Metropolitan Nashville Airport Authority

Discussion in 'Microsoft Dynamics 365' started by bsdinsight, Dec 17, 2014.

  1. bsdinsight

    bsdinsight Well-Known Member

    The Metropolitan Nashville Airport Authority (MNAA) used many financial, reporting, and data systems to keep the airport functioning. Unfortunately, these systems were not well integrated and had not been updated in several years. The last thing the MNAA wanted was to get locked into another system laden with costly, custom code that couldn’t be updated. Microsoft Dynamics AX best fit their requirements for a configurable, full ERP solution.

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    The Metropolitan Nashville Airport Authority prepares for takeoff with Microsoft Dynamics AX

    To say that the minute-to-minute operation of the Metropolitan Nashville Airport Authority (MNAA) is dependent on data is an understatement. As the 33rd largest airport in the nation, the MNAA interfaces with more than a 100 government agencies and business partners each day: airlines (managing 390+ daily flights); federal, state, and local law enforcement agencies; federal agencies such as the Federal Aviation Administration, Transportation Security Administration, Customs and Border Protection, Fish & Wildlife, Environmental Protection; state and local government agencies; and airport tenants. With a list this extensive, it’s critical that the airport’s information management system is robust, secure, reliable, and quickly accessible.

    Information buried behind disparate, aging systems

    Over the years, the MNAA implemented many financial, reporting, and data systems to meet its needs and keep the airport functioning. Unfortunately, these systems were not well integrated and, because of many software customizations, had not been updated in several years.

    The MNAA’s aging systems had begun to negatively impact the speed of their business processes, especially procurement, work order, and financial systems. In 2013, the airport exceeded 10 million air travelers. A recent master plan showed that passenger traffic would more than double in the next 20 years, reaching more than 20 million passengers. In addition, the airport was coming to the end of a 30-year airline agreement. It became critical that layers of information could be collected, compiled, and accessed quickly to support the airport’s continued growth and improve their ability to negotiate a new airline agreement. An overhaul of their legacy systems was mandatory. MNAA needed to bring in a new enterprise solution to replace their slow, disparate systems; one that had the capacity to keep pace with their fast-flying business—now and in the future.

    The key is configuration, not customization

    The last thing the MNAA wanted was to get locked into another system laden with costly, custom code that couldn’t be updated. Says their Vice President and Chief Financial Officer, Stan Van Ostran, “Our goal was to avoid as much customization as possible. We really kept the focus on configuration rather than customization.”

    Continues Van Ostran, “We considered all of the major ERP systems, including Oracle, SAP, and Microsoft Dynamics AX. In the end, quite frankly, the Microsoft platform with Dynamics AX best fit our requirements for a configurable, full enterprise resource planning (ERP) solution. Then when we looked at price, they were almost half the cost of the closest competitor—a happy coincidence.”

    The MNAA went live in February 2014 with their implementation of Microsoft Dynamics AX—and they were pleased with the ease of the transition. Past software implementations often took months, and they encountered productivity losses and significant downtime. Says Van Ostran, “Our technical partner Crowe Horwath deployed Microsoft Dynamics AX for us, and the system was up and running on day one. We have experienced no significant delays or downtime with AX.”

    Robust data availability leads to robust opportunity

    Even though MNAA is the only commercial service airport in Nashville, running an airport is still a competitive business—nearby airports are always happy to pick up their neighbor’s traffic, with airlines and passengers constantly comparing their options. “We’re always looking to attract new airlines. We’ll get that business if we can control our costs and make it attractive for them to do business with us,” says Van Ostran.

    The future success of the MNAA relies on being an exceptional business partner to the organizations that support them. Microsoft Dynamics AX is already helping MNAA achieve that success. “Last week, one of our airlines wanted information on the number of flights that originated the past Monday. We were able to pull this information for them quickly. The airline had this data in their own systems, but their local representative found it easier and quicker to call us for the information than to attempt to retrieve it from their own systems. In our legacy systems, it would have taken us a week or more to find that data.”

    Crowe Horwath also assisted the MNAA in integrating many other systems directly with Microsoft Dynamics AX, including an airport tailored product, AirportIQ, which manages airport revenues and capital projects. Crowe Horwath also installed a complete suite of tools: Microsoft Dynamics AX Budget Control, Cash & Bank Management, and Fixed Assets. “We needed new technology for information management that was flexible and could accommodate our future growth and increasing data reporting requirements. We needed to be sure our data was timely, reliable, and accurate to support quick decisions. If it takes forever to figure out what your costs are, you’re not going to be able to make those necessary decisions in a timely manner, or worse, you could make the wrong decision,” says Van Ostran.

    In the time they’ve been using Microsoft Dynamics AX Procurement & Sourcing and Accounts Payable, MNAA has also seen benefits from improvements to their billing processes. The airport is paid by each airline based on the landed-weight of each plane. “We used to have to enter data on the aircraft weights manually, verify it, and then send it to the airline. Now are able to record these aircraft weights in real-time. All we have to do is check for accuracy, and send it directly to our billing system. This saves my staff a lot of time and improves the accuracy of our billings.”

    Software scalability means cost savings for the future

    Van Ostran’s vision for the future lies in anticipating what MNAA’s clients' needs are before they ask for it, and enabling “self-service”—making it easy for the client to get the information themselves. “The more we can gather, use, and share the better, and not just with airlines,” he says. “We’re actively measuring the queuing time through our security lines and we want to make that information available to passengers. People like to come at the last minute. If it’s a day that lines are out the door, we can alert passengers they need to get here early. It’s our goal to ensure passengers have positive experiences while at our airport.”

    With the new system, instead of having to manually pull information from many different systems and “massage” the data to be meaningful, MNAA is now able to produce reports using Microsoft Dynamics AX Inventory & Warehouse Management, Product Information Management and Enterprise Asset Management (DAXEAM), and other resources. That makes everything flow smoothly for partners and travelers alike. “If we’ve done our job well, passengers will probably not know we exist. We make sure we provide the resources our concessionaires and airlines need to do their job. The passengers are usually completely unaware of the efforts behind the scenes if we do our job right. They only experience great service,” says Van Ostran.

    With better access to, and control of information, the MNAA now has the ability to negotiate more favorable contracts with its business partners. Their ability to forecast and better allocate resources enables them to handle the forecasted growth. “We can handle doubling the number of passengers we expect to serve, to 20 million annually,” says Van Ostran.

    “Choosing the appropriate technology also helps us more efficiently move passengers through from here to there, and then efficiently handle them at the curbside,” says Van Ostran. “Microsoft AX provides the base technology that will help us avoid unnecessary capital expenditure, and will grow with us.”
     
: Dynamics AX

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