The future of aviation fuel tendering


You may know that we’ve been part of IATA’s Fuel Data Standards Group for some time, which aims to improve data exchange, and therefore business efficiency, across the aviation fuel industry.

Most recently this group has released a data standard for jet fuel tenders and bids and we’ve been building this into our software.

We just completed a ‘proof-of-concept’ workshop in collaboration with four major airlines and three leading fuel suppliers. The aim of the workshop was to test the new IATA data standard and to test a prototype of our electronic tender module (eTender), which uses the standard.
Interested in the results? Then read on.

Read enough? Find out more about eTender now

A data standard for jet fuel tenders and bids – Why does this matter?

The new IATA data standard for aviation fuel tenders and bids is a big deal for both airlines and fuel suppliers.

Why?

Because everyone in the industry knows that the process of tendering for fuel is one of the most manual, labor-intensive aspects of the whole aviation fuel management process.

Tenders take a long time to complete on both sides of the deal; the terminology used in tenders and their format isn’t consistent and therefore the responses from suppliers also vary greatly. This makes the job of comparing bids more difficult.

In short, airlines and fuel suppliers have had to put up with an out-of-date, inefficient tender process for too long. Time and resources have been taken up with too many routine administrative tasks.

But not any more.

ATA’s XML data standard for tenders and bids brings consistency of format and terminology, which makes it possible to automate much of the fuel tender process. And that means:

  • Improved data quality and accuracy
  • Improved staff productivity
  • Fewer disputes and queries
  • Better use of internal IT resources and budget.

Making tender automation a reality

To realize these benefits and make the dream of an automated tender process a reality, innovative software developers like FuelPlus need to build these standards into their platforms.

And that’s exactly what we’ve been doing.

We have just tested our prototype electronic tender module (eTender), which uses the new IATA data standard. eTender was trialed by these airlines – KLM, Lufthansa, WestJet, Atlas Air – and these fuel suppliers: Total and World Fuel Services.

What is FuelPlus eTender?

Our new eTender module is part of Airline.One, the world’s number 1 aviation fuel management platform. eTender creates a seamless link between fuel suppliers and airlines. Tender invitations, bids, new round notifications and awards/declines can all be sent automatically via IATA’s standardized XML messages.

So how does this solve the problems of the current tendering system?

  • All tenders follow a standard format and so all bids received can be automatically normalized, compared and ranked.
  • Manual work is reduced further because key fields in the tender invitation and bid are automatically populated, based on information already held in Airline.One. For example, fuel volume figures for the tender will be taken from the airline’s demand plan. This speeds up the process and makes human error less likely.
  • All communications are sent via a secure Internet connection and the whole process is transparent and leaves a digital trail, which can be scrutinized by Audit.

Find out more about eTender

What did our trial of eTender show?

The testing validated the IATA XML tender standard and proved that our prototype eTender module works. A number of fuel tenders were successfully published, bid for and awarded. Other tenders were declined and new tender rounds were also initiated. So overall, all stages of the fuel tender process were tested within eTender.

As we hoped, the airlines and fuel suppliers taking part uncovered a number of desirable feature additions and improvements, including the ability to run ‘closed envelope’ tenders.

All these suggested improvements will be further analyzed and submitted to the IATA Fuel Data Standards Group for consideration in the next IATA XML Tender Standard revision.

The future of aviation fuel management

eTender is just one of the ways we are innovating. Other developments include a move to the Cloud and Software as a Service (SAAS) model, which allows our clients to access our products wherever they go and to subscribe to just the software modules they need.

We’re also working on a wider collaboration tool, which will enable all parties involved in aviation fuel management to exchange a range of information more easily and quickly.

Our long-term vision is to develop the first ‘self-driving’ aviation fuel management system, which will automatically issue tenders, evaluate and award bids, set up contracts and pay suppliers. A form of artificial intelligence, it could take all of these decisions on behalf of the fuel manager, so they could spend their time on more valuable activities.

If you like the sound of that future, stick with us. Follow our journey on LinkedIn
Or find out more about eTender now