Station managers at a major American airline company found their shift bidding process to be cumbersome and inefficient. For their bi-annual shift bidding, they were spending 40 hours each time building and approving the shift schedule for their team members. Additionally, they had come to understand that many employees felt frustrated about their bid results and believed there was favoritism at play.

The team conducted research to uncover that the majority of station leaders did not utilize flight schedule data to build their bids; additionally, the process was mostly manual. Both factors in turn created operational inefficiencies. To combat the negative perception regarding shift bidding fairness, the leaders implemented 10-minute briefings to help employees understand the “why” and the “how” of the bidding process to enhance transparency. Four test stations piloted the new bidding process for early results.

The 82 station leaders that handle shift bidding gained 5000 hours back into their schedule to allocate to other, more productive activities. Additionally, the project team delivered a 2.5% reduction of overtime spending, against a projected 1.5% reduction, which translated into $563,230 in savings. Overall project savings was approximately $1.4 Million. Last but not least, the new process involves a more comprehensive use of software to conduct shift bidding, resulting in a more informed and optimized schedule of three to five months, rather than a single month.

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