Global Airways: scalable manuals management for a growing operation

"The system checks everything for you and warns you when it comes across irregularities.”

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South African operator and ACMI leasing company Global Airways admits that when it heard about Web Manuals’ claims for its system to digitize and standardize operations manuals, it initially sounded “too good to be true”.

After a trial period using the Swedish system however, Johannesburg-based Global revised its opinion as the time-saving, automatic configuration options and efficiency of regulating its manuals became immediately apparent.

“We used to have a manual system,” explains Vera Helm, who has responsibility for flight operations at the airline. “Everything was done in Microsoft Word and obviously, that led to a lot of issues with consistency between the manuals and the layouts, especially when it came to control pages like annotation of changes, list of effective pages and correct table of contents information. Even the numbering system was complicated and prone to errors. ”

Like many airlines, Global has several manuals, covering areas such as flight operations, maintenance, quality, safety and standard operating procedures for both pilots and cabin crew, as well as training manuals for its training organization. The operations librarian was overwhelmed with the amount of work required just to keep the current manuals up to date, without considering the additional work of new manuals, forms and checklists.

For example, revisions to the safety manual would be written by the company’s safety officer, who would then pass them to the librarian to implement. “It was quite an arduous process,” Helm admits. “There would be a lot of back and forth between the owner of the manual and the librarian to effect the changes required, whereas now the manual owner can effortlessly make their own amendments with the guarantee that the manual control pages are 100% accurate, eliminating the margin for human error. Best of all, a complete audit trail of amendments is now available with multiple levels of internal and external approvals being recorded.”

Global operates a fleet of seven Airbus A320s (with another due to join imminently) together with a Douglas DC-9-32. It also plans to step up into the long-haul, wide-body market later this year.

The company has operations based through central Africa, the Middle East and Indian Ocean Islands, so personnel are widely scattered, further complicating the manual distribution process.

The introduction of Web Manuals’ system in autumn 2016 has had a material effect on that process, says Helm. “It probably cuts down multiple inputs by 90%, because you don’t have to cross-check everything you’re doing. The system checks everything for you and warns you when it comes across irregularities.”

“It’s now relatively simple to run what is almost a master manual and link information into other manuals using the fantastic content mirroring tool – you don’t have to remember to update each one individually as the system warns you when a change has been made to the original information.”

She adds that introduction of the Web Manuals’ system was generally straightforward: “There were tiny things we had to work around with the project team …but it was a very smooth process and the training, a full day that we chose to spread over three days or so, was excellent.”

Global is in the process of adopting Web Manuals’ ‘compliance libraries’, which integrates into the document management system the regulations of several authorities: “You can select the libraries applicable to your operation – for example, FAA or EASA. The system requires that each regulation be referenced. If the regulation changes, Web Manuals will automatically notify you that you need to update the information in the manual to maintain compliance.”

Visit Global Airways here: http://www.g-airways.com/

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