The French-Dutch freight carrier dares to take a look into the future. During a recent event held in Frankfurt and attended by 150 hand-picked cargo executives, their management invited
the guests to jump on board a spaceship and take off to Mars. A mental journey into the days after tomorrow.
In the second part of this report we let guests of the event have their say.
The venue picked by AFKLMP Cargo in cooperation with ground handler Swissport as co-promoter was a 1910-built monumental brick building located in the northeastern part of Frankfurt, famous for
the many luxury but also vintage cars exhibited and sold there. In the eyes of both organizers a suitable place for hosting their exceptional event. “We have chosen the ‘Klassikstadt' because
it’s an old building with a very modern interior, where neat old cars and new vehicles are displayed bumper to bumper,” stated Koen Bolster, director AFKLMP Cargo Germany & Austria in his
welcome address. “This unique location fits exactly our topic: to advance in the best possible manner from the old model of conducting the cargo business to a new scheme, shaping the future of
our industry,” the manager revealed the reason of the invite.
Big data is the new oil
Just how important the subject has become, given the rapidly changing trading conditions driven by big data was exemplified by CEO Rik Vera of Belgian think tank Nexxworks. In his keynote address he pointed out that data exchange in combination with artificial intelligence is the new oil, transforming today’s world of business at the speed of light.
But where should leaders start to best master everyday business operations and look decades ahead into an increasingly uncertain future in order to convert this outlook into a workable plan for the next three or so months? Indeed, a gigantic balancing act. Mr Vera’s two core propositions: “You must zoom in on the needs of the customer, focus on the possibilities out there and keep experimenting.” Of equal importance is that “leaders must connect to the many while engaging the individual at the same time, if they want to survive in the day after tomorrow.”
Wise recommendations, indeed!
Survey result paints a thoughtful picture
Just how far carriers, ground handlers and forwarders still are from reaching these ambitious objectives was evidenced by the results of a random survey conducted among the 150 guests. Nearly two thirds of them have stated that when it comes to meeting the expectations of their shippers they lag behind.
So, while many customers and their needs are as far away as Mars is from Earth, many carriers, forwarders and other cargo contenders still keep sticking to the daily routine activities carried out at their home planet, reasoned Marcel de Nooijer, EVP AFKLMP Cargo. An unbearable situation that requires fast action to prevent that voracious disrupters like Amazon’s Prime Air or Alibaba’s Cainiao Logistics and their affiliate carriers capture an increasing chunk of the volumes flown.
Only who dares, wins
According to Mr de Nooijer, the freight industry is witnessing the dawn of a new age in which changes occur at an unprecedented pace. “Some call this Age of Disruption,” he proclaimed in the light of the emerging Cainiaos and Co. Giving this situation, it is time to break up old structures and reach new horizons. At the same time, he warned against exuberant expectations since AFKLMP Cargo’s journey will last two years. “We just entered our spaceship and we are ready for takeoff,” the manager exclaimed. Until arrival, “we want to become best-in-class in digital services,” he stated, setting the bar very high.
Further he announced the launch of a loyalty program.
However, as strongest asset enabling the freight carrier to accomplish its many missions he mentioned “dedicated local teams delivering our customers an outstanding service and experience day after day.”
This, in short, is AFKLMP Cargo’s path to enter the universe of many great opportunities drifting somewhere between Earth and Mars.
And what were the impressions of the attendees of the party jointly organized by AFKLMP Cargo and ground handler Swissport?
Their views are presented in PART II.