12.12.2014 15:38

Holiday clean-up and my New Year’s resolution

In my neighborhood, there is a strong tradition of cleaning the house before Christmas – or before any national holiday for that matter. Many of my colleagues in Finland also declutter their desks before heading to spend Christmas with their families and friends. This cleaning frenzy also means finishing any open tasks and clearing the inbox with a goal to get it all done before the holidays. Mission impossible, but it is always worth a shot.

I admit that this operation clean-up has been on my mind for the past few weeks, but still my desk looks like a paper recycling station. Interestingly enough, I am talking about electronic air waybills (eAWBs) and other e-solutions with Finnair Cargo partners and my colleagues on a daily basis. This brings us to the challenges of a paperless world. 

Perhaps one of the biggest difficulties in the transformation from paper to e-services is the prevalent mindset of many people: information just feels more tangible when presented on paper. However, at the same time, we use electronic banking services (who even goes to a bank nowadays), shop online and receive airline tickets that are only available in electronic format.

Recently I had a chat with a gentleman with about 40 years of air cargo experience. He told me that when he started in the business, there were paper AWBs, and that after all these years paper still rules. How can this be? His solution for anyone who needs/wants/must feel the paper in their hands is simple: “You can always print it”!

We all know that in some countries it is the authorities who demand paper copies, yet at the same time, an increasing amount of public institutions offer e-services. There are a lot of excuses to do things the good old way, but I trust that an individual can break an embedded habit. Luckily Finnair and the entire air cargo industry are putting more efforts into e-development, and in time, we will all wonder what took us so long.

Now back to my original point. I will start clearing and “e-arranging” my desk, after which there will be 99 percent less paper (traditional table calendar excluded) before the holidays. And I resolve that from January 1st onward the maximum amount of paper allowed on my desk will be the remaining one percent. I hope this will inspire a 99 percent eAWB usage in air cargo, too.

Happy Holidays and a very Happy New Year 2015!