA use Talend, an open-source data integration platform, as an ETL tool based on instances in Compute Engine on Google Cloud. The data warehouse solution delivers information from SLCA’s three corporate applications to Google Cloud’s BigQuery and Cloud Storage. The data is then ready for visualization in Tableau, which also runs on Compute Engine.

“Now we can understand one transaction through all three systems,” says Antonio. “For example, we can now see all the historical activity of one of our trucks, whenever we want. SLCA can analyze any of its assets as a whole, taking into account the most relevant data in the areas of operations, maintenance and costs. And with Tableau, we create dashboards for our operations teams, so they can view up-to-date information on everything we do.”

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Making detailed bids for contracts with better BI

“Now, when we attend meetings with airports, airlines or other stakeholders, we can call up dashboards and statistics on-demand, wherever we are. The data is clear, quantified, and it really improves the level of conversation. We can give our teams a deep understanding of the whole environment.”

Antonio Molina, IT Director, SLCA

Thanks to SLCA’s new business intelligence solution, personnel now spend 80% less time on data analysis. In addition, the team reports that its predictions are much more accurate regarding asset purchases.

“When we decide whether to buy or retire refuelers, or move them to another airport, we can test different scenarios, adding or reducing variables such as virtual resources and planning shifts – or including airport authority statistics before we make a decision,” says Antonio. “That was impossible before. And with this new depth of analysis, we can account for factors such as seasonal changes. This is crucial in Spain, as there are more than twice as many flights in summer as in winter.”

dashboard with graphs
SLCA reports display more accurate prediction about asset purchases (image taken from https://cloud.google.com/customers/slca/)

The improved level of detail that SLCA can collate in its new BI solution doesn’t just enable the company to better protect its performance and track record – the company is now empowered to proactively improve conversations with prospects and customers to evaluate and meet their expectations.

According to Antonio, it’s a whole new dimension of accountability.

“Cloud analytics takes our business to the next level,” he says. “We’ve recently been awarded contracts at four new airports by taking their information and applying it to models developed with our new business intelligence solution. We can be precise about resources in a way that just wasn’t possible before.”

Antonio Molina, IT Director, SLCA

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