26.01.2017 12:57

Bitten by the digi bug

The other evening I was surfing the web and came upon an article about megatrends. It was no surprise that digitalization was featured prominently. When I reached the bottom of the page there was a link to a quiz that revealed which "digital generation" you belonged to. Seeing as I am a curious person, I of course took the test!

Now I consider myself pretty comfortable with modern technology. I read the morning news on my tablet and I have a bunch of apps downloaded to various devices for work and exercise. Yet I know very well that I am not as connected as my kids and clearly not as active on social media. So it really wasn't a surprise that I did not belong to the category "Generation C" (for Connected). Instead I was categorized as Generation B" (for Bitten) – and after a bit of reflection, I think it fits me better. I am “interested” and "like what I see, but there could be significantly more out there". 

That depiction also suits the air freight industry. There could be much more for us. We need to have innovative ideas and the courage to start the digital journey. It may not be an easy ride, but on the other hand it is not a matter of choice anymore particularly if you want to be successful. 

Recently Finnair Cargo was bitten during the journey. We took a crucial step toward being a digital company when we introduced our new cargo management system which went live on December 1st of last year. To cater for modern service transparency requirements SkyChain requires a high level of data quality management and discipline. Sounds easy, right? Unfortunately, reality bit us in the behind. 

We realized that only half of the air cargo-related messages came without discrepancies. Not a good thing when the system is extremely quality conscious regarding data. Subsequently, our customers faced delays impacting cargo shipments. We had a world-class system, but we were not able to fulfil our own service standards. Recovery required a lot of prompt action, and manual steering and coordination with our stakeholders and customers. Fortunately, it worked out. 

Was it worth it? Somebody once said that it is all about the data. So we took this setback in data quality and turned it into a stepping stone for future innovation. We now have a solid platform in place for when it’s time to open our highly automated COOL terminal. Excellent data management is also a prerequisite for increasing the quality and speed of our services and/or introducing efficient and value added cloud-based on-line interfaces for customers or even for authorities. 

For sure there were plenty of lessons learned when going live and we are definitely humble when taking a look back. Our digital roadmap is full of initiatives, which require solid high quality data. Now we have it. The question is though: can we think big enough. What does excellence look like in terms of digitalization in the air cargo industry? Disruptive for sure and the change is bigger and faster than we can ever imagine. But Finnair Cargo has decided to be a part of the change. So, we were clearly "bitten" and now we are ready to take the next step to be "connected".

Wish you all a great start to the year!