28.07.2014 10:37

Leaving the comfort zone

The title summarizes my thoughts during the past two years in the cargo business. When I left my comfort zone in a passenger airline’s commercial area – area where I was skilled at running revenue management and planning networks – I was warned that the cargo world would be quite different. That was exactly what inspired me. After being fortunate enough to take part in cargo, that unique world continues to inspire me even more.

Most of the dubious comments about air cargo business were related to developing revenue management, which was said to be "too complex". Implementing any supporting systems would simply not be feasible. I also received a heads up about data and analytics which, apparently, would not be nearly as sophisticated as in the passenger business, and so on.

Certain doubts have proven to be true. Cargo will always generate a smaller portion of the airline revenues, so it is understandable why all the complex tools cannot make a business case. What I am struggling to accept, however, is simply labeling any business area as too complex to develop. The cargo community employs bright people. Unfortunately, as it was stated by a sizeable shipper in the Nordic Air Cargo Symposium this spring, the schoolbooks of the cargo business printed 30 years ago are still mostly valid. The industry has not been open enough for new trends, and the players have not had the courage to leave their comfort zones.

Implementation of the e-AWB (electronic Air Waybills) Single Process for Nordic countries is just around the corner, but we are still left with plenty of printed documents. I believe the progress is similar as in delivering 21st century cargo service overall: we need to work together to understand our customers. How do we make things more simple, reliable and affordable? In order to find the answers, we need to be able and willing to question our processes and logic, be ambitious and accept the fact that development is essential. I am proud of the inventions our team has made (pharma dollies, for example), and new enhancements will be launched soon. We will take off from the comfort zone!

Wishing you a great rest of the summer!