A 2019 BBC News article by Chris Baranuik asked the question, “Why do airlines still mislay 25 million bags a year?”* We’ll look at Lean and Six Sigma applications focusing on improving baggage handling and finish with a video of the Individual Carrier System for baggage handling at San Francisco International Airport.


Applying Lean Six Sigma to Improve Baggage Connection Process: Kenya

In a case study titled “Improving the baggage connection process using the Lean Six Sigma approach” authors Willem-Jozef C.D. Van Goethem and others discuss the use of Lean Six Sigma at Kenya Airways to reduce connecting baggage related delays.

The case study includes:

  • Pareto Chart of User Identified Needs
  • Pareto Chart of Customer Complaints
  • Summary Customer Satisfaction Benchmark 
  • Primary and Secondary Breakdown of Cost of Delays Including Those Related to Baggage
  • Baseline Performances
    • On Time
    • Aircraft Off-Loading
    • Aircraft Loading
  • Root Causes Prioritization
  • Pareto Chart of Major Contributors to Baggage Turnaround Delays
  • Root Cause Categorization per Area of Improvement
  • Main inbound flights causing outbound load connection (RL) delay
    • Rotation due to baggage related (RL) delays
  • Average RL Delay Length in Minutes by Baggage Position on Aircraft
  • Solution Prioritization
  • Pilot Projects
    • Improve Out Station Loading Sequence
    • Improvement of Nairobi Airport (NBO) Confined Off-Loading Space
    • Improvement of Baggage Handling Reconciliation (BRS) and Ramp Teamwork
  • Case Study Results
    • Connectivity Delays Reduction
    • RL Delays Reductions
    • On-Time Performance Improvement
    • Impact on First Bag Last Bag Terminating Baggage
  • Control Plan

You can read the comprehensive case study here. 

Lean Six Sigma and Baggage Handling Efficiency: Kenya

In a Masters Project Report titled “Lean Six Sigma and baggage handling efficiency at Kenya Airways” author Nyang’wera Shelmith Khend discusses the use of Lean Six Sigma and baggage handling efficiency.

After a discussion of applicable tools, etc., the project report includes:

  • Data Collection and Data Analysis Methods
  • Survey on Areas that Kenya Airways (KQ) Needs to Improve
  • Conclusions and Recommendations

You can read the project report here.

RFID as A Tool for Achieving Six Sigma in Air Line Industry: 

In a short article titled “RFID — A Tool for Achieving Six Sigma in Air Line Industry with Due Focus on Handling Baggage and  Flight Planning” author Mohd. Shahid Salahuddin Ansari discusses how Six Sigma can be achieved through RFID in baggage handling and air flight planning

The article includes:

  • RFID Structure
  • Airline Baggage Handling and Current Process
  • Program Pertaining to Baggage Improvement
  • Baggage Reconciliation System
  • Conclusions

NOTE: To access the article, copy and paste the URL into your browser. Then scroll down one page to view the article.

Individual Carrier System (ICS) Baggage Handling at San Francisco International Airport

In a video from the Beumer Group, see their baggage handling system installed at San Francisco International.

You can watch the video here.




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