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Customer Story

KLM Royal Dutch Airlines Transforms Finance Department into Information Master for Business

Oldest operating airline in the world gains more efficient expense forecasting, digital accounting, and operational problem-solving
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KLM Royal Dutch Airlines, the flag carrier airline of The Netherlands, employs over 36,000 people, operates a fleet of 229 planes, and carries passengers and cargo to 145 destinations. In 2004, it merged with AirFrance, with both airlines retaining their brands and hubs in Paris and Amsterdam. The year 2019 marked KLM’s 100th anniversary.

Use financial information to inform business decisions and lead in customer service, innovation, and carrier network efficiency
Data-driven analysis of accounting and operations in the finance department
Develop and implement use cases, including process mining for digital expense accounting and cost forecasting for delays and cancellations, while also training KLM employees to develop and productionize solutions

Mastering Data to Lead the Industry

KLM wanted to be the most customer-centric, innovative, and efficient network carrier within Europe. Stefan van Heukelum, manager of finance decision support at KLM wanted his team to contribute to this success. “Harnessing and evaluating data is key to finding priorities and efficiently executing them in our business,” explained Van Heukelum, “By focusing on data analytics and data-driven solutions and becoming a master of information, our department could provide the smartest, most valuable information and be a partner to the business.”

Uncovering Was Wasn’t Working

Process mining for digital expense accounting revealed that 90% of KLM’s processes went well. “Discovering that 10% of our processes were not carried out as instructed, that’s where Xebia really helped us and made a difference,” said Van Heukelum. One example use case revealed a revenue leakage within the cargo department. KLM ships quite a few horses and the existing process wasn’t designed for it. A workaround was being used to organize horse shipments in KLM's financial system, which created distortions in the revenue accounting process.

“Xebia brought its extensive experience to the table and combined it with our employees’ input. The result was extremely relevant use cases and pragmatic solutions which we now use in production. Incorporating data into daily routines helped us become a better, more efficient organization.”
Logo KLM-AirFrance
Stefan van Heukelum manager of finance decision support at KLM Royal Dutch Airlines

Analyse, Ideate, Implement

Using data science to forecast costs related to complaints and claims for delays and cancellations helped KLM solve operational disruptions and improve customer satisfaction. KLM was able to develop new solutions and productionize them: improving online payment methods, initiating a performance-alerting system, and optimizing the use of maintenance capital. From customer service to cargo shipments, KLM now has processes in place to collect and analyze information and develop new ideas, with a greater understanding of internal data analytics.

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