Singapore Airlines (SIA) has the distinction of being recognised as one of the top airlines in the world over the past decade, due to the excellent service quality of its cabin crew and staff.
To keep its position as the leading digital airline in the world, SIA has implemented enterprise-wide initiatives to improve customer experience, optimise operations, increase employee productivity and embark on new business opportunities.
It has built a digital mindset amongst its staff to get everyone on board the digital transformation journey.
SIA has specially focussed on service by its cabin crew and for this, it has developed its Cabin Crew Digital Ecosystem, which won the best Enterprise category in the 2021 Techblazer Awards.
According to SIA, the Cabin Crew Digital Ecosystem comprises a front-end mobile application complemented by back-end systems and wearables.
The mobile apps include:
- Crew App for flight & operational admin tasks.
- Crew Journey App for individual learning and development.
- 1SQ app for management updates and company news.
- BEST (Beyond Excellent Service through Technology), an onboard app for personalised passenger servicing.
The system uses technologies such as mobile, cloud, artificial intelligence (AI), optimisation, composite architecture and IoT to deliver measurable outcomes in an agile and cost-effective manner.
According to SIA’s Manager for Crew Business Technology, Evelyn Eng, SIA’s cabin crew have expressed high levels of satisfaction with the convenience and efficiency that the apps in the digital ecosystem provide them.
“Championing digital adoption in the community encourages our crew to have an agile mindset that is willing to embrace change, and this is key to staying competitive in an ever-changing world,” Eng said.
She noted that the SIA team embraced the challenge of managing cabin crew operations in the face of fast-changing operation regulations and border closures during the restrictions imposed globally due to Covid-19, in addition to the fact that crew have limited physical interaction with the rest of the organisation due to the nature of their role.
“With the Cabin Crew digital ecosystem, the cabin crew were able to obtain real-time updates and resources to carry out their duties in a Covid environment more conveniently and with ease,” she noted.
One example, Eng added, was the Crew App. “Our cabin crew can now perform certain administrative duties, such as submitting their videos of performing ART tests directly through the app.
“It also helps them review changes in flight information and access the Roster System, a backend system integrated with the Crew App,” she said.
Eng noted that more than 8,000 cabin crew and 150 ground staff use the apps in the Cabin Crew Digital Ecosystem.
This has allowed SIA to achieve monetary savings, productivity gains in terms of workforce hours and improvements in sustainability through the reduction of paper usage.
Prior to the introduction of the mobile apps, the SIA cabin crew used to carry out various administrative tasks pertaining to their flights using a mix of web-based systems, e-mail, phone calls and paper-based processes.
With no real-time digital connectivity with the crew, any feedback or changes had to be processed via e-mails or phone, leading to inefficiencies and overhead costs, Eng noted.
The business pain points were most apparent with every fresh publication of monthly duties, with the sudden surge in demand slowing down the network infrastructure, and affecting the cabin crew’s user experience.
The Crew App is integrated with other backend systems, such as the Roster System, which automatically reschedules replacement crew for affected flights using optimisation and the Human Resource (HR) System.
It is also integrated with a chatbot that uses natural language processing (NLP) to help answer frequently asked questions from the crew.
The concept and features of the Crew App minimum viable product (MVP) were defined by SIA using design thinking workshops.
To increase speed-to-market, the Crew App was developed using an Agile methodology and composite architecture to make the product modular and scalable.
KrisNLP is SIA’s internally developed NLP Framework of reusable modules that covers language detection, sentiment analysis, entity extraction, personally identifiable information (PII) detection and masking and text summarisation.
“It’s used in our apps for handling customer feedback and gathering customer insights and integrated with Google DialogFlow in our chatbots for staff and customers,” Eng said.
Eng noted that SIA uses an iterative process to develop the product and incorporate new technologies to “improve the lives of our cabin crew and ground staff.”
“One example is using an AI-based solution to improve the training and assessment of our cabin crew’s announcement-making and onboard conversational phrases, she said.
Eng said winning the Techblazer award has been an encouragement to the team working on the solution.
Nominations for this year’s Techblazer Awards are open until April 3, 2023. Organisations interested in submitting nominations for the awards can do so here.