Become the most innovative airport in the world

Amsterdam Airport Schiphol is a major European hub and driving economic force, handling more than 68 million passengers and 1.7 million tons of cargo a year. But how can you sustain your position as a global hub, growing safely and sustainably in a country as small as the Netherlands? Schiphol may never be the largest airport in the world, but it aims to be the best and most innovative. Providing a smarter, smoother and more efficient experience for millions of passengers – using digital innovation to offer top connectivity. Managing Schiphol’s 80.000 individual assets – from escalator to toilets and lighting – is key to Schiphol’s ambitions: keeping its facilities in perfect shape to streamline business processes.

By Kitty Döppenbecker


Whether you’re checking in, going through customs or getting your luggage, when travelling through Schiphol all kinds of facilities make your journey as enjoyable and efficient as possible. From runways, baggage conveyor belts and passenger boarding bridges to security scanners, terminal furniture and underground electricity, gas and water pipes: Schiphol is tracking the operation and maintenance of more than eighty thousand assets that are widely spread over an area of almost 2.800 hectare. Right now, the airport is in the middle of the agile and digital transformation of its asset management. This will help improve business processes, making them more efficient and reliable while bringing down costs.
  • Mobile asset management
Schiphol has been using an advanced IBM asset management system (Maximo) since 2004. “Our asset maintenance is managed by 26 specialized sub-contractors. The system supplies them with all the required data, in addition to securing and driving the preventive maintenance process,” explains Sebastian de Sterke of Amsterdam Airport Schiphol. He is the Product Owner responsible for the application of the tool at Schiphol. Recently, the airport implemented a new mobile version of the asset management tool. Five of its contractors are currently using this and the rest is soon expected to follow suit. The mobile solution lets their maintenance staff get work directions on the spot and helps reduce downtime. A big advantage of the new mobile solution is its off-line functionality, which makes it a viable tool in elevator shafts or underground.
  • Start repair works in minutes
Of course there can always be situations you can’t foresee. To solve such incidents faster and more effectively, Schiphol expanded its asset management with an IBM ‘incident’ management system. The integrated solution makes it easy for all parties concerned to work together, and saves a lot of time and effort. All situations will be registered in one system, initiating corrective maintenance activities. When reported, the responsible service desk assigns a qualified sub-contractor. A notification is sent to the mobile device of this sub-contractor, and then it’s just a matter of minutes for the repair to get started. “The service desk doesn’t have to create a work order manually and the sub-contractor doesn’t have to go through customs to pick up the work order at the office, cutting hours from the work process,” says De Sterke.
  • Efficiency up, risk down
The IT division is already working with the integrated system. It’s currently being implemented for the Baggage division, and the rest of the organization will follow in the course of 2018. It’s a great development, says De Sterke. “The integration of the three solutions allows our service desks and sub-contractors to work way more efficiently than before. Everyone involved in our organization is wildly enthusiastic.” Another important result of the integration of the asset and incident management is the improved data quality, he adds. “We now have one digital version of the truth for all our maintenance activities, while our data is more reliable as the risk of input failures is minimized.”
  • Productivity increase of 480 percent
An agile way of working makes it possible to deliver multiple projects and hundreds of changes per quarter for the integrated asset and incident management system. “The productivity of our development team has increased by a stunning 480 percent since we went agile, while the lead time for changes has gone down from twelve to two weeks. And despite all the changes, users of the system have experienced far less problems: the number of incidents has gone down by 65 percent. Mostly we are doing things first time right, saving time and money. For example, the update of our asset management solution was completed in only three months, at only one-sixth of the cost estimated,” states De Sterke.
  • Sensor data
The asset and incident management roadmap for 2018 includes more exciting expansions. “We want to integrate sensor data indicating the possible failure of an asset. The current process sees this data registered in a separate system, where it generates dashboards that are being monitored constantly by maintenance staff. In case of a problem, a work order has to be created manually. Our goal is to fully automate this process based on machine learning: the system decides what needs to be done, at what time and by whom,” says De Sterke.
  • 3D building models
Another initiative planned for 2018 is the integration of Building Information Modelling (BIM). De Sterke: “For construction projects our sub-contractors work together in 3D BIM models. We can import the assets and data from the BIM model into Maximo, so that we can facilitate the maintenance work on those assets. The data for active assets is maintained in our system. At any point we want to be able to export assets and their real-time data to the 3D BIM Model, which is hosted in another application. The 3D BIM Model combines the asset data from our system with other types of building information from other applications. Not everyone can access the 3D BIM model, so we add 3D models of assets to Maximo. You can use the 3D viewer to walk through a 3D model of Schiphol containing all its assets. The 3D models give a better picture of the location of specific parts of an asset, and help to facilitate the actual maintenance work.” Without a doubt, Schiphol’s vision of asset management and its agile approach have brought it one step closer to realizing its ambition of becoming the best digital airport in the world.
  • Managing your luggage in a smart way
Amsterdam Airport Schiphol and IBM have been cooperating for a long time, on a wide variety of projects. A great example is Schiphol’s baggage management process. Together they re-envisioned the process in order to increase the efficiency of the baggage flow. It resulted in a solution that can trace any luggage item through the pipeline in real time. Using sensors makes it possible to trace the location and status of a baggage item at any point in the flow, thus easily identifying bags at risk of missing close connections. Intelligent routing rules then compare the item’s current status to where it needs to be to catch a connecting flight, and automatically direct it to the appropriate pathway. The baggage management solution led to a structural, sustainable increase in baggage processing capacity, supporting Schiphol’s ambition to grow as a major hub in Europe.

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