SLCA: Fueling the aircraft handling industry with high-octane analytics

About Servicios Logísticos de Combustibles de Aviación (SLCA)

Servicios Logísticos de Combustibles de Aviación (SLCA) supplies aviation fuel and lubricants to airlines and private clients at more than 20 Spanish airports. A joint venture between BP and Repsol, it was founded in 2008.

Industries: Travel & Hospitality
Location: Spain

About Intelligence Partner

Cloud consultancy and Google Cloud Premier Partner Intelligence Partner is headquartered in Spain, with offices in Madrid, Barcelona, London, São Paulo, and Dubai.

SLCA optimizes its fuel delivery service to more than 300,000 flights a year by unifying data from multiple applications on a business intelligence solution built on Google Cloud.

Google Cloud Results

  • Enables SLCA personnel to spend 80% less time on data analysis thanks to the BigQuery BI solution
  • Doubles prediction accuracy for asset purchases and resource management, helping employees and refuelers adapt to demand and improve efficiency
  • Creates highly informative dashboards for operations teams that can be accessed from anywhere

Delivers 5X faster data analytics

Every day, hundreds of airlines rely on SLCA to refuel aircraft as they make their way across the continent. The company delivers kerosene and aviation gasoline direct to thousands of planes at more than 20 Spanish airports, including the busiest ones such as Madrid, Barcelona, and Palma de Mallorca, with a large number of operations compared to smaller ones. With tight turnarounds and multiple stakeholders, it takes fine-tuned logistics, as well as hydrocarbons, to keep an airport running like a well-oiled machine.

"Even the most basic process, such as attending to a parked aircraft, requires a lot of up-to-date information in order to avoid delays," says Antonio Molina, IT Director at SLCA. "We need to refer to contracts, contact customers, read real-time flight information, and access parking data, then use that to define the time slot available for us to service the aircraft, get the fuel to the plane, and take the pilot's electronic signature when the job is done."

"The aircraft ground handling industry is a latecomer to the cloud. One of our main challenges was to direct ground operations at airports toward internet technology, and we're proud to be one of the industry's leading companies worldwide in unlocking the power of cloud technology."

Antonio Molina, IT Director, SLCA

It's a process that SLCA successfully completes for more than 300,000 deliveries a year. To manage it, SLCA implemented three separate corporate applications: KEROS, an advanced and user-friendly multi-language Airport Fuel Management System, developed in-house and commercially available; SAGE 200c, a specialized enterprise resource planning system for accounting, procure to pay, and sales to cash processes; and INFORMA, an asset and vehicle maintenance, incident, audit, and training management software. Together, these business transaction applications help to ensure that the information database is fully up-to-date and that no action is taken until all the fields are complete.

To optimize services, create efficiencies, and improve accountability, SLCA looked for a way to connect data between these three applications via a cloud-based business intelligence (BI) solution.

"The aircraft ground handling industry is a latecomer to the cloud," says Antonio. "One of our main challenges was to direct ground operations at airports toward internet technology, and we're proud to be one of the industry's leading companies worldwide in unlocking the power of cloud technology."

Breaking down silos to get the bigger picture

For industries that keep information in silos, analysis often involves manually lifting data from different sources in order to create one-off research reports. This can be impractical for ongoing analysis or easy reference and can make it hard to picture the overall health of an organization. At SLCA, the BI team needed to export data from its three applications to a spreadsheet, where analysts could run calculations and internal applications to parse the information.

"Now, when we attend meetings with airports, airlines, or other stakeholders, we can call up dashboards and statistics on-demand, wherever we are. The data is clear, quantified, and it really improves the level of conversation. We can give our teams a deep understanding of the whole environment."

Antonio Molina, IT Director, SLCA

When a flight is delayed, airports look to establish the reason, in a process that typically takes place a few days after the flight. As SLCA handles an average of more than 800 flights a day, its previous reporting process meant that it couldn't always defend its operations with detailed, comprehensive data. SLCA needed faster, more responsive, and authoritative analytics.

The company looked for an implementation partner to help it address this challenge. "We looked at seven partners, and decided on Intelligence Partner for its knowledge and professionalism," says Antonio. "Intelligence Partner led the project and introduced us to Google Cloud products, advised us on our options and the best approach, and provided user and administrator training. As users of G Suite, we were already familiar with Google Cloud. We ran a benchmark against other providers and found that the cost-quality ratio of Google Cloud was unbeatable."

Intelligence Partner and SLCA use Talend, an open source data integration platform, as an ETL tool based on instances in Compute Engine. This delivers information from the three corporate applications to BigQuery and Cloud Storage, ready for visualization in Tableau, which also runs on Compute Engine. "Now we can understand one transaction through all three systems," says Antonio. "We can see all the historical activity of one of our trucks, for example, whenever we want. SLCA is able to analyze any of its assets as a whole, taking into account the most relevant data in the areas of operations, maintenance, and costs. And with Tableau, we create dashboards for our operations teams, so they can view up-to-date information on everything we do.

"Cloud analytics takes our business to the next level. We've recently been awarded contracts at four new airports by taking their information and applying it to models developed with our new business intelligence solution. We can be precise about resources in a way that just wasn't possible before."

Antonio Molina, IT Director, SLCA

"Now, when we attend meetings with airports, airlines, or other stakeholders, we can call up dashboards and statistics on-demand, wherever we are," says Antonio. "The data is clear, quantified, and it really improves the level of conversation. We can give our teams a deep understanding of the whole environment."

Making detailed bids for contracts with better business intelligence

Thanks to the new BI solution, SLCA personnel spend 80 percent less time on data analysis. On top of this, the team reports that they are much more accurate in their predictions about asset purchases. "When we decide whether to buy or retire refuelers, or move them to another airport, we can test different scenarios, adding or reducing variables such as virtual resources and planning shifts, or including airport authority statistics before we make a decision," says Antonio. "That was impossible before. And with this new depth of analysis we can account for factors such as seasonal changes. This is crucial in Spain, as there are more than twice as many flights in summer as in winter."

SLCA reports show more accurate prediction about asset purchases
SLCA reports show more accurate prediction about asset purchases

Next the team is looking to roll out dashboards for departments outside of operations, including finance, HSSEQ, IT, and human resources. And in the longer term, Antonio and his team aim to leverage the new data warehouse on BigQuery with AI products.

With the level of detail SLCA is now able to collate in its new BI solution, the company isn't just better protecting its performance and track record, it's now also empowered to proactively improve the conversation with customers to meet their expectations. According to Antonio, it's a new dimension of accountability. "Cloud analytics takes our business to the next level," says Antonio. "We've recently been awarded contracts at four new airports by taking their information and applying it to models developed with our new business intelligence solution. We can be precise about resources in a way that just wasn't possible before."

About Servicios Logísticos de Combustibles de Aviación (SLCA)

Servicios Logísticos de Combustibles de Aviación (SLCA) supplies aviation fuel and lubricants to airlines and private clients at more than 20 Spanish airports. A joint venture between BP and Repsol, it was founded in 2008.

Industries: Travel & Hospitality
Location: Spain

About Intelligence Partner

Cloud consultancy and Google Cloud Premier Partner Intelligence Partner is headquartered in Spain, with offices in Madrid, Barcelona, London, São Paulo, and Dubai.