Who serves whom more? That was the frequently raised question during a Network Dinner organized by Lufthansa Cargo to honour their best performing suppliers by awarding accolades for outstanding performances in 2015. This was done on the fringe of IATA’s World Cargo Symposium (WCS) last Thursday evening in Berlin.
The simple answer to the above-mentioned question: Both are supporting each other continuously to mutually benefit from their collaboration.
Jack Evans, CEO of Houston-based handling agent Consolidated Aviation Services (CAS), which meanwhile has become part of the global WFS group, illustrated this. "Each time we mention the name of Lufthansa Cargo as a reference while negotiating commercial terms with potential new customers, it reduces further discussions by at least half an hour because they consider this partnership as being a convincing proof of quality.” At the Berlin event, CAS was honored by LH Cargo for their outstanding performance in North America, providing “Best Customer Solutions.”
In total, nine accolades were awarded to different suppliers serving the freight airline, separated by markets and categories.
It all started with handing over the first prize for the Best Cooperation between LH Cargo and a ground service provider in the German home market. The choice fell on East German firm PortGround, a company operating at the Leipzig / Halle and Dresden airports.
Winner in the category "Best Cooperation in Europe and Italy" was the Milanese Freschi & Schiavoni SrL, which not only handles air freight on behalf of their German customer day after day, but also set up a cargo terminal in close cooperation with the airline, which is meanwhile run by Freschi & Schiavone. "Lufthansa is not only one of the most renowned cargo airlines worldwide, but also an ideal business partner: They define clear goals that they discuss with us and together we implement the targets mutually set,” emphasized Managing Director Betty Schiavoni in her acceptance speech.
Mothers helped Tri-Star getting on its feet
Next on stage came presenter Achim Martinka, head of LH Cargo ‘The Americas’ who will leave his post in mid-2016, becoming chief of Europe and Africa. Achim honored Tri-Star Airport Handling Services, the winner in the category "Best Cooperation Americas." The firm was incepted in 1997 in Sao Paulo by local Lufthansa Cargo staff and named Tri-Star because it was set up by three entrepreneurial thinking handling experts. In order to prevent potential business partners getting the impression they were just a tiny start-up with less than a handful of people, the founders asked their mothers to come to the office once a visitor showed up, pretending they were many staff, accomplishing important tasks.
Obviously, the trick worked well. Today, Tri-Star has a workforce of stunning 2,700 staff, predominantly in Brazil but also at major airports in Florida. Therefore, no need any longer for the mothers and fathers to show up at offices once potential clients announced their coming, confirmed Tri-Star’s José Antonio de Oliveira Ferreira.
Next suppliers receiving accolades were Singapore’s SATS Ltd, becoming “Best Cooperation Partner Asia/Pacific”, followed by forwarding agent Georg Reischl for outstanding handling services at Munich Airport, LH Cargo’s second hub in Germany, and BCL Logistics that was named supplier number one at LH Cargo's most important hub Rhine-Main.
iCap made IBS proud
A special prize was awarded to the Indian IT specialist IBS Software Services that successfully developed and implemented LH Cargo’s IT platform iCap. "It took us three years to get this very demanding job done, but in the end we came up with a great product that helps our client Lufthansa Cargo to manage their data and flow of shipments more efficiently,” said IBS chief Rajiv Shah when receiving the accolade. “It also made us proud and gave our team a lot of self-confidence,” he added.
Finally, the overall winner of the Supplier Awards was asked to come on stage to get his reward for “Best Overall Performance.” The first prize was won by U.S. ground service provider Total Airport Services, whose self-confident manager Ray Jetha stated - while holding the accolade in his hands: “We have learned as much from Lufthansa Cargo as we contributed to them.”
A successful pilot project
In his closing remarks, LH Cargo’s VP Procurement & Infrastructure Thomas Sonntag reminded the 60 representatives from different ground handling firms of their importance for his airline. “We partner with 199 suppliers that have a workforce more than doubling our own staff of 4,500. You as our partners do an outstanding job day after day, ensuring the high quality of our product.” Thomas went on to say: "We greatly appreciate your dedication and loyalty and will continue to cooperate with you to mutual success.”
For those ground handlers that were left empty handed in Berlin LH Cargo’s CFO Martin Schmitt had an encouraging message: “This network event was a great pilot, motivating us to honour our best performing suppliers regularly by awarding them prizes.”
A ray of hope for those ground handlers that had not been distinguished in Berlin.