Air France KLM FSSC keeps operations running smoothly worldwide with Asana

Air France KLM
  • Air France KLM logo
  • Total number of employees
    • 84,000
  • Number of refund requests and fraud detection
    • 250 thousand
  • Number of employees in Budapest
    • 200

When Air France and KLM merged in 2004, they became the largest airline in Europe. Although the two airlines retained their strong, national brand identities—French and Dutch—they now house some of their operations under one roof.

“One of the fruits of marrying the two airlines was establishing a joint financial services center, which serves as an accounting center for both airlines,” says Tamas Kadar, a Business Development Manager at Air France KLM FSSC. The joint financial services center is located in Budapest and staffed by 200 people. “The whole Air France KLM organization strives to be more efficient and productive,” explains Tamas. “Having our service center in Budapest allows us to leverage several competitive advantages: location, infrastructure, staffing, and the economy,” he says. Budapest was selected because it’s geographically close to Amsterdam and in the same time zone. It’s also a great place to recruit a highly educated, multilingual workforce. This means they can take advantage of economies of scale and make operations more efficient and less costly than running a slew of separate financial centers in different cities.

The largest and most comprehensive addition of both staff and workload to the Budapest office was the migration of the Air France accounting operations. This began with a change in the sales administration, new revenue and accounting systems, and continued with the migration of accounting activities from approximately 150 countries. Besides running financial operations, the Budapest office also provides refund calculation of the 250 thousand or so refund requests and fraud detection.

In his role, Tamas manages the business development team, which develops applications to improve efficiencies in the accounting process and other business operations, as well as taking over activities from other global teams. For example, his team oversees the continuous improvement of KLM’s Refund Processing System.

A small team with a big impact

Keeping everything running smoothly while moving both airlines onto the same platforms was no small feat. Even more incredible: consider that the business development team only has six people on it, including Tamas. The team works out of Budapest, but their work may affect a workforce of more than 84,000 across the entire airline and 500 people working specifically in finance and accounting worldwide.

Serving such a large workforce necessitates a lot of collaboration: The business development team works closely with the innovation team and the application support team, who are in Budapest and in Paris/Amsterdam. The nature of their work means that they need to coordinate across multiple teams at different locations and professional areas. They were looking for a reliable system that would help them effectively manage and coordinate all their projects, keep everyone in different locations on the same page, and give them the ability to quickly report on their progress. They also needed to be able to easily build Gantt charts and integrate with other applications. For Tamas and his team at Air France KLM, that system is Asana.

Effectively developing apps to improve efficiency

A large part of the Business Development team’s responsibility is serving employee needs through technology. For example, Tamas’s team implemented an internal employee app for onboarding and training new colleagues through e-learning, online simulations and centralized training material. These were done individually and on-the-job before in a non-standard manner and materials were scattered around on the server of the FSSC. Employees can now more easily be guided through a standard learning path to acquire the specific knowledge needed for their job with the app.

Although the software to accomplish all of this is off-the-shelf, “the application needs to be customized because we have some very specific needs,” says Tamas. The team works with developers in the UK to customize the app.

Ideas for features and functionality often come from the people using the app the most: employees. When they have ideas for changes to the app, they can submit a request through a form. “This becomes a task in Asana where we can ensure that every step is tracked in defining, documenting, and specifying a new functionality—and then building it,” explains Tamas.

They also use Asana to triage request they receive via several channels: email, in person discussions, and more. Using the Jotform integration, Tamas’ team can route all incoming requests to an Asana project and prioritize them.

Asana helps Air France KLM FSSC constantly improve their apps and general experience through every step of the way, from gathering ideas for improvements and building out the features to testing them and fixing bugs. “The tool makes their lives easier, more efficient, cheaper, and less stressful,” says Tamas, “and Asana makes us more efficient at delivering on app improvements.”

Large scale projects, simplified

Tamas’s team also manages what they call innovation projects, or representing the FSSC in large projects that affect central operations. Ideas for these projects usually originate from the operations team or head offices in Paris and Amsterdam. The business development team typically works on up to ten different innovation projects at once.

A prime example of this was when Air France KLM implemented a new OCR solution for payable invoices on a global scale, automating invoice recognition and routing.

Due to a loss of templates during a system upgrade, his team was charged with the migration of tons of data and rigorous user testing.

“Our first thought was to manage the migration in a spreadsheet, but the document would have been too cumbersome and we wouldn’t be able to collaborate on it in real time,” says Tamas. “So instead, we imported the tasks to Asana,” he explains. Doing so was no small feat: Completing the project required more than 11,000 tasks assigned to 40 people.

Air France KLM photo

Using Asana to manage such an expansive project meant that everything was organized, tasks were clearly distributed and assigned to team members, and progress was easy to track. A quick look at the Asana dashboard let the team know if they were making progress or if challenges had slowed them down.

In addition to providing clarity and enabling real-time collaboration, “The team really loved using Asana because it was easy to follow their progress and identify where things were lagging or there were issues,” says Tamas. Looking at their dashboards gave them a quick snapshot of how close they were to reaching their goal, and “They loved the celebration animals as an added source of motivation.”

In addition to employees tracking their own progress, Tamas can export data quickly from Asana to show his managers the progress the team has made. For example, if he needs to update his boss on how a project is going, he can simply export the data from Asana into a CSV and make a pivot table out of it. “I can easily show my boss where we are and where we can be by the end of the year,” he says.

Complex reporting, carefully planned

For Air France KLM FSSC, data is paramount when it comes to making decisions and running operations. Gathering data and managing report requests is a key part of the business development team’s work. “In an organization of this size, real-time data and benchmark reports are very important, to be able to shift resources where they are needed the most or to pinpoint areas where a process can be further improved” says Tamas. Operational reports help management make more informed decisions, such as better understanding a backlog. They can use reports to evaluate whether something is a temporary backlog because of understaffing due to summer holidays, or a permanent issue because of increased workload.

Part of Tamas’ role is to provide these complex reports for higher management. But to achieve the level of reporting necessary, there are many data sources that need to be consulted and made available to operational managers and to top management for monthly and annual reports. And the reports generated are complex: Each report can take two to three months to prepare. With Asana, Tamas’ team keeps track of which team requested reports, what the data source for each report will be, the variables to filter the data, and how many people are involved.

“We use custom fields in Asana to help us prioritize reporting requests and to give clarity on who is doing what to generate them,” Tamas says. With tasks clearly assigned to team members, they can effectively plan their workloads and the delivery dates of the reports. And with accurate reports in their hands in a timely manner, management can in turn make data-driven decisions for the entire organization.

Working more efficiently

With Asana, Tamas’ team can track all of the work they’re doing, see their progress, and accomplish more in less time because they know what needs to be done to achieve their goals.

Tamas estimates that if they hadn’t used Asana for their 11,000-task accounting migration project, it “would have taken at least two months longer to finish.” With Asana, they were able to complete the OCR optimization project in just three months.

“In terms of speed, we really see that Asana brings us huge efficiency wins when managing a project,” says Tamas. With its ease of use, Asana has become an indispensable part of the way Tamas’ team works. “It’s very intuitive to use and easy to learn—the team was able to start using it all by themselves without the need of a training.” An added bonus for Tamas and his team? The smartphone app, which makes it easy to discuss tasks and projects while having a coffee in their lounge area.

Read more Asana Success Stories

Explore Asana

Asana is the easiest way for teams to track their projects and tasks, so they can get results.

Marketing Campaign

Marketing Campaign

Product Launch

Product Launch

Company Goals

Company Goals

Mission to the Moon

Mission to the Moon

Organize your work

Set clear tasks and milestones to give your team clarity on what needs to be done.

Organize your work

Help your team hit their deadlines

Let each marketer know exactly what work they’re responsible for with clear assignees and due dates.

Help your team hit their deadlines

Hit your deadline

Map out your campaign plan to visualize how all the pieces fit together, spot potential issues, and keep work on track.

Hit your deadline

Have actionable conversations

Ask questions or give updates with the work that’s being done, so conversations turn into actions.

Have actionable conversations

Attach files to your work

Tie shared docs, design files, and budget spreadsheets together so your team isn’t searching for info.

Attach files to your work

View work at a glance

Look at work on a calendar to keep an eye on timing and rally around important dates

View work at a glance

Track your progress

Keep up to date on project progress and quickly spot when things are off track.

Track your progress

Work on the go

Whether you’re meeting with a vendor, at a conference, or out of office, stay connected with Asana for mobile.

Work on the go

Run successful programs, every time

Asana helps marketing teams plan, manage, track, and launch initiatives that engage their audience.

Run successful programs, every time

Map out each step

Map out critical steps—from development to launch—so everyone has clarity on the roadmap.

Map out each step

Know who’s got the ball

Give clear owners and due dates for each piece of the launch, so you can release on time.

Know who’s got the ball

Launch on time

See how the pieces of your plan fit together so you can make adjustments and keep work on track.

Launch on time

Keep everyone up-to-date

Make sure important updates and conversations don’t get buried in email threads by connecting them to your work.

Keep everyone up-to-date

Store work in one place

Attach files to your project, so everyone knows where to find the correct info.

Store work in one place

Track dates and milestones

Keep an eye on important dates by viewing launch plans on a calendar.

Track dates and milestones

See what’s on track, and what isn’t

See how work is progressing to make sure you’re on track to hit your deadlines and goals.

See what’s on track, and what isn’t

Stay connected, wherever you are

Stay up to date on how your launch is progressing no matter where you are with Asana for mobile.

Stay connected, wherever you are

Ready, set, launch!

Asana helps product teams hit deadlines—so they can launch great products.

Ready, set, launch!

Map out priorities

Create tasks for each goal so everyone has visibility into company-wide objectives.

Map out priorities

Determine the right point person

Assign each goal to the appropriate person, so everyone knows who’s responsible, and who to go to with questions.

Determine the right point person

Make a plan to hit your goals

See how each milestone ladders up to your goals so you can feel confident you’ll hit your targets.

Make a plan to hit your goals

Share info and give updates

Keep stakeholders up to date on the latest info and progress, with updates and comments tied directly to your goals.

Share info and give updates

Attach important files

Integrate Asana with your file sharing tools to keep all your important docs in one place.

Attach important files

Keep an eye on important dates

Look at your initiative deadlines and milestones on a calendar to make sure you’ve nailed the timing.

Keep an eye on important dates

Track company progress

Understand what objectives are on track, and what needs your attention so you can hit your goals.

Track company progress

Stay in the loop

Get updates and weigh in on important decisions wherever you are, with Asana for mobile.

Stay in the loop

Hit your goals

Asana gives your team visibility into your organization’s goals, so everyone stays focused on what matters most.

Hit your goals

Get ready for the mission

Map out each step of your mission, so you don’t forget anything as you shoot for the stars.

Get ready for the mission

Know who’s in charge

Assign clear owners for each task, so your pilot, commander, and flight engineer know what they need to do.

Know who’s in charge

Map out each step

Create a launch plan so you can chart your course from start to finish, share it with your team, and modify it as conditions change.

Map out each step

Make sure all systems are a go

Ask important questions, have conversations, and give status updates to get your crew ready for launch day.

Make sure all systems are a go

Tie it all together

Connect Asana to the other tools you need for your mission, so all your information lives in the same place.

Tie it all together

Keep your eye on the prize

View each milestone on a calendar, so you can track important dates leading up to takeoff.

Keep your eye on the prize

Track your progress

See what’s on track, and what isn’t, so you can be sure you’re ready for launch day.

Track your progress

Work from anywhere

Keep up to date whether you’re in the office or on the moon, just make sure you have internet connection!

Work from anywhere

3, 2, 1… blastoff!

With Asana, your crew can shoot for the moon, and get there. All it takes is one small step…

3, 2, 1… blastoff!