Deliveringthe Goods

Talking with Dieter Streuli, CEO of Airline Assistance Switzerland

The AAS Secret

Working for a small ground services company is quite different from working for a larger company. What I like most about working for AAS is that our structure is so flexible. Everyone in the company knows a lot about what other people do. Instead of being so compartmentalized, if someone is missing, not feeling well, or needs to be replaced for some reason, another person can quickly step in and help out through teamwork.

For us, flexibility does not only mean just being fast and adapting to changing processes. Of course, flexibility means being fast to answer customer questions, but also being able to be adaptive to problems and solving problem procedures. The typical AAS employee is not someone who is seeking a bureaucratic structure where they can push paper and sort paperclips. Instead, each team member is an active player who depends on others and works in a truly teamwork-based way.

Close Knit Team

In this way, we really select for staff members who are polyvalent. Of course we want people who are good in the corporate world, but we look specifically for staff members who have a global perspective of how the entire industry works. Each one of the staff members is not necessarily interchangeable, but knows a lot about what their other coworkers are doing. This way, they can fill—in or compensate if there any inefficiencies, difficulties or sicknesses. It is a real advantage of having a small, close—knit team.

In today's diverse and globalizing world, our partners have very strict protocols that are specific to their needs. For example, partners might have cultural sensitivities that might require a lot of training. While some ground handlers might have dedicated teams to each carrier, we are too small to have things like this. But this is our advantage. Because we are small and flexible, changing procedures is easy for us. We simply sit down at a meeting table, bring everyone up to speed, and get right to work immediately. In this way, ideas turn into services in a very personal way very quickly. This is the AAS spirit.

Small size and personal touches are the real secret of AAS — we are composed of just over 80 team members. With so many responsibilities, we cannot always all get into the same meeting room and have a powwow on how to change our services. So we are dependent on individuals motivations and team meetings to subdivide the work, and spread the knowledge horizontally so that we can all get up to speed with a minimum of bureaucratic overhead.

Day in the life

Because we are small and flexible, changing procedures is easy for us. We simply sit down at a meeting table, bring everyone up to speed, and get right to work immediately.