“One Happy Island”—with a moniker like that, it’s no wonder millions of travelers a year decide to visit the sublime Shangri-La of Aruba. Aeropuerto Internacional Reina Beatrix, otherwise known as AUA Airport, is the primary gateway to this tropical paradise that has become one of the Caribbean's premier destinations. Shuttling visitors from Baltimore to Amsterdam, over 150 flights from across the globe make their way to AUA Airport every week. With a population just slightly larger than a packed football stadium, this merry, but modest island’s airport provides services to 32 international airports, in 12 countries, and 28 destinations. In 2019 alone, 2.53 Million travelers and 27 different airlines used AUA Airport for their travel needs. While most travelers visit Aruba for leisure—tourism accounts for the majority of the island’s economic activity—the underlying irony for the team behind the scenes at AUA Airport is that vacation is hard work.
With its focus on passenger safety and regulatory compliance, airport operations require strict attention to order, accuracy, and accountability. In order to achieve the maximum operational efficiency needed and maintain the vital assets of the high-pressure airport operations industry, companies need a state of the art Enterprise Asset Management system, which is why AUA Airport proudly employs IBM Maximo Asset Management. As a best-in-class solution, Maximo streamlines and modernizes daily asset management and maintenance tasks, delivers near real-time visibility into asset usage, assists in better governing of assets, and extends the useful life of capital equipment.
Even with all its success with Maximo since its implementation, in 2017, the airport decided to make a fundamental operational change to make the most of their Maximo investment. After years of using a third-party vendor to manage its Maximo environment, AUA Airport decided to take control of their data and install their own Maximo system. Monique Palm, CMMS Administrator for Airport Development at Aruba Airport Authority N.V., succinctly states, “data drives decisions” and “the airport needed access to its data, on its terms, in order to make the right decisions.”
In the early stages of their Maximo revitalization, AUA Airport officials visited Schiphol International partner JFK International Airport Terminal (JFK-IAT) and saw how their New York colleagues were using Interloc Solutions’ Mobile Informer solution to help them affordably manage their complex facility and terminal Enterprise Asset Management (EAM) operations. It was readily apparent a key component to JFK-IAT’s success was Interloc’s depth of knowledge and understanding of the unique airport environment.
Looking for a solution and a trustworthy partner, Palm tells the story of the initial meeting with Interloc as “collaborating in one conference room with one big whiteboard, we put ideas down, and it was fantastic. I told my superior, "we were ready to go."” AUA Airport found in Interloc the partner they could trust to deliver! As Ms. Palm describes, “the power to make better decisions on the reliability of your own equipment. That’s what quality asset management gives you, the power to have better reliable equipment. Interloc’s Mobile Informer over Maximo solution has been the reliable, affordable and flexible solution to do just that at AUA Airport.”
Interloc’s Maximo mobility solution provided AUA Airport a much desired fresh start. From the onset of their re-implementation, AUA Airport was working in the direction to own all of their data. When AUA Airport elected to find a new Maximo provider, they decided not to carry over any of their existing data and begin anew with fresh data, presented precisely in the manner they wanted. It took Ms. Palm and her team eight months to manually recreate the assets, collaborate with new maintenance providers and enter maintenance plans, contracts, job plans, etc., but Palm states, “ once we went live, we had 100% support.”
The impact of the airport’s newly implemented Maximo solution was immediate. An example of the near-instant efficacy was evident in the evolution of the maintenance procedure for several mature air handling units. The aged air handling units were receiving quarterly Preventative Maintenance under their previous system, but were still recurrently breaking down and in need of repair. Once AUA Airport had its Interloc implemented Maximo EAMS in place and operating as the airport had envisioned, the results were noteworthy. “Having the power of our information,” Ms. Palm recalls, “we were able to see we needed to do it bi-monthly. We saw that, drastically, our breakdowns were minimized. That’s the power of having the data. You can make changes to the PM program. We see the difference and it works.”
AUA Airport’s Maximo implementation from Interloc proved dividends from the start in both its asset and materials management, but, with Mobile Informer, AUA Airport is able to truly optimize its Maximo investment and revolutionize its work management procedure.
“We’re using the mobile informer app to get the information to our technicians,” states Palm, referring to a seemingly ever-growing list of necessary technicians required for the increasingly popular airport. Like many other enterprises still searching for a true asset management mobile solution, AUA Airport had been using an error-prone, paper-based system for work orders. Every morning the airport authority would print work orders for technicians, but human error and the fallibility of paper filing systems are not friends of efficiency. The threat of misplaced or duplicate work orders, though rare, was always present. Now, with Mobile Informer, work orders are assigned directly to the technician or maintenance provider through the Informer Work Management application, generating improved data accuracy and availability. With Informer’s Work Management app, paper-based problems are a thing of the past, as technicians can manage work orders, from creation to completion all on their mobile device, in on-line or offline environments.
Thanks to Mobile Informer’s user-friendly, intuitive interface and familiar native application features, AUA Airport can quickly train its contractors on the Informer Work Management Application. Mobile Informer allows contractors, who have a better understanding of their technicians' qualifications and availability, to assign and manage work orders. Because of this ease and efficiency, Aruba Airport plans to have all of its maintenance contractors on board and engaged with the Mobile Informer Work Management application in the next few months.
Change, or more accurately, the idea of change, can be challenging. However, once the benefit of change becomes obvious, it’s readily accepted; this is where Mobile Informer’s 100% user acceptance claim holds true.
This concept was illustrated at the airport by one of the companies AUA Airport uses for airfield lighting. “When we sat down with the technicians, they were skeptical and reluctant,” Ms. Palm said with a chortle. “These technicians were reluctant, but once they started using it and saw how easy it was to use and how user friendly, we’ve never had any issues. Now they’re doing better than any other company.”
Between the sun and the sand, most people find it difficult to leave Aruba. As it stands, if you don’t plan enough buffer time before the flight home, you may not be able to. The growing airport almost has more passengers than it can handle, and according to Palm, “Long lines full terminals… on Saturdays, you used to be able to arrive two hours ahead, and now it’s closer to three.”
AUA Airport continues to plan and make adjustments to its operational capabilities. There is a planned airport expansion in 2022 to handle the rising volume of travelers, and Palm’s team is anticipating an expansion to Maximo as well. She is looking to increase staffing by a third to accommodate the expected increased Maximo and Mobile Informer workload.
As tourism continues to increase to the island—it jumped roughly 9% from 2018 to 2019, according to World Bank—airport operational efficiency becomes more and more essential. The economic needs of this happy island derive from tourism, the majority of which begins at AUA Airport. With Interloc Solutions’ Mobile Informer and its team’s expertise in Maximo implementation and support, AUA Airport is prepared for the continued challenges and changes that come with elite airport operations. The Mobile Informer solution provides Aruba Airport Authority N.V. complete mobility without compromise.
AUA Airport, with Maximo and Interloc Solutions, is truly ready for its next adventure.