Complex personnel processes completed in minutes instead of days!
The next time you board a plane operated by our Royal Dutch Airlines, consider that it is not just the crew that ensures you arrive safely, comfortably, and on time at your destination. The fast-growing maintenance organisation is essential to KLM’s operations. This is a special customer case from the time of the former Portiva about their collaboration with KLM.
In 2018, KLM welcomed a record number of passengers on board. To transport all these people, KLM has 168 aircraft. To keep them in top technical condition and ensure flight safety, the Engineering & Maintenance department has professionals available day and night. The department has a total of about 5,500 employees.
Not everyone is allowed to work on KLM’s planes, so there are strict processes for selecting and onboarding employees. With the help of Microsoft Power Apps, Rapid Circle supports KLM in carrying out these HR processes.
Rapid improvements, strong foundation for the future
With the help of Rapid Circle, SharePoint and Power Apps have become indispensable tools for KLM in controlling HR processes in a short amount of time. The processes are complicated, and to manage them effectively, it is necessary to automate them as much as possible. Power Apps was chosen because there was a need for a fast and significant update on both the front and back end.
Cynthia Saffrie, who shares responsibility for HR processes at KLM, stated: ‘We looked at what was needed and what we could implement quickly. That’s when we decided to use Power Apps.’
The current solution may not be forever but calling it a ‘temporary solution’ would seriously undermine it. Peter Weij, who has been seconded to Cynthia’s HR department for over a year and a half, said: ‘What we have in place now is a solution that KLM can use for years to come. And when something new comes along, we’ve already done a lot of groundwork. For example, the databases we’ve set up can easily be transferred to the new environment.
“The processes are complicated, and to manage them effectively, it is necessary to automate them as much as possible”
A process that takes six hours completed in ten minutes
One of Cynthia’s clients is Kitty Vonk, who works in the Engineering & Maintenance (E&M) Airframe department. The employees that HR recruits for her come in groups of 20 to 30 at a time. Before these people can start working, a lot needs to be done. Kitty says, “In the past, a supervisor spent about six hours on the intake process for each new employee. It was purely about practical matters like arranging an email address, locker, iPad, access to systems, etc. Add to that the fact that the supervisor back then oversaw a team of about 40, whereas today it’s 200, and you understand that something had to change.” Thanks to the solutions that Power Apps provides, this part of the onboarding process now takes only about ten minutes. A world of difference.
“Previously, a manager spent around six hours on the intake process for a new employee. with the solutions that power apps offer, this part of the onboarding process now takes only about ten minutes.”
300 new employees at airframe
When Kitty started automating and digitising the processes within E&M, there was little to work with. She attributes this to the aftermath of the economic crisis: “When the economy is not doing well, flying is one of the first things people give up.” And so for ten years, there was almost no new influx. But in recent years, this has changed completely: due to growth and the fact that employees are retiring, new people are being hired. Her background in Lean Six Sigma, a method for optimising and purging business processes of waste, helped her to throw out everything that was even slightly redundant from the process. That created space and provided an overview, but the system remains complex. “That’s because someone can’t just tinker with an airplane,” she explains. Each function has its own requirements, such as required diplomas and demonstrable experience.”
Insight into waiting times
In addition, there are all kinds of explanations that you have to request. “These come from external agencies and sometimes take six weeks to arrive. Rapid Circle helped us digitise all those steps. We can now see very quickly what someone still needs before they can start and what waiting times are involved. Flows ensure that reminders are automatically sent at the right time, so that someone can’t forget a certain part.”
This entire methodology demands a lot from Power Apps and the Rapid Circle specialists who set everything up. “It sometimes feels like we’re squeezing everything out of it,” acknowledges Rik de Koning, functional consultant at Rapid Circle. “But we are always able to think along with Kitty and Cynthia and come up with a technical solution.” Kitty laughs, “I don’t mind hearing that something can’t be done as long as there’s a ‘but’ behind it. Fortunately, they always manage to find a solution.”
“We can now see very quickly what someone still needs before they can start and what waiting times are involved.”
Data as the basis for perfect service
The digitisation of HR processes within E&M has been so successful that Power Apps are being more widely adopted within KLM. Cynthia: “What we’re doing now works for us. We still have to figure out how it will work in other parts of KLM. In other parts of KLM, the benefit of the digital catch-up, in addition to streamlining processes, lies mainly in the use of data for continuously improving service. Cynthia, like many others, sees what this can mean for the company, but especially for the customer: “Managers and employees used to spend a lot of time requesting and evaluating HR-related topics and processes.
Until a few years ago, this was still done via paper Word documents with signatures sent from one department to another for processing the request. Filling in the same information for each request. Now, with Power Apps Flow, both the request and processing are done quickly and easily. More and more data that we already know about you is suggested or pre-filled. The time saved is greatly appreciated by managers and employees and can be spent on their operational tasks.”
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