...says Adriaan den Heijer, Executive Vice President of Air France KLM Cargo, and Managing Director of Martinair. “And in more ways than one”, he adds. Although the Covid crisis caused a deep cut in the airline group's day-to-day operations, for the management of the Cargo Division it was something of a wake-up call, motivating the decision makers to recalibrate the priorities of their policy.
Perhaps the most central and significant long-term change standing on the agenda of Air France KLM Martinair Cargo (AFKLMP), comes from a new management understanding of the role and importance
of its own people for the well-being of the entire cargo airline. Particularly here, the pandemic changed the perception of the executive level, because Mr. den Heijer and his team saw how hard
their colleagues worked and became eyewitnesses of their spirit and dedication to mastering the huge challenges of daily operations caused by the virus. “Indeed, this was a very intriguing
and impressive experience,” he recalls. Before COVID-19 broke out, management was very much cost-focused. However, “since then, we have changed the perspective and defined new
priorities. Of course, efficiency continues to play a role, but people come even more first now because we believe in dedicated, committed people to run the business and deliver first class
service as shown during the pandemic.”
Not only was the commitment of the employees remarkable, but it is also noteworthy that, since the end of the Covid crisis, a new momentum has taken hold of the entire Cargo Division, he reports. In order to give purpose and direction to the commitment of the staff, and thus take the entire Cargo Division to the next level, visions were worded, coupled with strategic action plans to be implemented or at least set in motion before the end of this decade.Ad
The initiative is ambitious, and it is based on three key pillars, sub-divided into different targets (see chart):
As far as customer centricity is concerned, he singles out the first sub-item: “By 2030, we will operate a closely interlinked global network together with partner airlines, and thereby offer operational excellence to the market.” Already priced into this point, is the cooperation with CMA CGM Cargo, which began on 01APR23. With AFKLMP’s own six freighter fleet and CMA CGM Cargo's six all-cargo aircraft plus a joint outstanding order of 14 freighters, supplemented by the belly capacity of the Air France KLM and Delta Air Lines fleets of passenger aircraft, the group is in a position to provide the market an extraordinarily large number of global trade lanes.
Servicing clients from A to Z
Touching the future customer service model, the manager speaks of an all-round carefree package based on a single IT solution, tailored to meet the customers’ individual needs. “We will serve our clients from beginning to end; that's why we call it the 360° scheme.”
AFKLMP Cargo also wants to play a leading role in sustainability. This much used term is not limited to the avoidance of greenhouse gas emissions by constantly increasing the share of SAF fuel at the expense of traditional Jet A-1 kerosene. AFKLMP Cargo has a broader understanding of this topic, Mr. den Heijer stresses. It includes fleet renewal, reducing water consumption and waste, saving energy, using recyclable packaging, limiting or eliminating the use of plastics, reusing paper, and much more. It is a comprehensive package, which requires the involvement of each employee, to be successful. A lot of these initiatives are tested during the Sustainable Flight Challenge organized by SkyTeam these weeks (see this week’s Short Shots).
Quota of female managers will be increased
Another challenging goal in the carrier’s Vision 2030, is the ambition to continuously deliver best-in-class experience to customers. It needs the full engagement of both management and staff, day in, day out, and will not only up customer retention but simultaneously the staff’s motivation and identification with their company. “As management, we support this commitment as we also try to increase the quota of female managers,” the executive stresses. Today, the female/male quota stands at 20% to 80%. The aim is to motivate more women into taking on a leading role within AFKLMP Cargo. “Our aim is to raise their quota to 35% within the next 5 years,” Mr. den Heijer states. A target that seems to be achievable, because “at our middle management level, there are many talented female managers which we will promote as we also see a broad cultural diversity.”
Pharma as part of ‘myCargo’
‘myCargo’ is an essential part of the “Technology” pillar, which includes the introduction of a uniform IT platform for booking and tracing shipments from beginning to end, alongside other features. It increases shipment visibility and reduces errors, which goes for all shipments but is of special importance in the case of sensitive items such as pharma. “We invested a lot in coolers, have set up a special pharma team to secure end-to-end control, and will implement pharma in our personal digital self-service portal, ‘myCargo’.” It enables clients 24/7 e-Booking access, a worldwide network of shipping opportunities, and the ability to select flights tailored to their needs.
Two companies, one identity
Come 2027, “we will have fully established our 360° service model, based on a uniform and global IT tool, become a leader in sustainable air freight, and delivered passionately best-in-class customer experiences,” Adriaan den Heijer announces.
And what about the internal and cultural differences between the employees of Air France Cargo and KLM Cargo - a recurring theme since the French carrier merged with its Dutch competitor exactly 20 years ago?
We are working as a real joint management team with one ambition. At the jointly operated stations all over the world, we are working in common teams already for almost 20 years. Especially for the newcomers and for employees of a younger age, AF-KLM is not the sum of two, but a single company with a single identity, states the executive.
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