Cargo IQ celebrates its 25th anniversary this year and recently posted a creative video on LinkedIn, where some of its members explain what it does and what the initiative means to them. There is obviously also a great deal of EQ within Cargo IQ, as CargoForwarder Global (CFG) felt, too, when taking to its Executive Director, Lothar Moehle (LM).
Quality improvement is hard work, and yet Cargo IQ's humble team of four people, along with its members, have all made it their passion and challenge. Particularly Lothar Moehle, who has been on
the ball since the beginning in the last Millennium, when Cargo IQ started out as Cargo 2000.
Then, it was all about defining quality milestones along the air cargo handling process. Now, it is also about achieving and improving them - both in terms of quality as well as in regard to Cargo IQ scope development. The latter includes establishing problem-based working groups, defining, publishing, and piloting specifications and, most recently, running training courses for its members. So, how does it all work?
CFG: Can Cargo IQ push for quality standards?
LM: Cargo IQ pushes for improved quality by informing everyone of the specifications that have been established by our working groups, but we cannot enforce these standards. Quality is important, and everyone recognises that these days.
CF6: Certainly, those who are members do. How many members does Cargo IQ have?
LM: We currently count around 60 members. Pre-Covid, our membership stood at 80.
CFG: Understandable, that the catastrophic effect of the pandemic on airline health led to a reduction, be it through cost-cutting measures, or worse… What is the fee and what does membership entail?
LM: The membership fee is agreed by our members. They commit to an audit every 3 years and report their quality statistics to Cargo IQ on a monthly basis. If we spot major deviations, we ask questions to establish the cause of the drop in quality.
CFG: And how often do the members meet in person?
LM: Each member has one delegate at top management level. They meet twice per year in meetings scheduled around industry events. When there are particular problems to solve, we ask the delegates to send operational experts. They then define the scope of the problem-specific working group.
We held our last meeting in JUN22, and the next one will be in Abu Dhabi in JAN23, where our members will be expected to implement what they agree on.
CFG: You are currently running a Road Feeder Service (RFS) pilot – tell us more about that.
LM: Yes. In a pilot phase, we test defined specifications to see if they work in practise. This involves members volunteering to test the system, and when the results of the pilot are ready, they are shared with the other members who mostly go with the specification. That then becomes part of the Cargo IQ audit which is carried out by an external auditor.
Regarding our RFS Pilot: this began 5 months ago, with Emirates offering to be the lead airline, together with Jan de Rijk as Road Feeder Service provider in the EU. The problem is that while data is generally shared on shipment basis in air cargo, when it comes to RFS, these are planned as RFS level and not on shipment level. Hence the status messages are also not on shipment basis and follow a different messaging standard to CargoIMP or CargoXML. The specification therefore is to support the RFS company in breaking down data on shipment level. It aims to bring both messaging standards together, and defines what content is important – what needs to be exchanged and when. Without going into too much detail, ideally drivers can communicate via smartphone with their homebase which then communicates with the airline. We hope to soon be announcing a second airline and RFS testing group.
CFG: Good to see that members are active in Cargo IQ
LM: Yes, our members also motivate others to work with Cargo IQ-certified members, and we are doing more to ensure better understanding of our milestones. Our recent training courses were the result of even our long-standing members wanting their employees to have a more detailed concept of how Cargo IQ measurements serve to improve quality, for example.
CFG: What would you say are the 3 largest factors hindering quality in the supply chain, and what are your suggestions?
LM: Firstly, a lack of awareness of what is going wrong and where. Cargo IQ is not just a label – it should be embedded within a company’s quality management, and actively understood and used – hence our supporting training sessions. Secondly, priority setting with members since the urgencies may differ. Here, data sharing is key to solving issues and Cargo IQ can be used to strengthen services. Thirdly, the realisation that a lot of detailed work needs doing. Membership alone does not solve a company’s quality problems. It requires top-down management structure and action. Here, our joint working groups are a great example of what can be achieved when there is open and free conversation and volunteering companies create the content. All players have a certain purpose in the value chain, and no one player is stronger than the other. We are all only as strong as the weakest link. However, Cargo IQ can demonstrate true co-creation since the late 1990s, so join us!
CFG: Thank you for your time and insights, Lothar. I guess the message, when it comes to improving quality standards, then is “Go Forth and Co-Create!”
We welcome and publish comments from all authenticated users.