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Pie in the Sky
January 2000

LSG Sky ChefsA Preactor 300 FCS tool is now helping LSG Sky Chefs UK Limited prepare up to 100,000 airline meals per week. Focused on the meal assembly area, Preactor is estimated to have achieved measurable productivity improvements of up to 15% when compared with previous performance levels.   LSG (Lufthansa Service Group) Sky Chefs employs as many as 400 staff during the summer at its Manchester Airport Center of operations.

The company caters for around 20 different chartered and scheduled airlines serving Europe, the US and Far East. The aim is to prepare the meals as efficiently as possible, but at the last viable moment- so that the food is served at its freshest.

“One of the biggest challenges we face is tight deadlines,” explains Planning Manager, Steve Everitt. “The airlines can’t provide us with accurate passenger figures until 24 hours before departure time and sometimes even later than that if there are last minute bookings. We then have to prepare the meals accordingly, including special dietary requirements, children’s portions and so on”.

The challenge is addressed by attempting to forecast passenger figures and using Preactor to calculate the staffing levels and materials needed to meet the requirement on time and on budget. Once known, the actual figures are then re-keyed into give completely accurate forecast.

“These revised figures tell us whether more staff are required or whether we need to change the staff pattern,” Steve Everitt continues. “Preactor is a very visual system. The Gantt Charts are easy to interpret and can be quite quickly understood by all staff, even people who aren’t particularly computer-literate.”

“Another big benefit of Preactor is we can try ‘What if?’ scenarios simply by drag & drop-without having to re-key the data. It’s a very flexible system.”

LSG Sky Chefs found it a pain-free transition from it’s former spread sheet system to running Preactor.  This was on part because of the expert assistance provided by Kudos Solutions, a leading re-seller of Preactor systems. And in part because Preactor is uncomplicated to configure, allowing customers to do much of the work themselves rather than constantly calling upon the services of consultants.

“Preactor ran side by side with our old system for the first week’, Steve Everitt adds, ‘but has now been solely responsible for advanced planning in our labor-intensive assembly area foe about 6 months. However because staff are now always being used to their full potential, we have seen a 10% to 15% improvement in productivity. And that’s where the company makes it’s money, of course producing meals as efficiently as possible.”

Steve Everitt plans to begin Preactor in the kitchen storage and equipment areas very soon. “We don’t anticipate any technical problems,” he concludes. ”Unlike other new systems we’ve tried Preactor is a complete and finished package.”