Last year, Heathrow Airport implemented the new ID Centre technology solution, IDGateway, for paper-less ID application and pass-management and it is already proving beneficial.
While many airports continue to use paper-based processes for ID application, Heathrow Airport proves that embracing technology can reap major rewards in both cost saving and time efficiency.
Heathrow airport had previously relied on paper-based application processes for airside passes, which are required by all airport staff – whether they work as security staff, cleaners or duty free sales assistants – to access airside or restricted zones within the airport. This meant that staff applying for passes needed to manually fill out the form and post out to Heathrow’s processing centre. The slightest human error would result in a rejected application, which could lead to delays of up to three months before the application was fully cleared.
However, by moving its applications processes online via IDGateway, Heathrow Airport has made major cost savings and significantly reduced a lengthy process from months to days.
“Our previous process for issuing airside passes was very inefficient,” explains Rebecca Corris, Heathrow ID Centre Operations Manager. “The costs were high as we were posting out applications, and it required a lot of manpower to check the thousands of applications we received. Even the slightest error, such as not fully completing all the sections or signing the wrong page, meant the application had to be rejected. Resulting in weeks of delay. Even when everything was good, with the paper-based application, a full airside pass could take on average 15 days to clear.”
Along with a lengthy process, there were concerns around the robustness of using paper forms, as Rebecca explains: “The fundamental problem with paper forms were that we relied on having just the one copy. So if an application got lost in the post, we’d have to do the whole process again. Also, with paper copies, we couldn’t spot trends or highlight any issues as each one was looked at individually. We needed a better solution.”
Rebecca continues: “IDGateway was our user preference, because they had a robust, workable tool. It took away a lot of the manual work from our end, and also provided some much-needed transparency for applicants.
As well as an enhanced user experience, IDGateway has made substantial cost and time savings, as Rebecca explains: “We can now fully flex our staff as they are no longer waylaid with the timely manual aspects of checking applications, IDGateway does the ‘heavy lifting’ on this aspect now so our team are now more agile. This helps us be much more efficient and also identify best practice within our process as everything is online. It terms of cost saving, we saved £60k in postage costs alone so far!”