The LSG Group provides several on-board services, handles equipment and logistics and prepares delicious meals following an integrated approach to create individual passenger experiences. But we don’t just think about how to make passengers happy. We also explore how we can make life easier for the unsung heroes of the catering chain: the crews. We spoke to Oliver Tappe from our IT department to find out what he and his colleagues are doing to ease the job of the people working in the galley.
Mr. Tappe, you are part of the LSG Groups’ IT department, which is responsible for the digital tools around our catering process. What are you currently working on?
We are doing things a little differently at the moment. In the past we focused on quickly fixing problems in the catering process that came our way. But now we are proactively working on solutions to make the entire catering process smarter. How can we reduce some steps by digitalizing the process? We have the necessary technical knowledge in our team and access to the catering processes in our units up to where the passenger gets his or her meal on board. This level of control gives us plenty of opportunities to simplify and digitize them.
So, how do we make crews’ life easier then?
We have developed some apps for tablets and smartphones that can help at certain points in the process. The first one, for example, is the Galley Guide. Presently, our catering team gives the crew on board a stack of paper with all relevant information regarding the loading of the airplane – on a Boeing 747 that’s actually 104 sheets of paper! We will eliminate this in the future by making the information available to the crew on a tablet with the help of the Galley Guide App. With the app, they can find the exact location of all trolleys and products by just using the search function. Additionally, the app includes the plating guide for First Class, wine recommendations and the crew list.
One other very sensitive topic regarding meals on board revolves around allergies and food restrictions. You told me that you are also working on an idea related to this subject?
Right! We have developed a so-called Allergen App, which allows crews to check if a passenger with food restrictions can eat a certain meal or not. It provides allergen information about all menu components and shows if they contain any of the 14 allergens mentioned in the EU regulation. In fact, the app has this information for every flight we cater departing in the EU and for all classes in a number of different languages. The app is based on the allergen information requirements of EU regulation 1169/2011 and the Allergen Information process established in Europe.
Are any of these applications you have developed already in use?
We have developed some apps for our catering production in our units that we are already using. The focus of those apps is clearly on the digitalization of our production processes in order to make them smarter and more transparent. And that we do a lot for the environment by digitizing paper-based processes goes without saying. In terms of the crew apps, we have presented them to several airlines and are convinced that they will fly on board in the near future.