Planning the New Normal for Flexibility and Lower Costs

Planning Now for a More Fluid Future

Why a More Fluid Future?

After “events” like SARS-1 or Sept 11, people could get back to making future plans in much the same way they had before. In contrast, today’s pandemic has an uncertain timeframe and major long term effects. With the uncertainty in market demand, competition and regulations, plans may need to change daily.

Opportunity from Crisis – McKinsey’s 5R Approach
In McKinsey’s horizons 1 & 2, the initial focus is on Resolve, Resilience and Return. These are essential steps for survival and require flexibility and speed to deal with the immediate needs and risks.

In Horizon 3, however, there may be a real opportunity to Reimagine the new normal and to Reform your environment to create a new competitive advantage for the future.


What was the old “Normal”?

People talk about “getting back to normal” when there is a crisis. In the old “normal” you planned a seasonal schedule based on your network strategy, then sent it around to maintenance, crew, and operations to modify it to their requirements. Once all of those groups made their changes, you could work with the airport slot coordinators on initial submission and other changes.

Of course, things were never really that orderly and there was really never enough time, but that’s the way most systems and work processes were designed. What design is going to create the flexibility and speed needed for the new normal?

Planning for a Fluid Future

Uncertainties, frequent situation updates and fewer resources to do the work appear to be the predictable aspects of the new future for airline planning groups. Schedules may require major changes multiple times per week as the competitive picture and potential regulatory rules evolve. Forecasting demand will have a whole new baseline with unknown purchasing patterns to drive fare pricing and fleet assignment. The time it takes to send a schedule around to each department for their changes will be a big barrier to the desired flexibility and nimble response necessary to capture the speed of the market dyamics.

Dynamic Integrated Planning

Zulu has designed a flexible integrated system and customized intelligent solutions to be ready for the “new normal” in each of McKinsey’s 5R phases:

Resolve – Zulu’s native cloud accessibility enables working remotely while being connected in real-time. It’s secure, fast and collaborative.

Resilience – Zulu’s low cost cloud hosting and economical SaaS fee covers licensing, support and upgrades to reduce your total cost of ownership significantly compared to legacy systems. Included upgrades will keep the system up-to-date with your changing business needs also.

Return – Zulu’s ability to create and compare scenarios, make quick changes and integrate easily with other systems enables robust planning of multiple contingencies and accurate updating of other systems.

Reimagination & Reform – Zulu’s customer success team can help you with:

  • rethinking your best practices and work processes to optimize a new normal
  • having current booking and economic data in the system to support quick decisions on cancellations or gauge changes
  • adding new constraints (e.g. ground time for cleaning) and immediately visualizing violations needing adjustment
  • optimizing your schedule with maintenance and crew requirements so other departments’ jobs are much faster
  • intelligently automating and optimizing rotations to comply with new rules and other operational or regulatory constraints
  • loading and visualizing multiple airline schedules in the system to spot competitive opportunities in hubs or destination airports
  • providing a central source for current schedule information with read-access for other groups to Zulu analytics and dashboards

Zulu’s vision is that airlines will have the tools to be resilient and able to act quickly and confidently as the travel market demand turns back around.
Zulu offers free use of our system during this time to new customers who have struggled with older systems or manual processes in the current working environment. Please contact us to learn more.