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Manchester Airports Group (MAG) is the country's largest, UK-owned airport operator. Its four airports - Manchester, East Midlands, Bournemouth and Humberside - serve 28 million passengers every year.

As well as providing airlines with the services they need for their daily operations, MAG runs several thriving businesses: developing property; retailing; car parking; airport security; fire fighting; engineering; advertising; and motor transport.

A review of strategy having set the direction for the next business cycle, the Board decided to examine the organisation and its costs to ensure that MAG was 'fit and focused for the future'. Collinson Grant was engaged:

  • to review the structure of the organisation
  • to measure the work of the managers and office-based staff
  • to analyse the efficiency and effectiveness of the direct, customer-facing staff
  • to assess the total cost base of the business and recommend changes.

We used Process Activity Analysis (PAA) to assess the structure and work of the managers and office-based staff. Six managers drawn from different functions and sites were trained in this technique. Their work as a project team created an opportunity to reduce the indirect staff by 20%.

The work was centred on Manchester and East Midlands. We assessed seasonal arrival and departure patterns by terminal and reviewed supporting functions. Then we examined capacity in the terminals; car parks; forecourt; bussing; baggage handling; transfers; security; control centre and administration. Using a Lean methodology, we were able to pinpoint potential savings and opportunities to improve customer flows. Our recommendations, included savings totalling £20m, were adopted by the Executive Committee and formed part of a major restructuring of the business.

Simon Whitby - Operations Director, East Midlands Airport said:

"In looking for opportunities to reduce cost whilst maintaining service, we studied the number of passengers moving through the airport terminal and found areas of potential 'waste'. Collinson Grant helped us to improve processes and to work more flexibly to match capacity more closely with demand. Their expertise in Lean operations provided us with fresh ideas and real challenge. And the costs saved were well beyond the original targets set."