Simplifying FBO Management for Your Airport
A fixed-based operator (FBO) provides products and services for an airport such as hangar rentals and fuel services. As an FBO organization, you're responsible for a myriad of tasks, often confined by tight schedules and fast-paced operations that create complexity.
Without software to manage an FBO, oversights are bound to happen, which can lead to service delays, late invoices, and other challenges. If you're looking to improve FBO operations at your airport, you need an advanced solution capable of conforming to the industry's unique challenges and goals.
Key Responsibilities of FBO Management
FBO management represents a long list of responsibilities, but the most critical elements include overseeing fuel sales, arranging fuel delivery, and keeping track of all transactions that occur. Management also consists of budgeting, accounting, hiring, training, and coordinating with various service providers.
Depending on the size of the airport, an FBO team member may need to work with airport authorities to create emergency plans and train staff. They may also need to regularly hold drills and training sessions regarding the proper procedures during a fire or other incident. Safety is a key point of focus for any FBO operation, but it's far from the only concern.
Ultimately, effectively managing a modern FBO operation is near impossible without a software solution in place. Even for a well-trained team, paper-based processes and disjointed systems represent complexity and inefficiency that can create challenges and delays. To offer the best service to crew and support speedy airport operations, adopting an FBO management system is key.
What Is FBO Management Software?
FBO management software is designed specifically for the aviation industry. Aerosimple's FBO management software is even integrated into an all-in-one platform to support airport operations, giving teams all of the tools they need in one place. With an FBO management solution, staff should be able to work quickly and efficiently while handling daily tasks.
FBO management software does not introduce new services, but rather simplifies the oversight and management of what your team is already doing. It can, however, introduce new capabilities such as auto-generated reports, alerts, and notifications where ever helpful. Being able to configure these features will make your team more productive throughout the day.
Choosing The Best FBO Management Software
As technology continues advancing and software finds its way into just about every industry, aviation is no exception. As such, there are plenty of options available when it comes to FBO management software, which makes it all the more important to do your research and ensure that you select the right one.
While each airport's needs and challenges are unique, the best FBO management software will have the following features to help you meet your goals.
For an FBO team to operate at peak efficiency, they must always know when a flight is about to arrive or depart. As such, easy flight scheduling should be integrated into the FBO management tool. At a glance, team members should be able to view flight arrivals and departures in local time and receive alerts when a flight is arriving late or expected to arrive early.
Notes on individual flights should be available when helpful. For instance, if a flight is going to require service upon landing, it's important that the FBO team has this information in advance of its arrival to ensure they can relocate resources to the right place so the flight is not delayed for its next departure time.
Managing the delivery of fuel, both coming into the airport and going into planes, is crucial to an FBO team. Failure to properly track and manage fuel could result in delays that affect all operations at the airport. When teams look at the FBO management system, they should be able to see all fuel requests in one place so they can prioritize planes accordingly.
Having fuel requests organized in a dashboard will also help with resource allocation, which speeds up fuel delivery. For instance, if all team members have access to the dashboard, they will know the gate and time without needing to confirm with each other manually. As a result, all required personnel will be on time with less back-and-forth.
If a flight needs service before taking off or upon arrival, the FBO team should be able to track the service request seamlessly from the time it is put into the system until the services have been rendered and the plane is on its way. Proper tracking of service requests helps ensure speed, but it also supports accurate reporting and invoicing.
Teams who look at the dashboard will be able to help coordinate with maintenance and repair personnel based on the plane's requirements, ensuring that the right people are at the gate to meet the plane in a timely manner. This means less time spent calling people on the radio and fewer chances for ghosting, confusion, and late staff.
Aside from managing all of the daily tasks and duties of an FBO team to ensure that an airport can continue operating smoothly, the team is also responsible for invoicing for fuel delivery and services rendered. Having a system in place greatly simplifies this process as it means invoices can be generated automatically based on information that was put into the system throughout the day.
In addition to generating invoices for services rendered, the FBO team can also track those invoices to know when they are due, when they are paid, and if they are late. This simplifies follow-up and helps expedite payment processing. Invoices can be sent via email and alerts can be used to remind the payee when it is past due.
Accounting & Reporting
With invoices managed by your FBO system, you will be able to instantly generate financial reports for accounting and tax filing purposes. This alone can save your team countless hours of administrative work while improving accuracy and helping you find opportunities to reduce costs or tailor the budget.
If you choose an all-in-one platform like Aerosimple, your airport will benefit from combined work order and operations management tools that further simplify reporting. Meanwhile, with fewer paper-based processes, your team enjoys better security, improved communication, and less time spent on repetitive tasks.
Should You Switch to a New Solution?
If your airport is already using an FBO management solution and you're thinking about switching, it can be daunting. Choosing software the first time around likely proved to be a time-consuming and even confusing process, but don't let worry about switching discourage you from upgrading to better software. If your current software is not meeting your team's needs, it's time to consider a new solution.
You should consider adopting a new FBO management solution if:
- Your current software is not based in the cloud. Cloud-based software is faster, more secure, and allows your team to access crucial information from any device, any time. This accessibility improves productivity for everyone.
- Your current software lacks features. If you cannot effectively manage fuel and service requests, send invoices, or generate reports using your existing FBO management software, you need to upgrade to a solution with modern features.
- Your current software does not integrate. Disjointed software is a major challenge facing small operations as they look to adopt modern solutions. If your FBO software does not integrate with your other solutions, it's going to impact productivity and reporting.
- Your current software is not being used. If you attempted to implement FBO management software in the past and your staff abandoned it or continue avoiding it, it's not doing its job. Staff avoid software when it's slow or ineffective, and that means you need a new solution.
Tips for Adopting an FBO Management Solution
If you think adopting an advanced FBO management solution means you can't go wrong, think again. While choosing the right software is a big first step, you're not in the clear until you've come up with an implementation plan and followed through with it to ensure your staff knows how to make the most of the new solution.
The only way to know that software adoption is truly successful is to set goals and associated metrics to help you track how the software impacts productivity. For instance, you might track how long it takes for your team to respond to a service request before the software, and how the software has impacted that response time after six months.
Establishing these metrics in advance will help you determine if software works for your airport, and what's even better is that you can track these metrics during a free trial to help you decide before you commit to a solution.
Define New Procedures
Adopting new software means that your team's current processes will change, perhaps drastically if you are currently using paper-based processes. Before you throw staff into the new software, you need to define the right way for them to go about things. For instance, if there is an invoice generator, should they check it before sending? Should they use the tool's email sending feature or download it and attach it manually to a message?
Oftentimes, laying out these processes requires you to bring in one or two key staff members who will be using the software and getting their input on how things should be handled. While it takes time, establishing procedures will ensure consistent, effective adoption once you roll out the software for your whole team.
Train Your Staff
Organizations that take a "build it and they will come" approach to software are rarely successful. Do not assume that your team will welcome a new software with open arms, especially if there is a learning curve to using it (as there often is). You need to plan to train your staff on how to use the software while also explaining why they should want to use the software.
By showcasing the benefits a solution offers for your staff, such as less time spent manually typing up invoices, you will be able to garner adoption more quickly. Making sure that someone is available to answer questions and offer assistance is also essential to avoiding staff problems and frustration.
Continue Seeking Improvement
For many small airports, adopting an FBO management solution is the first big step they take towards modernization, but there are countless opportunities for improvement once you get the ball rolling. Aside from continuing to track and improve metrics, you should also seek to integrate your FBO solution with other tools that can help your airport operate efficiently.
At Aerosimple, we offer an all-in-one platform that integrates a suite of critical tools into one intuitive user interface. If you're interested in learning more about our solution and how it can help your airport grow, try it for yourself! Get started today with a 60-day free trial.