June, 2020

Key takeaways

  1. Unilode now has one standard method for all regions and functions to enter, supply, access, and interpret their enterprise data. Data quality is continuously improved thanks to the new transparency.
  2. The implementation of the Cohelion data platform was realized within just two months. Because of the user-friendly environment it ensured high user acceptance which made the use of local spreadsheets obsolete.
  3. With the help of Master Data Management all stakeholders now have access to up-to-date and accurate data which makes it possible to easily compare the performance across different divisions in order to improve their operations.
  4. All airlines served by Unilode are now able to monitor their own ULD usage against agreed SLAs in close to real-time on tailored customer dashboards created by Cohelion.
  5. The finance and procurement departments can make better procurement decisions based on historic trends, forecasts and total cost of ownership. A standard data foundation has led to better collaboration.

The challenge

Improve business performance with Data Integration

To support its growth ambitions Unilode needed to transition towards a more scalable data solution and decided to adopt the Cohelion Data Platform to integrate its data sources and create unified information throughout its organization. Internal and external stakeholders now have instant access to up-to-date and accurate data, allowing Unilode to not only run its operations more efficiently but also to enhance the operational reporting experience for its customers.

Unilode owns the world’s largest fleet of aviation containers and pallets, named ‘Unit Load Devices’ (ULDs), used by airlines to transport luggage and cargo, and operates a global service network for the maintenance and repair of ULDs and in-flight food service equipment.

With accuracy and timeliness always being of the essence for Unilode’s customers it is important to have ‘peace of mind’ that outsourced operations are in safe hands.

Unilode’s challenge is to use its pooling inventory efficiently to supply the right container and pallet at the right place at the right time, ongoing and worldwide – whether this is a ULD with passengers’ luggage or a cooled cargo unit containing critical medical supplies.

Heterogeneous data sources

To fulfill this promise on increased efficiency through pooling, Unilode must have accurate and timely usage data on all its ULD assets by collecting data from a myriad of data streams. Repair stations, offices, airport messaging data, customers, and  partners supply structured and unstructured data on a daily, weekly, and monthly basis in various media, data types, data formats, and software versions.

Having high-quality data in a central and consolidated data source that can be compared with SLA  Service Level Agreement) targets in real time was a major challenge for Unilode management due to the variety of in-company standards, ongoing deadlines, time zones, different languages, cultures, and software solutions.

Increasing challenges

Unilode’s business growth and increasing volumes of data created an opportunity to address some inefficiencies particularly on time wasted on the collection and integration of data, latency issues and allow it to anticipate market developments more quickly than previously possible.

To help address the improvement opportunity identified, Unilode selected Cohelion as the supplier of choice for constructing a new Enterprise Data Warehouse (EDW) with customized reporting dashboards that are available to customers and internal stakeholders.

The Cohelion data platform is ‘the glue’ between our
different applications and delivered immediate
benefits by helping us gain access to comprehensive
operational performance data.

The solution

Enterprise-wide Master Data Management and Data Consolidation with the Cohelion Data Warehouse

The first objective was to migrate all manual input data collection processes and eliminate the use of multiform spreadsheets. All data-supplying staff members now utilize a streamlined workflow on the new platform and input their data in a user-friendly and efficient manner, but most importantly in the proper standardized format. The data entry interfaces and source data integration were realized within just two months, after which data quality was continuously improved thanks to the new transparency.

User-friendly tools leads to high user adoption

With features such as automatic reminders for missing data, auditable data adjustments performed only by authorized users, and an intuitive user interface, user acceptance has been high from the start and the desire to continue using old spreadsheets quickly disappeared. A clear data audit trail provides trust and transparency.

Setup of the Enterprise Data Warehouse

The second step was to integrate all relevant multivendor databases and applications, and consolidate the data into one central Data Warehouse. Once this was completed the self- service Master Data Manager allowed Unilode to map and unify all data of the different company divisions and data entities.

Thanks to the introduction of the Cohelion Data Platform, Unilode can compare performance across different divisions by mapping all the data via the self-service Master Data Manager instead of reinventing all its operational software and building interfaces in between.

Unilode’s new ‘Single Source of Data Truth’

The final step was making the EDW data accessible to Unilode’s PowerBI reporting environment. A seamless integration with PowerBI on Azure makes data analysis and visualization of all data and dimensions possible. The refined data is also made available to finance and budgeting software applications such as SAP and Tagetik for further processing.

The benefits

Quality of data and accurate business reporting

The implementation of the Cohelion Data Warehouse and a Master Data Management model has created one central place and standard method for all regions and functions to enter, access, and interpret their enterprise data. Besides the exponential value provided by accurate data and a unified business intelligence source, the Enterprise Data Warehouse greatly decreased the data latency thereby ensuring timely business reporting of business critical KPIs including capital expenditure and as a consequence thereof resulting in faster decision-making.

Customer dashboards

In constructing its Enterprise Data Warehouse Unilode consulted closely with its customer base and perhaps the greatest win of all is that Unilode’s customers now have access to all of the critical KPIs needed to manage their contract with Unilode. With custom dashboards and views, all airlines are now able to monitor their own ULD usage against agreed SLAs in close to real time.

Based on these insights, customers and Unilode account managers can consult and respond even better to the needs of the customers, leading to an enhanced customer experience and satisfaction.

Better collaboration

The construction of the Enterprise Data Warehouse has also fostered extensive collaboration throughout the organization. By having a standard data foundation in place, it has become possible to improve alignment between departments. The finance and procurement departments can make better procurement decisions based on historic trends, forecasts and total cost of ownership (TCO) analysis when investing in new ULDs after consultation with the Unilode operations department.

About Unilode

Unilode serves more than 90 airlines worldwide with ULD management, short-term leasing, digitalization solutions, ULD and galley cart maintenance, and repair services through a network of more than 480 airports, 18 regional offices, 50 certified repair stations and 700 employees.

Their ULD and in-flight food service equipment solutions help airlines improve their business performance and deliver significant cost savings and operational benefits.

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