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BA delays at LHR - Computer issue

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BA delays at LHR - Computer issue

Old 3rd Jun 2017, 13:13
  #501 (permalink)  
 
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Originally Posted by fltplanner View Post
PAXboy - this all sounds persuasive, but if things are so predictably dire why is BA share price so bouyant ?
Actually it's the IAG share price as BA is an Opco (operating company) of IAG. The share price has largely recovered from the initial plunge. Why has it recovered? Because BA will suffer little long-term harm from the chaos. After all, with over 50% of the Heathrow slots, punters often have no choice but to fly BA.
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Old 3rd Jun 2017, 13:15
  #502 (permalink)  
 
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One could also say that large successful organisations are often formed based on collective passion and customer understanding. At some point - flushed with success - everyone with either of the above has been successfully driven out in favour of spreadsheet modellers, bonus maximisers and share price worshipers.

Neither of the last two can see the mountains ahead - be they technology, competitors or changing customer needs, but for years it doesn't seem to matter and last years business model is rolled out again 'wrung a little tighter'. By now no one actually understands the business (aka the passengers who pay)

The final phase usually involves a 'heroic' reduction in service scope and level, cuts to long-term planning and investment and/or downsizing/sell-offs to keep the executive pay and bonuses coming one more year . .

Then a $10m bonus for selling the remains of the mess they made off elsewhere
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Old 3rd Jun 2017, 13:41
  #503 (permalink)  
 
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There is a tried and trusted way to build and maintain good systems:

You recruit a good team.

You train them well.

You pay them well, (not excessively, but well).

You ensure they have good terms and working conditions.

You ensure they have good equipment.

You pay overtime when necessary.

You value them.

Hey presto; they will be motivated and will create and maintain a good system for you. They will be proud to work for you and will go the extra mile for you as well - working on a bank holiday or overnight if an emergency occurs for example.

As soon as a company starts outsourcing things, the "ownership" and "pride" of maintaining the system is lost. The accountants can show an apparent saving on the balance sheet, but this will be temporary, as BA have just unintentionally proved.

No disrespect to any contractors: they will be called in and will do the specific job they have been contacted to do - but they will not have, nor be expected to have the overview or ownership of the whole system, and they will effectively have blinkers on. The old school systems engineer will notice other little things while working on the system and will take it upon themselves to sort them out when they have a minute in the interests of maintaining and improving the system. The contractor will generally not do this.

In my working life, I have been lucky to have worked under the conditions I set out above, but I have also seen outsourcing happen again and again. In my experience, the post outsourcing results have never been an improvement on what was there originally. Only the accountants, shareholders and the boss, (with his increased pay and bonuses), ever think the contrary.
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Old 3rd Jun 2017, 14:24
  #504 (permalink)  
 
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Uplinker I totally agree. I was fortunate to work for most of my career for just such a "good" organisation: motivated, creative, dedicated, elitist even. The scrimshankers were few, and did not stay for long.

Then we became a government agency, with money mentioned every ten minutes, "the bottom line" and all the management speak. People who were not "us" were brought in, created shambles, and left for more money elsewhere, having learned the price of every thing and the value of nothing. Outsourcing impacted the delivery of our very simple products.

The products? Accurate and timely weather observations, and weather forecasts as accurate as the state of the art allowed.
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Old 3rd Jun 2017, 14:31
  #505 (permalink)  
 
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Langley/Uplinker, are either of you aware of any definitive studies demonstrating what you suggest? I tend to agree with both, so am not disputing the sentiment, but it would be useful to know of any peer reviewed or accepted work?
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Old 3rd Jun 2017, 14:44
  #506 (permalink)  
 
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Consumer group Which? urges BA to do more than the legal minimum when compensating passengers.

BA urged to 'do more' over compensation for bank holiday flight chaos
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Old 3rd Jun 2017, 15:49
  #507 (permalink)  
 
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Jetstream67, Uplinker and langleybaston,

Wise words, and I thoroughly agree. I used to fly for BA many years ago and, as others have mentioned on this thread, the rot began during Bob Ayling's time with too many MBA type people with little real understanding of, and no passion for aviation.

I am very glad I am long retired.
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Old 3rd Jun 2017, 16:26
  #508 (permalink)  
 
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Originally Posted by Heidhurtin View Post
Langley/Uplinker, are either of you aware of any definitive studies demonstrating what you suggest? I tend to agree with both, so am not disputing the sentiment, but it would be useful to know of any peer reviewed or accepted work?
No I fear not, but those of my generation who reached high-middle management levels just before the MBA years sit round a table with me, nod wisely and agree. We might just be whingeing old scrotes, but the whingeing is very focussed.
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Old 3rd Jun 2017, 16:49
  #509 (permalink)  
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PAXboy - this all sounds persuasive, but if things are so predictably dire why is BA share price so bouyant?
I think that most of the answers given by others are valid. Particularly Jetstream 67 and Uplinker tell us what used to happen and no longer does, and what is happening now, both neatly stated.

You never know exactly how a company is going to end - until it does. In the UK Woolworths, HMV and others just hit the buffers and vanished as the competition was too great and did not need to pick up the stores and staff.

However, what is known about airlines is that the ROUTES are still going to be there as well as aircraft and crews - not all but many get reused - so some value will remain, even if the original company has gone. e.g. SABENA to SN Brussels Airlines and SwissAir to Swiss International Air Lines.

Of course, some just get bought out, all that matters is that BA, as currently constituted, is at the end of 90+ years and there are not many companies that make it past 100. Therefore, the present set up will end even though the current event has only caused a blip on the finances - the 'blip' for the customers cannot be measured!

BA is very profitable and will continue for some years and still be worth investing in for the very short term. However, it's longer term has been shown to be risky. After all, if they can:
  • stuff up their most critical support service
  • tell customers to use their insurance
  • not have mgmt visible and showing contrition
  • pretend that it's all just an unfortunate blip ...
What else in their stable is enduring the same kind of appalling mgmt? We know that their customer service and regard for the pax has been sliding steadily; we know that they no longer value their flight and cabin crew either - what's left of the company?
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Old 3rd Jun 2017, 16:57
  #510 (permalink)  
 
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As someone earleir emntioned the UK in a list of rapidly declining /failing entities a good example of this appallingly arrogant and unthinking attitude to life came from Theresa May today (and all hues of politician could have said something like this)

Question from member of public,
Will there be more money for the the NHS ?
Answer from PM 'There is no magic money tree' (thinking wonderful, i can get this sound bite in yet again)
Comment from Questioner -Oh because I am a nurse and my pay has been the same for 8 years.

If thats how we value nurses then what chance have long term experienced and dedicated IT staff got against a spreadsheet wielding psychopath (or is it sociopath, then again does it matter which one)
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Old 3rd Jun 2017, 17:58
  #511 (permalink)  
 
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Originally Posted by LTNman View Post
I used to install UPS's and they have a limited lifespan so I wonder if anyone changed the batteries when they time expired? Best to do it every 3 years but many companies forget which isn't helped when they sack their IT staff.
In large commercial systems UPS's are banks of batteries that the systems always run off. External or backup generator power trickle charges the batteries. There is no 'changeover' as far as the systems are concerned all power comes from batteries all the time. If someone is really determined they can break the rectifiers providing normal power to the machines - but that should be of no consequence to a remote backup system which would seamlessly take over and users should not notice.

We are not being told the whole or even partial story - quelle surprise!!
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Old 3rd Jun 2017, 18:08
  #512 (permalink)  
 
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Originally Posted by Uplinker View Post
As soon as a company starts outsourcing things, the "ownership" and "pride" of maintaining the system is lost. The accountants can show an apparent saving on the balance sheet, but this will be temporary, as BA have just unintentionally proved.
All so true. In addition, there is always a certain "inertia", where old-style enthusiasm and interest in the customer and company interest is retained, despite the new corporate structure. This particularly applies if the outsourcer/new company starts off by retaining a number of the established staff, and their procedures.

Over time this evaporates. I suspect there were initially, after the Tata outsourcing, a notable number of staff who were "old school", and retained their knowledge and enthusiasm for ultimate client BA, despite the new name on their payslips. Of course, over time they go, or are ousted, and get replaced by those who bring none of these qualities, but have been recruited and trained to do everything "by the (new) book".

Notice how long it's taking to repatriate/sort out the bags. Time was when numbers would have pitched in and worked 12/16 hour days, some paid, some not, to deal with this. Nowadays the Cruz mantra is "no budget for any such overtime, and I don't care about you anyway, such a task is not about saving money so is irrelevant". So it all just drags on, and the paying customers get infuriated.
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Old 3rd Jun 2017, 18:27
  #513 (permalink)  
 
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Originally Posted by langleybaston View Post
No but those of my generation who reached high-middle management levels just before the MBA years sit round a table with me, nod wisely and agree
Interestingly I'm at that point now, although in a non-aviation business. As I mentioned I agree, but it would be nice to have some hard evidence to perhaps fight off some impending "efficiency measures". With great sympathy for those affected, I'm not ashamed to say that the BA issue couldn't have happened at a better time to support my own dogged resistance to my current employer following a similar outsourcing path.
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Old 3rd Jun 2017, 18:28
  #514 (permalink)  
 
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@HeidHurtin and others:

Thank you for the positive feedback.

I have no scientific studies to quote, but I do have 35 years of experience as a minion in industry: 16 years as an electronics engineer in the BBC, 2 years freelance satellite uplinking, 17 years as a commercial airline pilot in two airlines.

(Funny that my shortest employment should produce my forum name - perhaps that tells you something, since as a satellite uplinker, I was my own boss.)

Anyway, all I know is what I have observed over the years. This country used to produce goods. Now companies only exist to produce profits. At some point there has been a sea-change in CEO school: They have realised that it does not matter what you make or what service you provide, you just have to make maximum profits. If that means paying your cabin crew 11,000 a year, outsourcing your IT or call centers, and/or making your crews wake up at 0330, then fine, who cares ? They have their yacht in PMI and they don't really give a damn.

Just a short example before the red wine clouds my thinking too much. At the Beeb we used to have commissionaires. These were lovely guys, ex military, ex police or whatever, who manned the gates and provided security. They were proud of their position. They got to know you, you got to know them. There was mutual respect both ways and everything worked smoothly. Then some genius decided that they could save 2 by sacking all the deeply loyal and committed commissionaires and employing an outside security firm.

Well for a while things seemed to carry on sort of OK, except there wasn't the same cover at weekends, evenings and bank holidays. But then one evening they were seen going through component stores filling black bin liners with stuff from the parts bins, i.e. stealing stock that the licence payer had paid for.

In airlines they have sold off their ground handling agents and now employ companies who pay minimum wage zero hours contracts. Unsurprisingly, there is a lot of "sickness" and vastly reduced cover at weekends, bank holidays and cup final days. This leads to delays, but frankly, who can blame the ground handling employees?

Last edited by Uplinker; 4th Jun 2017 at 11:35. Reason: Edited to remove possibly libellous comment !
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Old 3rd Jun 2017, 18:47
  #515 (permalink)  
 
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It's become a disease, it used to be that staff were lost when a company made a loss- now they get rid when the company doesn't make enough profit. Strangely whenever the company does do badly it's never those at the top who suffer, even though they allegedly are paid the big bucks to take responsibility, somehow they're never responsible. Funny that.
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Old 3rd Jun 2017, 19:09
  #516 (permalink)  
 
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What is happening at BA is continual reorganisations to lose staff even though it's making record profits. I know many of the IT people who have left the company, and I keep shaking my head at the loss of good people with a lot of expertise. I am sure that BA will be around for a long time, but it isn't the company to work for if you want a career.
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Old 4th Jun 2017, 09:19
  #517 (permalink)  
 
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Originally Posted by Caribbean Boy View Post
What is happening at BA is continual reorganisations to lose staff even though it's making record profits. I know many of the IT people who have left the company, and I keep shaking my head at the loss of good people with a lot of expertise. I am sure that BA will be around for a long time, but it isn't the company to work for if you want a career.
It does start to look as if Virgin Atlantic could outlive BA.
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Old 4th Jun 2017, 17:07
  #518 (permalink)  
 
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There was an interesting article in Friday's Financial Times (I would give a link but unfortunately its behind a paywall) but whilst noting that BA's profitability and & share price have increased it said that BA has moved from being very customer orientated to entirely profit making (and WW makes this very clear). The question is whether this is sustainable in the long term. BA under King & Marshall was seen as an vast improvement over the BA of the seventies. There are other options although frankly some of BA's competitors aren't much good themselves. Dangers lurk ahead.
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Old 4th Jun 2017, 17:29
  #519 (permalink)  
 
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There's only so much you can cut before you hit the important stuff, problem is the sociopaths in higher management think you can do it indefinitely......
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Old 4th Jun 2017, 21:10
  #520 (permalink)  
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Peter47
I agree I see dangers ahead. I worked in a different industry, but noted the same general thinking. A real problem as I see it, is for retired staff. If BA goes bust (I have no indication that is imminent) then what happens to the pension fund black hole? Government will pick up some of the debt in my industry, but not all. That is a major problem of allowing pension funds to have black holes in the accounts. Its all based on the continuing payments from the employer - which if they go bust won't happen. Quite how accountants can say its "OK", I really don't understand - its morally corrupt, if legal. Pension is deferred pay and should be 100% protected.
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