Case Study: Airwork
Flying High with Airwork
Contract Eagle delivers the perfect solution to a high stakes, high value and highly complex Contract Management challenge in the aviation industry.
When you’re a global supplier of aircraft, you’re in the business of managing seriously high-value assets.
Which also means managing seriously complex contracts – with million-dollar consequences if they’re not carefully monitored.
Airwork Holdings' contracts are to own, operate, lease, maintain, upgrade and support helicopters and fixed wing aircraft. This requires careful management of numerous assets as well as insurance and security obligations.
“Our business is varied and multi-layered,” says Lisa Langdon, Contracts Advisor for Airwork’s legal team. “I guess all businesses say that, don't they?”
“But our contracts are quite complex. We needed an adaptable, flexible contract management tool.”
When Lisa first arrived at Airwork five years, ago there was no contract database at all.
“Just finding contracts was a problem,” Lisa recalls. “Even in Auckland, Airwork is spread out across multiple sites, so tracking down a copy of a contract was incredibly time-consuming. Then when found, it had to double-checked to verify that it was the final version or if there were later versions held by someone else at a different site.”
To solve the immediate problem, Airwork implemented a SharePoint database as a repository for signed contracts. SharePoint made it easier to find contracts, but managing obligations remained a time-consuming and often frustrating exercise.
“We have a lot of rights and obligations in our contracts,” Lisa explains. “Airwork has regulatory and insurance obligations that we owe to third parties, or that they owe to us. We also have obligations to our bank regarding security on the assets. So even with SharePoint, I was still running a separate spreadsheet to track obligations.”
Plotting a Course
Lisa joined forces with Airwork’s CIO, Brian Fair, to find a more robust solution for managing their complex contract portfolio. “Of all the vendors that presented to us,” Lisa says, “We felt Contract Eagle was the most customizable, and that we would be able to set it up to manage our contracts. It ticked the box for functionality.”
“Another thing we liked was its look and feel; its user-friendliness. During the sales process we heard how Contract Eagle aimed to deliver ‘the best possible user experience’, and after reviewing other solutions we were satisfied that the user experience was going to be a great fit for Airwork.”
Remembering the limitations of SharePoint, Lisa wanted to be absolutely sure that Contract Eagle would be right for the job before making a large up-front investment. So Airwork ran a pilot of Contract Eagle, paying a monthly subscription that they could cancel at any time.
“This gave us our own database to configure, test, and really establish whether it could work for us.”
Lisa quickly understood the value Contract Eagle added to the business, rolling it out across Airwork’s Fixed Wing division. “I found it very logical, very easy to set up, and really easy to customize, so I can make it do what I want. And I'm not a technical person – far from it!”
She then presented Contract Eagle to her colleagues in the Helicopter division, so they could transform their segment of the business in a similar way: “We knew what we were getting out of Contract Eagle in the Fixed Wing division would benefit them too. Their contracts are quite different to ours, but we knew that we could use Contract Eagle to create a customized solution for their contract management needs. Now both divisions are prolific users of Contract Eagle.”
Contract Eagle has provided Airwork with plenty of benefits, including faster access and greater certainty. It’s certainly made Lisa’s life a whole lot easier: “If I have to look up something in a contract – which I do all the time – I know that it will be in Contract Eagle, that it will be the right version, and that I'll be able to find it in seconds.”
Airwork now has over 170 contracts in their repository. Some are accessed regularly, while others sit quietly in the background until their renewal dates come around – at which point Contract Eagle notifies the contract owner to act. “The date reminders feature has been one of the biggest benefits to us,” Lisa says. “I can't tell you how good it is for us to just get an email reminder that an action is due for renewal on a certain date.”
“As well as date reminders, some contracts have staggered payments. We can let the system email us, or we can check on Contract Eagle’s Dashboard to see when dates are approaching.” Airwork’s Finance Manager uses the Dashboard to see when payments are due, which also helps with financial forecasting and helps avoid missed payments.
Following the success of the implementation in New Zealand, Airwork rolled out Contract Eagle in their Australian offices. Now Lisa’s colleagues across the Tasman can use Contract Eagle’s adaptable, user-focused solution to manage their contracts.
Where to Next?
Airwork has also embraced the ability to customize their database. The ability to set up aircraft and engine serial numbers as a custom field means they can search by individual asset and see its past and present contracts. "We can identify when an asset entered or departed our fleet, where and when it was operated and/or maintained and by whom," explains Lisa. “We've also begun loading additional documents such as business cases, so that we have the background as to how, when and by whom that contract was approved. Together with the Audit History, we’re building up a living history of our contracts and our fleet.”
“By choosing Contract Eagle, we have a system that we can customize ourselves easily and quickly,” Lisa concludes.
“I love it.”