Air France Uses Lean Agile Procurement to Outsource a Critical Project
Air France KLM Cargo Operations needed to improve the efficiency and productivity of its door-to-door cargo. Time is essential in freight and any delay or break in the chain would lead to product waste and unhappy customers. It was critical that a new system was created to improve the efficiency.
A new booking system was required within six months, how were Air France going to assemble a team that worked cohesively and remotely, thought innovatively, understood the cargo industry, and produce the product within the challenging time frame.
A key player in the air cargo industry, Air France KLM Martinair Cargo is the specialised air cargo business of the Air France KLM Group, offering a worldwide network of 457 destinations from two hubs, Paris Charles de Gaulle and Amsterdam Airport Schiphol.
Two major problems:
- Deliver a new critical IT application for Cargo Truck management within a tight schedule. High importance – vital the Cargo Truck management system was efficient to reduce waste and increase output.
- Recruit a new team to develop the new system. The existing team consists of many contractors from different vendors. It is not big enough to handle the project and there is a need for new skills
Air France KLM Cargo Operations Department
- Frédéric Jacques, Head of Cargo Operations IT
- Simon Spoor, Frédéric’s Business counterpart (acting as Product Owner)
- Eric Chaumette, Head of Managed Delivery Centers initiative
- Sophie Durand and Lionel Massiera, Agile Coaches and LAP specialists
According to the new Air France procurement policy on hiring contractors, Frédéric would have to source a whole team, remotely located on the vendor’s premises.
Air France Cargo department has been working in an agile way for years (SAFe): how would a brand new remotely located team fit in? How would they quickly reach the necessary level of cooperation?
Time was of the essence and following the current procurement policy would have taken several months. Frédéric’s business counterpart, Simon was really concerned with this issue and couldn’t believe that sourcing a new team would fit in the challenging project schedule, given that traditional RFP (request for proposal) processes usually lasted several months a new way of thinking was needed.
Lean Agile Procurement is an innovative, outstanding partnership accelerator to identify and select your right team with the right people having the best fitting competences and team spirit - Dominique Guillet, Air France Business Analyst
Frédéric had heard of Lean Agile Procurement (LAP) from Sophie and Lionel from Goood!, whom he was already working with. He immediately thought that it would help him to solve this challenging equation. LAP, here we go!
1st step: Build a cross functional LAP team involving all people that have a say in the vendor selection process, and those who will have to work day to day with the future team => 12 people. It was the first time that business team representatives were taking part in an IT vendor sourcing process.
2nd step: Align the LAP team on common goals. This took a half-day facilitated workshop.
3rd step: Brief the four pre-selected vendors through a one-hour webinar on the new selection process.
4th step: Run the two-day selection workshop “POCAthlon”. All four vendors came with the core team that would actually work with Air France plus the necessary people that could build a proposal and decide on prices. 45 people were present in a wonderful location in Amsterdam Schiphol airport, right above freight dispatching facilities. The aim was to evaluate both business fit, through the co-creation of the proposal with each vendor and also the human fit, through a hackathon-style team work activity on a tricky feature for the future system.
5th step: Select the winner. The decision was taken and announced to all vendors at the very end of the workshop.
6th step: Start the project, only one week after the vendor selection, with the team already launched.
We usually end up with offers consisting of 50 to 80 page documents. We tend to choose the best writers. Instead, within two days, we were able to get a true feel of actually working with these companies - Frédéric Jacques
What made it work:
Involvement of all parties in the vendor selection, alignment and focus on a common objective, and creating an opportunity for working together early in the process instead of only evaluating documents.
- Timeline – Vendor selected within six weeks; project started just one week after vendor selection.
- Critical project milestones achieved: First release of the product only two months after project start and major milestone reached as planned, three months later.
- Positive feedback from all vendors from the two-day workshop.
- The workshop allowed the project to start swiftly after the contract was signed. Teamwork and collaboration were key and visible during the ‘POCAthon’ workshop. The immediate start meant the first product release was midMay and the major release with the critical features was live by September.
- In a complex, fast changing environment, the team is the main asset: LAP allows assessment of the human-fit and the quality of a vendor customer relationship to build a true partnership around the client’s challenges.
- While agile delivery is becoming mainstream in the IT world, a lot of processes like selecting the right partner beforehand still remain long and tedious. Being able to accelerate the selection of the right partner is definitely a competitive advantage (time to market accelerator).
Timeline of the critical project milestones