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Covid-19: how process digitization is feeding two birds with one scone

Article submitted by: Nallian – TIACA Small Business Member

Lots of kudos were – rightfully so – given to the many air cargo professionals who ensured goods kept flying the past months. But how to keep these workers safe in an environment that still heavily relies on physical touchpoints and the exchange of paper documents – while social distancing and limited contact should be the new normal? How to address this and, at the same time, getting ready for one of the biggest logistical challenges: the distribution of Covid-19 vaccines which requires maximization of capacity utilization? The answer to both challenges lies in one and the same solution: a hyper-connected, digital process.

Traditionally executed air cargo processes involve many physical touchpoints and actions where it’s hard to keep social distance. To take the example of landside management processes: think of truck drivers gathered in small, closed off areas waiting (sometimes for hours) before they get assigned to a gate, think of the physical signing and handover of paper documents at reception, think of paper-based inspection processes, think of milk rounds to pick up delivery notes, … Now imagine a fully digitized flow where: drivers no longer need to wait (or fight) to get served first, as they arrive at the specific time slot they booked in advance; information on drivers and the freight they are about to pick up or deliver is digitally available in the system in advance; release notes are communicated digitally and in real-time; check-in and acceptance happens smoothly with data captured on a mobile device and each party signing off on their own device; every step in the process is captured digitally and all stakeholders have real-time visibility on the information that is relevant to them, …

This digitization, enabled by a Collaborative Cargo Cloud that connects all actors in the cargo community, generates benefits that go far beyond the reduction of physical touchpoints or the elimination of the handover of paperwork. It also:

  • Empowers ground handlers to pro-actively prepare goods so they are ready for pick up at the gates, reducing waiting time for truckers
  • Enables ground handlers to plan adequate staffing in view of actual demand and peak times
  • Enables drivers to eliminate up to 90% of their waiting times and have information on the time slots and associated goods at hand as they can easily consult and capture information during the pick up or delivery flow in real time on their mobile device.
  • Facilitates planning and execution of inspection of goods by governmental agencies (such as food safety agencies)
  • Gives the airport operator visibility on its true end-to-end cargo streams

In short, implementing a digital air cargo community empowers each stakeholder in a cargo hub to digitally exchange and (re)use data in their cross-company processes. Such digitalization not only improves safety, but it also boosts efficiency and transparency and provides process agility. The benefits include capacity optimization (without having to invest in additional real estate), real-time monitoring and tracking, guaranteed service reliability and quality. All of these will be critical conditions to successfully manage the transportation of future Covid-19 vaccines.

Nallian has been empowering ambitious airports in Europe, the US and Asia with a Cargo Cloud that make their community operate in a connected and integrated way. With collaborative applications that help them build “Digital Green Lanes”, giving them the resilience, they need to face today’s challenges – and anticipate tomorrow’s.