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Paperless planes

Taking a trip to a busy airport is the dread of many travelers. Waiting in long lines, bouncing from one self-help kiosk to the next as you first print out your boarding pass and then your baggage tag, only to wait in line again, is enough to fill any traveler with unparalleled levels of stress. Fortunately for everyone's sanity, more and more airlines are encouraging the use of mobile apps to reduce paper-filled friction.

The average adult spends over five hours a day on their smartphone. Whether it is browsing the web, scrolling through social media feeds, responding to emails, or making calls, the phrase "glued to the hip" has a new meaning for smartphone owners. While airlines do many things wrong in the eyes of the consumer, they are getting one thing right: the mobile app, which is a convenient travel solution for consumers who consistently have their eyes glued to their smartphones.

The use of a mobile app is designed to streamline traveling by reducing the friction of paper-based check-in, document verification, boarding, and other processes. Additional benefits include:

  • Reduced waiting time to board the plane thanks to the digital QR code associated with a passenger's ticket.
  • Improved re-booking and schedule changes for on-the-go passengers who need to change their itineraries at the last minute.
  • Fewer hours spent at the airport thanks to real-time flight status updates.
  • Better insights into airline policies, including bag weight limits, boarding procedures, connection times, visa requirements for international flights, etc. These insights help travelers plan ahead for a more pleasant frictionless journey.
  • The hassle of waiting in line for a paper ticket and keeping track of the ticket during multi-stop journeys is eliminated.
  • In short, from digital tickets to streamlined check-in processes to customized self-service seat selection, an airline's mobile app is designed to reduce the friction that a traveler would otherwise experience at the airport.

It’s easy to see how an airline's mobile app can take the friction out of your journey. You, the customer, can now eliminate many of the paper-filled and queue-inducing stressors that you would otherwise have experienced in your journey. Conversely, the airline can reap the rewards of a happier customer who is more likely to continue flying with their airlines and purchasing future tickets. It’s a win-win scenario that mirrors the removal of friction that Buyers and Suppliers experience in the supply chain thanks to automation.

For example, Buyers and Suppliers can leverage e-invoicing to overcome the frictions of calculating cross border taxes and sending and processing invoices for their partners who are based around the world. Just as the airline's mobile app helps a traveler better prepare for their cross-Atlantic flight by tracking and making accessible every detail of the itinerary, so too does Tungsten Network's Workflow solution streamline AP processes to reduce friction, helping Buyers reduce account payable costs by 60 percent or more and providing a full audit trail of all activity. Suppliers also benefit from an e-invoicing system that allows Buyers to process invoices faster, allows them to check the status of their invoices at any time, and prevents invoice exceptions that might otherwise hold up payments.

Just as traveling is made easier with an airline's mobile app, overcoming friction within the supply chain is easier when Buyers and Suppliers utilize the right technologies. Through straight through processing, elimination of late payments, maximized collaboration, and increased visibility, both Buyers and Suppliers can eliminate supply chain friction. Thanks to these technological advancements, everyone can enjoy a smooth experience from wheels up to touch down.

About the author

Connie O'Brien

As CMO, Connie is responsible for the Tungsten Network brand and ensuring the firm is at the forefront of the digital transformation of the purchase-to-pay process, with a focus on how we delight our customers through automated, scalable, dynamic and personalised experiences. Connie joined Tungsten from Affinion Group, an international membership and loyalty company where she was Chief Digital Officer. She has over twenty years’ experience driving digital marketing strategies for businesses, and has delivered campaigns for brands including GlaxoSmithKline, P&G, Kraft Foods, AXA, John Hancock, AT&T, Vonage and Verizon.

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