SmartPref Preferential Bidding System - How it Works

A New Approach

SmartPref is fundamentally different than any other crew scheduling Preferential Bidding System (PBS) used today. As soon as Planners and Crewmembers see SmartPref's live flexibility and bid/rule awareness, all other bidding systems become obsolete. Our "Live Interactive" bidding is clearly the superior approach to the complex problem of airline crews bidding for their schedule, yet, until SmartPref was released, the logic and programming required to offer total visibility and awareness had never been solved. By using our Patent Pending processes, we've delivered the capabilities planners and crew have asked for, packaged within an elegantly simple, yet exceedingly powerful package.

With SmartPref, the difference begins as soon as you start bidding.

>>> Jump right to an image gallery of the SmartPref Preferential Bidding Interface

Pre Bidding

With typical Preferential Bidding Systems, the bid period simply represents the timeframe given for you to enter your bid preferences. With SmartPref, the bidding process is interactive. An "Initial Bid" is used for our live PBS. You get a chance to start the Bid Period with preset preferences. SmartPref does some of the work for you and is intelligent enough to have some awareness of what you want. Our initial bid is comparable to a "standby bid" in a conventional PBS.

The Initial Bid is used as a starting point. This bid includes most aspects of a normal line bid. It can be carried over month to month as your generic bid, or more accurately used as a starting point for your general preferences that you can easily modify during each bidding period. The Initial Bid is essentially generic in nature and not specific to the details of a bid period. When the bid period opens, you can begin your specific bidding for this bid period with this Initial Bid.

Continuous Building

When a bid period opens, crewmembers begin by seeing a complete summary of the details of the current bid period. The Status Overview, Inventory and Rules which are a part of the SmartPref user Dashboard, help the crewmember understand the current bidding situation in a broad sense. SmartPref employs a Bidding Activity tab. The content within this tab uses the saved bids of all crewmembers to show a user what kinds of trips are popular, the current usage and anonymous bidding activity of all other bidders.

Crewmembers then begin bidding and building their lines. Like most PBS systems, they specify their days off, line structure and trip preferences. The difference is SmartPrefs' wide array of criteria that allow users to describe and view the types of trips they prefer with great specificity. Trips with undesirable characteristics can easily be avoided. Bid for the entire month easily, all at once.


Awareness of all Rules and Constraints

SmartPref offers immediate feedback throughout the bidding process. Before you bid you see all the infomation you need as a crewmember to make the right bid. Number of days off available for the entire month at your seniority, number of crews working on any day at that point in the bid period. THe moving average, any critical days, your Carry-in, any training required. Training can be bid on like trips.

As you start to make choices and your preferences are entered, the system displays a line representing what you would hold given the current input. Behind the scenes, our system is continuously building solutions based on the most recent input of all crewmembers. All lines produced are valid and will fall within the utilization constraints set by crew scheduling planners. When a crewmember sees a line, it's not just a wild guess. It's a real line and a very good indication of what they can hold.

Over the course of the bid period, crewmembers return to the system as often as they wish. Each time able to modify their preferences and save a new bid if they choose to. Create multiple bids in a Sandbox. Bid for Reserve, Bid for days off, Bid for Trips over Days off, etc. Crews see how their line may have been impacted due to overall constraints or changes by those more senior. Use our unique Bid Sufficiency Scale to see if you have bid deep enough.

By the time the bid period closes, each crewmember has a very good idea of the quality of line they will hold.

And remember, even if something changes and you do not touch your bid again, SmartPref is still using your personally created preferences within your bid to WORK FOR YOU throughout the Bid Period to try to get the schedule you described. The schedule you built.

Line Award

At the end of the bid period SmartPref has the Line Award complete. No waiting, no Blackout periods. Unlike conventional PBS, with SmartPref, the Line Award does not have to be a complete surprise. Since crewmembers were aware of the availability of trips and days off during the bid window, they would have made changes to their bids in order to find the line that suits their preferences. These choices are made from real time inventories of trips and days off. Crewmembers see what is changing as the bidding progresses, and as constraints or rules might change.

The nature of SmartPref's real-time awareness creates a truly unique situation that is the crux of SmartPref's power. Specifically, SmartPref creates an environment where conflicts sort themselves out organically, DURING the bid window. Crewmembers will have been able to work on various award scenarios for several days. They can pick the one that satisfies them the most. The result is that when the Line Award comes out, it's clear that their expectations have been realistic and not inflated.

Of course, the Line award is not considered final until it's been reviewed by company and union officials. 

Try our Live Demos and see how easy it is to use SmartPref.