XML data is fast becoming the technological platform of choice with regard to aviation documentation. For OEM manuals such as Airbus and Boeing, the intention behind using XML is to ensure data is formatted correctly so that it can be easily assimilated into various EFB platforms, supporting your air operations whilst also remaining compliant to strict regulatory standards.
For your in-house publishing team, customising flight operations documentation with the flexibility that XML provides is, at first glance, great value. Capable of an infinite number of outputs and the ability to manipulate content structure with ease, XML seems like the dream choice for an in-house team to handle.
Yet structured documentation, with all of its undoubted benefits, does have its own challenges, particularly with the strict compliance standards in the aviation sector. XML demands sophisticated management, not just to facilitate the creation and editing of XML data but to manage the process of change.
Whilst there is an abundance of proprietary content management software that can aid your in-house team to create and manage its flight documents in XML, most are cumbersome and involve a high level of XML expertise to be able to edit information in a quick and efficient manner. It is a distinct skill.
Rest assured, this isn’t a new challenge and is faced by many an in-house airline publishing team having to deal with manipulating XML data. However, this could be affecting your employees’ productivity and efficiency, as well as costing you to hire or train specialised staff to deal with such complicated documentation structure. In addition this creates skill bottlenecks which, during heavy workload times, causes delivery delays.
Here are some more common challenges your employees may have when manipulating XML data and why it might be time to look at an alternative solution that would benefit your airline:
1. Handling Formatting Structure
XML is not only used to define the structure of your airline’s manuals in terms of section or paragraph, but it also determines the formatting of particular words or phrases. In some (if not all) situations, a change in the formatting can result in false identification of text. Where structured XML is concerned, this can cause publishing failure if the manuals do not perfectly comply with the original XML structure. For your in-house team and technical pilots, it will only prompt in frustrating and time-consuming fixes to be done.
2. Implementing Manual Revisions
With ever increasing compliance pressures, it is essential that airlines keep up with the latest OEM revisions. Whilst a number of change tracking and document comparison tools do exist for structured documents, not all are fully XML compatible. As a result, they suffer from a number of limitations that create further challenges and problems for document managers. Revision management then becomes a long-winded process.
3. Incorporating Tables
While you may not be aware, tables can be particularly cumbersome when managing XML flight documentation for your team, especially with the large amount of information at their fingertips and the requirement for accuracy in any changes to the content. This is also the case if the information is used in an integrated EFB platform. Identifying changes to the content of individual cells is relatively easy, but the addition or deletion of columns and rows, or the merging of cells, is far more difficult. Some comparison programs avoid these difficulties by simply showing the old and the new tables, but without identifying what has changed. In a large and complex table, this is hardly helpful to a reviewer.
An Alternative Solution
The objective of all airlines operators is, of course, to obtain maximum efficiency. This is so that airline operations are achieved safely and as a benefit the organisation continues to function profitably. However, with complicated challenges faced by your in-house publishing team and technical pilots in dealing with XML for Airbus or Boeing documentation for instance, this can affect the balance of operations and end up costing you more and upsetting utilisation.
The correct management of an airline’s documentation is an area too often overlooked as one that can provide a distinct advantage in ensuring planes can get off the tarmac in time. There is a solution, however, that can help ease the stress of your employees and cut costs for your organisation in the long run.
By using a partnered document management system such as DocuNet, not only will you will be working with a team who are specialists in XML editing and publishing, they will also become an extension of your in-house team, working swiftly during peaks to ensure that all documentation changes have been implemented correctly and on time. Your airline will benefit from a workforce with increased utilisation rates which can be better put to use in other areas, an increase in organisational efficiency as well as saving on costs on training and infrastructure.
Learn more about the benefits of using a partnered document management system in our interactive guide. Download for free today.