Tuesday, 1 March 2016

MBAs logistics insights at DHL's airline catering operation

A big thanks goes out to Ian Lovelock and his team @DHL for offering Royal Holloway students an exciting insiders look at airline catering logistics.  This was another innovative first for the MBA International Management programme, which looks to provide a stand out general management education by including extensive interactions with industry based professionals both on and off campus.  

Yes - you read it correctly - DHL provides the European in flight catering product for British Airways (and a growing list of other world class airlines).  Much of the value and complexity in on board refreshments sits in the supply chain and Dr. Adrian Coronado was delighted to be able to link his supply chain teaching with a rare behind the scenes study visit.  

Perhaps rather surprisingly, the DHL facility does not have a kitchen, but assembles British Airways' refreshment and beverages trolleys using a linear process flow.   Used equipment enters at the west of the building where it is deconstructed, deep cleaned and then assembled and dispatched, just-in-time of course, through the loading bays on the east.  

Freshly made menu items for business travellers flying in the Club World cabin are brought in from a specialist caterer on the other side of Heathrow airport.  Bar code scanning technology is deployed to customise the inventory levels and reduce waste on a flight-by-flight basis, to ensure that BA cabin crew have just the right amount of each stock item to delight weary air travellers.  

MBA Director Justin O'Brien stated "I am delighted to see our MBA students benefit from Royal Holloway School of Management's growing partnership with DHL.  All these smiling faces (photo below) are a testament to a highly memorable business engagement. "