How can airports optimize the security checkpoint operations with a third-party staff provider?

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A large number of airports have outsourced their security operation to a third party staff provider, primarily with the aim of obtaining a lower cost of the security operation. The overall planning process remains the same but compared to a fully in-house operation; the outsourcing often leads to challenges.

Three primary models exist for how the split in responsibility is done between the airport operator and the staff provider.

1.   Performance driven

In this model, the airport states a performance requirement, say 85% of passengers within 10 minutes, with no passenger waiting more than 20 minutes. The staffing provider is responsible for forecasting the passenger presentation, determining the lane opening plan, and securing accurate staffing levels.

The airport typically pays on a per passenger basis under this model.

Advantages

Clear responsibilities – security provider is in charge of the full process

If paid per passenger, staff provider is compensated for unforeseen growth

Challenges

Third party provider assumes risk of lower throughput due to  a higher images per passenger ratio

Lack of ability to optimize planning

Incumbent provider will have a large advantage in a new tender

Ownership of data – third party provider needs data which is owned by the airport operator – and airport operator may need data owned by the third party provider

2.   Ordering passengers

In this model, the airport is ordering passengers to be processed – typically in 30-minute intervals across the day. Connected to the passengers to be processed is a requirement for a given performance in place. The staff provider must be able to process the ordered passengers in each 30-minute interval. If a lower number of passengers is processed and waiting time occurs, the staff provider is penalized for the poor performance.

Advantages

Financially clear in that the airport operator pays for the passengers ordered

Challenges

Creates suboptimal lane opening plans as the focus on 30-minute intervals is not in line with best practice security planning (longer periods of time must be considered to be in line with best practice)

Airport typically adding a significant buffer to the forecast to minimize the risk that forecasted passenger numbers are too low

Changes in images per passenger not accounted for by the model (increasing numbers will hurt the staff provider, decreasing numbers will hurt the airport operator)

3.   Ordering open lanes or hours

In this model, the airport orders a number of lanes to open across the day, alternatively a pool of lane hours to be distributed across the day. The staff provider must supply the staff required to open the lanes.

Advantages

The airport operator can utilize operational data to create accurate lane opening plans

The airport operator is closely tied to the operation and can impact performance directly

Challenges

The risk is on the airport operator regarding the accuracy of the lane opening plan

Real-time updates to the lane opening plan can be difficult for the staff provider to adhere to

Recommendation

In all models, there is a need for a common platform supporting the planning of the security process.
Copenhagen Optimization’s cloud-based solutions ‘Better Forecast’ and ‘Better Security’ ensure a clear methodology and communication for all parties involved in the Security checkpoint operation and thus enables a win-win situation for all parties in the process, including the passenger of course!

Want to learn more? Contact us at contact@copenhagenoptimization.com

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