The FSI logo. Hong Kong

London City Airport


29/10/19 | Sally Wotton

Award-winning London City Airport now serves 38 key business destinations in Europe, including New York, and is viewed as London’s gateway for both inbound and outbound travellers. Located just 2 miles from Canary Wharf and 8 miles from West End it carries 2.9 million passengers per year. The direct train link means it can offer the fastest and cheapest transport into London-just 22 minutes to Bank underground station and 40 minutes to Bond Street.

London City Airport continuously strives to retain its’ renowned high levels of services and fast passenger processing and has just completed a £7million refurbishment of the main terminal offering state-of-the-art security equipment and providing 50% more capacity in the departure lounge. Free Wi-Fi, imminent new restaurants and bars due to open in spring, makes the airport an attractive option for the business traveller.

A streamlined approach to Facilities Management is vital to maintaining this reputation, providing a comprehensive infrastructure for service delivery that enables the visibility of tasks, and accountability for their completion, and generating clear and relevant reports in an increasingly paperless format.

FSI’s Concept™ Computer Aided Facilities Management (CAFM) platform has been in use at London City Airport since the late 1990’s. Originally Concept™ 300 users, London City Airport later upgraded to the Concept™ platform before upgrading to the fully web-enabled Concept Evolution solution in 2010.

As London City Airport FM consultant, for the FM department Martin David explains, Concept™ has been the lynchpin for success, and the airport is now looking for ways to extend its functionality deeper into the organisation.

“At the moment, Concept™ is predominantly used for task control - fault reporting, reactive and planned maintenance, stores management and parts ordering,” he says.

“But our strategy is increasingly to limit the paperwork, and we are going down the purely electronic route, so that engineers will receive jobs directly on their PDAs. That means making greater use of the Workflow module, as well as SLA and Concept™ Reports. The goal is to enable direct, transparent communications with the person who reports the fault. Any member of staff should be able to phone for help, and be notified that an engineer will be sent as a result.”

Concept Evolution was chosen because it fulfilled the airport’s criteria for managing FM tasks. All departments want to see what is being done on their behalf, and the comprehensive reporting structure was clearly ideal for meeting this requirement.

The Challenge

“The beauty of Concept™ is that you get access to all the modules immediately, at the touch of an activation key,” says Martin. “There were other CAFM systems to consider but I knew the platform from my previous experience with Concept™ 500, and I was quite happy that I’d be able to explain and demonstrate its benefits to the end-users in the knowledge that it would meet their expectations for expansion.

Implementation took 1.5 months, and the biggest challenge, says Martin, was loading the assets into the database - typical with any project of this kind.

“Getting the information into the system properly means that you have to plan very well before you start,” he says. “We drew a lot of flow charts to identify where the information comes from and how it’s put together. We needed to create and identify asset codes, descriptions and locations and, of great importance, decide who was going to use the system. And that meant training people to use and understand it.

“The whole Concept™ platform is so nicely integrated – and most importantly for us, it’s easy to generate reports within each module. This is a huge improvement within the new version of Concept™. Previously, you had to set them and then extract them with Crystal reports. Now we can design our own,” says Martin.

“Plus, users can log on any time, anywhere. It allows them to prepare timesheets, organise labour and resources, track suppliers and assess how much is being spent on any aspect of maintenance or service delivery.”

Martin says a good working relationship with the supplier helped the initial roll out to proceed smoothly – and continues to assist London City Airport FM team in exploiting Concept Evolution for maximum benefits.

“FSI are good at telling us what’s new in the system – and it is being developed all the time,” he says. “It’s a much more proactive approach: they constantly help us or tell us what’s possible. We have access to our own representative and we’re always able to get hold of them. And their training facility is very good. They came to the airport to train our people – on the live database rather than a simulation, which was much better.

“They listen to their customers, too. I tend to take notes when staff give me feedback on the system, and I’ll get on to FSI and tell them the system should be able to do something – and they’ll come back and tell us how it can.”

The Benefits

Concept Evolution has delivered major benefits for London City Airport, not least in speeding up the reactive work of the FM function and helping to allocate labour to planned maintenance tasks.

“Concept™ gives you a graph that demonstrates where your labour is weighted across the 52 weeks of the year. And if you can see the peaks and troughs associated with a particular task, you can work on turning it into a straight line so that engineers’ time is consistently maximised. It means the manager of the department knows how many staff are needed to fulfil specific work commitments.”

The FM team now have tighter control over another essential area – meeting statutory requirements, including lift maintenance, pressure vessels, etc thus ensuring statutory compliance.

“With Concept Evolution we can now track purchases, and generate a just-in-time schedule, with purchases properly categorised so that there are no wasted supplies.”

As Martin explains, the system’s green credentials also score highly, largely because there is now a big saving on paper on the FM front. Before, a monthly PPM report used up two reams of paper. Today, in digital format, it doesn’t use a single sheet.

Martin says there are savings all round – on stores, on paper, and helping to manage the labour loading throughout the year. “The reporting side is the big benefit for everybody, and the improvement that I’ve seen in the new version of Concept™ as far as that’s concerned is a major benefit: being able to do my own reports is fantastic.

“Of course, this comes at an annual cost. But it certainly isn’t excessive for the quality of support that we receive.”