RESOURCE BRAIN FIXED RESOURCES
The ambitious aim at pursuing a constant improvement of the quality of the services offered requires a close relationship among all actors working within the airport community.
An important aspect of this context is the management of the infrastructure and human resources and equipments. The airport managers have to achieve their business targets (revenue increase, QoS improvement) and at the same time face up and solve the typical problems regarding the resource management (increase of the labour cost, shortage of trained staff, equipments management). The airport managers require therefore automatic instruments which help them to allocate the right number of appropriate resources at the right time according to the quality targets and Service Level Agreements.
In order to meet these purposes, Software Design has designed Resource Brain, a suite of products totally integrated one another which are part of the AOSnice airport operative framework that supports the whole planning process starting from the planning analysis to the daily allocation and management.
The product aimed at managing airport facilities is named ResourceBrain-Fixed Resources. Fixed Resources manages the planning of the infrastructural resources registered within the AODB such as checkin desks, gates, baggage conveyors, fingers, and stands.
Future integration of new types of resources within the AOS environment, will enable the system to setup appropriate constraints for their planning.
This module provides three integrated planning environments: strategic, tactical, on-line. Even if Software Design deliver the system with basic common rules and offer a high profile support during the setup phase, all specific user rules can be configured by business users without involving system administrators.
Using the RBFixed Resources offers airport authorities and company airlines the following advantages:
“Use of an integrated solution allowing to cover the whole planning cycle ranging from Strategic to Operative scenarios”
“Quick answer to the dynamic evolutions of work load and its needs, ensuring the most effective and profitable use of the available resources”
“Increase the business by managing a larger quantity of flights and passengers with an equal number of available resources”
“Keep an high degree of passengers satisfaction minimizing the waiting times”
“Capability to configure the allocation rules by the final user itself”
Each rule can use formulas, configured by the Formula Manager, to determine key factors of the service. In this way very sophisticated rules can be defined in a really easy environment.
The accuracy of the planning results is strictly related to the rules configured so during the system setup phase it will be of higher importance the rule assessment phase.
Rules can be grouped to associate a time validity in order to set different rules for different periods.
RB-FR allows user to manage the planning sequence: planning order based on configured dependencies among the different types of resources.
The rules and preferences are used as input to the planning middleware AAM (Airport Allocation Middleware) that will optimize the assignment of resources to tasks.
The RB Fixed Resources system is equipped with a set of procedures allowing to easily enter data related to a resource typology, rules and preferences required for the planning and programming flow through guided screens based on user friendly tools.
A rule defines absolute conditions of resources allocation, while a preference defines approval conditions of the allocation.
Aiming at the planning of fixed resources, RB-FR sets no kind of constraint during the phase of configuration of rules and/or preferences and lets them to be configured with a set of basic parameters (named matadata) that can be easily extended.
Different typologies of constraints are provided to ensure a total coverage of operational needs:
- General Constraints and Restriction: defines mandatory conditions of resources allocation
- Grouping: used to ensure an equal distribution of services among all the resources belonging to the same group
- Correlation and Dependance Rules: defines the dependence between resources even of different typology
- Preferences of Assignment: defines desired conditions of the allocation.
All rules are entered by standard users without turning to the system’s administrators.
The RB-FR system, as a whole, can be used in three different modes that substantially differentiate for the time reference horizon, the typology of data on which they work and for the set of rules applied: Strategic planning, Tactical planning, Real Time planning.
This approach guarantees the maximum flexibility and allows to satisfy different classes of users, from the managers to the terminal operators.
AOSNice planning and optimization functions are based on an off-the shelf optimization engine. In this area RB-FR adopts an industry standard interface (named MPS – Mathematical Programming System) available with the major planning engines on the market. Due to this flexibility and the native openness approach it is possible to select the most appropriate engine.
Performance requirements drive the selection of the best sized engine and the level of parallel computing (both in terms of parallel licenses and embedded parallel option of each license). Of course the system can progressively be upgraded at growing needs.
The Strategic Planning allows to manage simulation scenarios obtained from historical information.
The target of the strategic component is represented by the managers who can evaluate the impacts that could take place by adopting certain business strategies. For example, managers can take into account the change of the number of the resources according to the acquisition of new flights or can evaluate the effects in terms of costs due to the offer of additional services. Using several scenarios users can apply What-If analysis simulating flight plans, rules and resources availability.
The strategic component works with a time horizon of months. During the definition of a simulation scenario the reference season and the related periods will be selected. In the Strategic scenario there are no strict time constraints to maximize flexibility in the simulation process.
Concerning the management of the resource sizing, the strategic component can work using a limited resources approach: the number of the infrastructural resources is fixed. In this case, the system evaluates, the best usage of current resources.
In this phase most the interesting results are :
- activity allocation to each resource for each day
- resource coverage showing needs, availabilities and undermeasure/overmeasure situations per time slice
- saturation index report for each resource or typology per week day and time range
The tactical component can be used after the strategic one (according to the planning workflow) or as stand-alone module.
The results generated from the Tactical mode have to be updated to properly take into account the unavailabilities calendars related to the single resources to be allocated.
In the Tactical Planning the system has some important differences in comparison with the Strategic planning: uses real data, limited time horizon (usually weeks), management of resources unavailability calendars. During the configuration phase the consistency between reference season and periods are guaranteed.
The tactical planning, in fact, operates on the real data present in the Time Table of the current season, providing very reliable schedules for the following weeks. Tactical planning is typically used by employees in the Pre-Coordination functions.
The form allows the visualization and online management of allocations to flights of infrastructure resources. From the “Resources for Resources” mask the operator can:
- Choose the type of arrangement to present the resource list (“Order” options).
Move the allocation of a flight / rotation to another resource. This movement is facilitated by highlighting the time interval of the allocation over the entire vertical extension of the timeline and the subsequent request for movement by selecting the destination resource, this is particularly useful for moving the flights / rotations that are not automatically allocated from the planner.
- Move within the operational days with the possibility of zoom (+/-)
- Present flight bars for Actual, Scheduled and Expected timetables (“Time” options).
- Present the start line of real-time management; this function enables the presentation of the “now” time line and at the same time updates the timeline presentation by automatically moving the time window.
- Present the status of the activities according to the level of optimization,
- Manage unallocated activities through different color visualizations and drag and drop functions to facilitate manual operations
- Ask the planner to know.
– In case of unallocated: the general constraints not respected
– In case of allocation without best match: preferences not respected
- Lock the timeline presentation (“Lock” key).
After selecting the type of resource, the operator can view by gantt the allocation of all the resources belonging to the organizational area and the selected time interval.
The On Line Planning allows to optimize the fixed resources allocations, depending on the events associated with flights, but more in general on all the important events impacting current allocations.
Properly setting the time period window, it is possible to manage the task allocations for the next days. In particular, it will be possible to print the allocation register for each resource type for coming days.
The system allows to configure the flight events that can automatically activate a re-planning for each resource type. Moreover the re-planning can also be defined to occur at regular intervals defined by the user for each resource type. The On Line mode can be used either on the basis of the results produced by the Tactical mode or as stand-alone system. In the second case, it is possible to generate the allocations by means of operative data using the actual availability of the resources.
On Line planning functionalities are based on the knowledge of the services and level agreements contractually agreed with carriers.
The system, thanks to algorithms thought for each kind of service and real loading data, indicates precisely the resources needed on ramp to provide services required by carrier. The system allows the use of sets of constraints and periods, with different sets for each period, and provides a broken rules view where users can look at the rules (preferences) that have not been satisfied (broken) to get the optimal solution.
The module is equipped with particular extensions helpful to manage the activities in the operative environment:
- Export : data export to external systems
- Reporting environment : operational and statistical reports processing