TIACA wants “to ‘unite’ rather than simply ‘represent’ the air cargo industry”. This is the key message both Steven Polmans and Vladimir Zubkov underline as they meet with CFG over breakfast at the conference hotel in Budapest on 20NOV19, to discuss their plans in taking TIACA forward. “We want to bring people together to discuss the various topics facing our industry.”
“We want to move from simply being a network to a content-driven organization,” Steven Polmans, TIACA’s new Chairman since earlier this year, opens the exclusive press meeting with CFG,
and clarifies this with “Not a police organization, however, but one that engages with the community, leads by example and provides training.”
It is his first TIACA conference in his new function, and the optimism, foresight and motivation he exudes is mirrored in his report from TIACA’s Board Meeting held the previous day. One that appears to have gone very well: “Our Board is very diverse, but we had positive discussions, going in the same direction.”
TIACA aims to provide more structured support
Those discussions focused on the questions of how to target new members, how to bring in technology (such as blockchain, for example) and startups, how to provide support to smaller companies, how to engage more with customers and, ultimately, how to bring more structure to the assistance and advice that TIACA can and should bring to its members, whether it is on a regional level or topic-based.
“We cannot expect people to promote TIACA if they don’t know our strategies.” TIACA wants to engage more with its members and, since it is often approached with the same questions, it looks to list all these recurring, sometimes difficult questions, and provide answers. Steven Polmans talks of setting up a phone service, especially when it comes to supporting smaller member companies. He wants TIACA to become more personal in reaching out more to its members, and that they in turn become “TIACA ambassadors”.
One strategy, not loose initiatives
Since explaining the new strategy will require professional, clear communication, TIACA has taken a new communication agency on board; Lemon Queen is already working on improvements to the current TIACA publications, website and social media set-up.
TIACA intends to broaden its base, appointing ‘ambassadors’ as multipliers
TIACA publishes quarterly, monthly and weekly newsletters. Vladimir Zubkov is clear “We want to avoid repetition and want the caliber of news to be improved.” A coordinated approach is
being aimed for…
… and not just in its external communication, but also in its future direction. “We want one strategy, not loose initiatives,” says Vladimir Zubkov.
In order to understand what its members really require, TIACA arranged to run five parallel workshops on Day 1 of its conference. Members could choose to join one of the groups running under the headers: Airlines, Airports, Cargo Handling, Freight Forwarders, and Shippers. Already, the two TIACA Board Members have identified improvement points for these workshops for next time but have also come away with action points to be tackled stepwise and with a long-term view. The approach will require expectation management and balancing the issue of working groups taking too long to reach a structured, combined move, versus impatient member fractions moving ahead with shorter-term, do-it-yourself measures.
Sustainability goes beyond simply a focus on environmental issues
The wish is for greater sustainability – and by this, Steven Polmans means “Sustainability is much more than just about the environment. We need to start to live sustainability.” For TIACA, this means two things: 1) the launch of annual TIACA Sustainability Awards - the first of which were presented at this very conference, and 2) the setting of longer-term TIACA strategies – a new vision that already started two years ago, when the Board decided to focus on a four-year strategy instead of the usual two-year approach up until then.
Sustainability, then, in a more solid approach with a chance for it to properly take root, and with a more combined approach in cooperation with other institutions. “We at TIACA want to build bridges between organizations” to avoid duplicating activities – something that “TIACA [had] waited a bit too long to change” until now, yet which is now changing rapidly.
Steven Polmans and Vladimir Zubkov talk of the Messe Munich cooperation that has recently been set up (CargoForwarder reported exclusively on 4th November). “This is definitely a win-win situation. The expertise and reputation of Messe Munich is great, and the more members that TIACA has, the better for Munich.”
The ACF will be held in Miami from now on. In ensuring location stability, this will allow for more efficient and cost-effective preparation. What is also new, is TIACA’s presence at the InterModal in SAO, Brazil, where “we will network and put ourselves on the agenda” – an initiative that comes from Emir Pineda, himself a new Board member since a year.
One region that is definitely not represented enough until now, is Africa, despite its many organizations. Until two years ago, TIACA had no contacts to them. Now Vladimir Zubkov attends AFRA and promotes TIACA there. He aims to attract many more AFRA members to TIACA events “so that they can see what we are doing and pass this information on to their organizations”.
Freight forwarders, World Customs and Shippers are also key focus members and partners. All are present at this TIACA, though both Board Members wish for a larger number of Shippers next time, since they are currently underrepresented.
TIACA is certainly on a roll. Already at the conference, a Memorandum of Understanding was signed with Pharma.Aero for a more consolidated approach to defining the needs of pharmaceutical supply chain management, and a Cooperation Agreement was inked with Routes/ASM – an important step in getting cargo permanently into discussions when it comes to airports and airlines defining route developments.
The new TIACA has brought the shine back to its image and is “eager to change” things for the better – and sustainably!
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