The World Cargo Symposium (WCS) is a great place to catch up and make that personal connection that can accelerate a business closure or where journalists can get the low-down on a
company’s developments. CargoForwarder Global spoke with Nathanaël de Tarade, Chief Executive Officer of Wiremind Cargo in Istanbul. Wiremind also recently announced that Aeromexico Cargo has
become its first Latin American-based customer.
My opening question to Nathanaël de Tarade is whether there have been any positive developments as a result of the last WCS in London, just 7 months ago? He answers: “The events themselves are positive and give you the opportunity to talk in person with Managing Directors and one level up; those key people of the companies that you are in contact with, who can provide the last push to make things happen. AeroMexico, is one such example. We were finally able to meet in person at the WCS [in London]. It is all part of the collaboration process.”
This Istanbul WCS was also an occasion for the CargoTech members to come together, he tells me. “All heads of CargoTech met yesterday [25APR23], to align our strategy and our many initiatives. We discussed our roadmap and will have a follow-up session at the air cargo Europe in Munich.” These meetings, too, are positive, confirming the group’s collaboration results, and a platform for sharing each other’s insights and knowledge of the air cargo market in general. “We ensure that no commercial opportunities are lost, discuss each other’s products and what can we do to enhance them, or to develop new products. At the same time, we work to avoid parallel offers.” There are two ways in which CargoTech members interact, he says – on a bilateral level in the case of a joint customer or product, and in a regular governance group meeting such as the ones in IST and MUC. CargoTech will have a dedicated booth at the air cargo Europe, so that customers can meet all members in one place. Joint products? “We are natively integrated within the air cargo marketplace,” he states, pointing out that airlines looking to buy Wiremind’s CMS in future, will also have access to CargoAI abilities for example, or mentions SkyPallet’s integration within CargoAi quotation product, CargoMART, since a couple of years already. A SkyPallet version 2 is currently being developed, he tells me.
Digital drive and focus 2023
I ask him if the industry’s digital interest is continuing this year, or whether inflation is slowing it down. “I was expecting slight stagnation,” he says, “but on the contrary – some airlines are realizing that now, more than ever, when the market is performing less well, you need to have these efficiencies.” In fact, it is also best to use a downturn in cargo volumes to work on digital improvements, so as to be ready for the peak when it does come back, he explains.
When it comes to Wiremind, growth is definitely visible: 15 new colleagues were onboarded in the first three months of 2023, 6 more in this quarter and rising, with a particular focus now on sales and marketing. Wiremind Cargo, itself, has “one cargo key role still to come in next few months. Otherwise, 95% of our core cargo team structure is now complete, and we are now growing the existing teams in their key roles.” And the business focus for 2023? “We have two main objectives: the delivery of our promise to Qatar Airways Cargo of an initial go-live by the end of this year, and the second is finding launch customers for our CMS. We have identified customers and are working to finalize deals.” News on another large customer is imminent, he tells me.
Gaps and solutions
I want to know from Nathanaël what he sees as the main gap in the supply chain when it comes to digital solutions and is Wiremind working to cover this?
He mentions messaging, illustrating the huge improvement potential to cleaning up the way messaging within air cargo is done today. SITA messaging and a parallel pipeline of internet or emails is one problem, exacerbated by the fact that though messaging standards exist in theory, those standards are adjusted by practically every stakeholder. “We don’t use what everyone else uses, which is API. API solutions are not fully leveraged by the cargo industry,” he emphasizes, yet they would dramatically lower both costs and complexity for most stakeholders.
And then there are also all the other digital opportunities that are in part already being addressed: “augmented reality for operations, for example. Or AWB stock management which is currently far too complex. This should be more like the PNRs in the passenger segment.” Augmented reality can also help in the field, he says. Particularly significant in operations where companies are anyhow face with time and manpower constraints. “You don’t need to sit behind PC. You could have the best of both worlds using glasses to make you see the cargo that you are moving.” Though Augmented Reality is not the answer to everything, there are many use cases where it can make sense. He also reveals that the 3D visualization within SkyPallet is often used by companies to train newcomers to the cargo industry.
Wiremind goes Latin America with Aeromexico Cargo
Whereas Wiremind's global customers naturally also have users based in Latin America, the contract between Aeromexico Cargo and Wiremind, signed on 24MAR23 and communicated last week, is significant in that the airline is Wiremind Cargo's first SKYPALLET customer to be headquartered in Latin America – and it won’t be the last. Wiremind has been in extensive discussions with other Latin American customers over the past few years. Covid disrupted the process a little, but the global direction is clear.
Nathanaël de Tarade, Chief Executive Officer of Wiremind Cargo, announced: “Wiremind is exceptionally pleased to welcome Aeromexico Cargo as its first Latin America-based customer. Since late last year, Aeromexico Cargo's team has been closely working together with us to test SKYPALLET's functionalities against its internally developed business case. Now that the decision has officially been reached to proceed with SKYPALLET, Aeromexico Cargo users will undergo comprehensive training with Wiremind product experts to ensure that they fully understand the product's extensive features and use cases. Up to now, this has been done remotely, so we look forward to visiting Aeromexico Cargo in person, this year, to observe how the product is being used, gather product feedback to include in our joint roadmap, and further share user best practices within the organization.” The contract defines that SKYPALLET will be implemented this quarter, kicking off the airline’s deeper digital transformation process.
Alejandro Mendez, Executive VP. Aeromexico Cargo’s statement on the reason the airline opted for Wiremind’s SKYPALLET, underlines a fundamental message that was also communicated more than once at the WCS – companies cannot afford not to digitalize: “The air cargo industry is changing - day by day, process by process. Companies need to incorporate technology and algorithms in their processes if they are to take advantage of opportunities in the market and succeed. SKYPALLET's optimization algorithms support our staff, enabling enhanced decision-making. This will lead to faster quotations and optimized belly capacities – two critical and repetitive processes that we identified in our integral assessment. Implementing SKYPALLET is a cornerstone on our journey towards becoming a more digital Aeromexico Cargo. We have set ourselves the target of implementing and fully deploying the software in our Mexico City Hub operations this year.” In Aeromexico Cargo’s case, the fact that Wiremind also offers a Spanish-speaking support team, was an additional key factor to choosing SKYPALLET from all the options in the market. (The other factors being its comprehensive approach and intuitive application.) Language is an important consideration when it comes to positive adoption, as the onboarding/training is quicker.
At the end of the day, digitalization is key to ‘una vida de carga mejor’!
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