Just Imagine

By Olivier Houri, EVP Corporate Strategy

With robust markets and booming e-commerce, air cargo should be poised for spectacular growth in 2018. Right? Well, not so fast.
Ironically, right at a time when markets are more ready than ever for air cargo service, there is a serious disconnect with the future. To be fair, Air Cargo is already a global driver of world trade; 35% of total trade by value, representing close to $7 Trillion worth of goods being transported around the world by air. That’s a very big pie, much of which is owned by the integrators, as we know. So why the snag? In a word, technology.

While so many segments of the Logistics industry are moving at warp speed into technology  advances, the air cargo carriers have been surprisingly slow in keeping pace with those  sectors. At a time when the airline’s major logistics customers are faced with interfacing with forward technologies prescribed by Industry 4.0 protocol, air cargo shows up as the weak link in consummating 21 Century supply chain initiatives.

For example, while our forwarder friends and 3PLs are adopting tech like IoT, drones and more, air cargo is still grappling with delivering the low-hanging fruit of real-time information at every shipment milestone for tracking or real-time capacity decisions that impact the business. And take basic mobility which has become a customer expectation across the board, and especially for our passenger-side counterparts, to drive customer experience and loyalty.
The technology exists, again low-hanging fruit, to deliver mobility from booking to destination and beyond, from a smartphone. And then there’s using apps on iPads in the warehouse to streamline operations and forward e-AWB paperless initiatives and more. The disconcerting thing is that all of this technology is available and as close as integration via APIs—yet not widely adopted— in spite of concerted efforts by IATA to move the needle toward paperless, e-freight, and more.

So, let’s talk solutions. If embracing the latest and best technology is the answer, this calls for immediate adoption of transformative technologies like Cloud Computing, Big Data/BI and Mobility that are bringing about positive changes for others in the Cargo Value Chain.

The good news is that with recent innovations, all of these things can be implemented right now—and in months not years. Since the latest technologies are inherently cloud-based, there is no risk of investing in a lot of proprietary technology that becomes obsolete before it’s even installed. Digital transformation can be achieved at a fraction of cost, resources and critical time to market.

Whether it’s customer empowering moves such as self-service, customer experience and loyalty—or the many stripes of cost savings or other efficiencies that are desired—the fundamental technology is here, now, and easy to implement.

And with these easy, affordable solutions in plain view, perhaps air cargo carriers can think differently—to move more imaginatively—and thus be ready to intersect with the technology advances of our partners in the value-chain when the critical moment arrives.  Just imagine.

Want to know more? I invite you to contact us to discuss innovative solutions for achieving Digital Transformation. Our solutions are designed specifically for Airlines competing in Air Cargo arena. We're on a mission to help you:
- Achieve seamless Horizontal integration with partners and stakeholders across the entire value chain. 
- Reach out to shippers and booming E-Commerce markets by providing an “end-to-end” value chain with first and last mile service.
- Continuous innovation and optimization at the core of the traditional Value Chain.

Feel free to contact me directly at
 olivier@smartkargo.com with any questions you may have.

Mr. Olivier Houri is the newest member of the QuantumID Technologies| SmartKargo team, serving as Executive Vice President of Corporate Strategy since May 2017. Prior to joining SmartKargo, he has spent more than 20 years serving the Air Transportation industry, most recently as the President & Global Leader of Unisys Global Travel & Transportation Industry business. Prior to this he led the Global Air Transport Consulting Practice at Cap Gemini Group and Cap Gemini Ernst & Young.

The Power of Partnership

By Milind Tavshikar, CEO

It has been said that there are often two ways to do things--the easy way and the hard way.  And while this principle doesn't always hold across the board, it does when applied to complex tasks or projects such as migrating from an old legacy system to a new one with leading-edge functionality!. In this case, complexity and resource drain can be managed by choosing the right partner(s). When each parther contributes core expertise in a collaborative spirit, the insight and knowledgebase of each combine in synergy--to make the result greater than the sum of its parts. Yes, choosing the right partner can make all the difference between a streamlined process leading to success or one wrought with inefficiencies and delays, or worse.

When SmartKargo was faced with choosing a partner and platform on which to build the SmartKargo solution, we chose Microsoft and its world-class Azure platform. Businesses that select solutions powered by Azure benefit in a number of ways. In addition to cost, the Azure platform has a global network of data centers with high uptime and extraordinary performance. And leading-edge global infrastructure is something they are continually investing in, so their customers don't have to. Mobility, for example, is facilitated through the cloud solution and can be quickly deployed to any device or platform. And the best part is that our customers deploy systems that never become obsolete. 

Take the example of infrastructure. Industry leaders like Microsoft have made huge investments—to the tune of $15 billion—to build the world’s leading global cloud infrastructure. Microsoft Azure delivers the exceptionally robust computing power needed by airlines that are not keen to invest capital in hardware and software.

Working together, Microsoft and SmartKargo continue to build a state-of-the-art, industry leading platform that airlines can deploy in an out-of-the-box or a customized mode. And Microsoft is the only major cloud provider with a full hybrid model.

Using solutions powered by Azure, airlines and businesses in the cargo chain can extend their capabilities from on-premises to the cloud, seamlessly, to meet their particular business needs now and into the future. And perhaps, the greatest benefit is that after the investment in time and resources to get that system up and running--it is never yesterday's news. Future readly and always integratable using a number of API's that keep it agile and adaptable.

Our partners at Microsoft are simply the best. Our platform and our business model is inextricably linked with them, and so, they are your partners as well, by extension. Greg Jones is our Seattle-based Account manager and a Microsoft Managing Director of Worldwide Hospitality & Transport. He has summed up their commitment well: “Microsoft’s commitment to security, privacy and control, compliance and transparency, and our investments in this space, are unmatched. Airlines and their partners in the cargo chain choose the Microsoft Cloud because it is open, flexible and has a full spectrum of services that span IaaS, PaaS and SaaS,” he said. In terms of security, Microsoft invests more than $1billion in security research and development each year to provide the most secure cloud platform to customers." The investment in global infrastructure is an additional $15 Billion!

Whatever you want from your cloud solution is likely obtainable. You can freely integrate the tools you need with the system you already have. And then, you can run virtually any application using your data source, with your operating system, on just about any device. Now that’s a partnership that keeps on giving.

Getting I.T. Right: What forwarders can learn from DHL’s struggle

In a recent report by Air Cargo World, Editor Randy Woods sheds light on the perils of trying to develop complex air cargo management systems in-house, highlighted by the recent struggle experienced by leading global freight forwarder DHL. 
Part 1

Part 2

by Randy Woods | Air Cargo World | June 2, 2016

345 Million euro write off - Could different clock speed of Business Vs Technology Innovation cycle be a reason ?

By Milind Tavshikar, CEO

This is my first blog - must admit it ! Some interesting things are happening in the industry and thought it may be interesting to share some ideas!

A customer and someone well respected in Air Cargo industry sent me a news article about the decision DP/DHL made to write off a 345 Million euro investment in a IT initiative. Must be disappointing to the leadership at DHL to say the least. DHL has an impressive track record in innovating and leading the way technology is used in logistics and transportation. What could have gone wrong? Gives all of us something to ponder over..

Past few years have seen rapid changes in how technology evolves. Software as a Service has become smarter for sure. A range of inter operable development tools are available, and its easy to leverage work done by unrelated partners to create a powerful ecosystem with functionality to meet the most complex business needs. Providers are seen delivering consistent, reliable service levels. Consumers are getting exactly 'what' they want without having to spend an arm and leg in figuring out 'how'. Arrival of cloud technology and acceptance of cloud services in the enterprise world has changed everything. Its a easy guess where this is going in future. For a business there is perhaps less need to own technology, just to solve a unique challenge or in search of a competitive advantage!

When it comes to large enterprises - 'Business as Usual' still remains the safest thing to do for corporate managers. The larger a business grows, the more slower it becomes to change. There is culture, there is hierarchy, there are egos, systems, processes - endless list if impediments.  Its a obvious mismatch in comparison to the speed of technology changes happening around the business. Before companies get teams organized and architects put a firm plan in place - everything around changes, thus bringing technology initiatives back to square one! Wonder if DHL got caught in this cycle..

Businesses may want to look at technology as a perishable commodity and avoid large capital investments or locked-in positions. "If technology solution is not useful immediately - don't buy it", could be the rule. If technology is not consumed while its still fresh, you will be left with a bad taste! As a thumb rule - every technology initiative with a deployment timeline of over 12 months may have to be carefully evaluated for its worthiness. A lot of things change in the tech world in 12 months. Its going to be difficult for businesses to keep pace and adapt with technology if its is not a core competence.

If you are a business with great operations and need technology to make it smarter - Look around ! There may be readily available alternatives that will pleasantly surprise you. 

- Milind