Heathrow Terminal 5 (T5) currently processes 32 million passengers per year. The business want to significantly increase the capacity whilst maintaining or improving service. The aim is to have 3 potential targets:
- Process optimisation
- Optimisation of existing floor plates and process improvement with some capex
- Significant infrastructure change through major capex
Turner & Townsend Suiko were engaged to apply Lean thinking in the observation, measurement, analysis and recommendations relating to the arrivals process through Terminal 5. The work was timed to align with the half-term holiday period so that a peak period of demand could be seen and interpreted. The work involved:
- Conducting desk top analysis – reviewing and utilising the current data and modelling available, while understanding and documenting a high level process map
- Undertaking measurement and diagnosis of the actual current state processes – including physical process observation and targeted measurement, and understanding actual process times and the likely constraints
- Engaging with the wider Heathrow operations teams (as appropriate) – to help facilitate data collection and generate a true belief in the numbers. This included running workshops to verify the process and check the details
Developing a useful set of outputs – including a high level process map for arrivals plus detailed time taken for each element of the process to be fed into the relevant models created by the Heathrow team members in order to confirm the process constraints
Through direct observation (‘go see’) and targeted measurement, the team were quickly able to understand the demands on capacity and the peaks and troughs in those demand patterns throughout the day and week.
Through comparison with annual demand patterns, categorisation and analysis, the team generate a series of ideas (including some ‘quick wins’) to unlock further capacity through a range of process or operational improvements.
The data was supported by observation and analysis of passenger and baggage flow patterns; together with capacity and utilisation studies at each key step in the current process.
Making the difference
Within a short period of time, the team were able to validate and challenge existing data sets, provide targeted and valuable measurements and observations (backed up with photos where useful to tell the story), and unlock new insights on how the current process could be enhanced to unlock further capacity. Recommendations were presented in five categories:
- ‘Quick win’ opportunities for immediate trial and validation.
- Visual management and signage improvement to aid passenger flow through the arrivals terminal.
- Standard operating procedures (SOPs) and other simple decision-making tools to aid the operational management teams in smoothing passenger and baggage flows, while reacting effectively to the peaks and troughs in demand.
- Other areas where further observation, measurement and analysis may be beneficial (linked to targeted modelling).
- A set of more (longer-term or perhaps challenging) operational management, layout and/or shift pattern changes for further investigation and consideration.
The team pinpointed and prioritised the areas for further study and the overall potential improvement, plus a series of stakeholder engagement sessions were set-up and an action plan agreed.
These findings and analysis fed-into the wider ‘T5 Plus’ project to consider targeted capex investment to achieve the ambitions of the overall programme.
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