© Craig Russell

Brussels Airlines Cargo has unveiled a new air freight strategy which puts more focus on cargo, rather than it being mere “icing on the cake”.

Cargo will become a fully fledged business unit, besides passenger handling, and is considered a “second cake”.

Alban François, appointed vice president global cargo on January 1, said: “In short, it is our ambition to offer air cargo solutions according to the wishes and requirements of the customer.

“Our focus isn’t exclusively on filling up aircraft bellies. Based on customer needs, we have changed our product range, remodeled our organisation and streamlined our communication.

“The familiar tension between commerce and operations has been settled. Both fall under my responsibility to ensure a better alignment between the departments,” he added.

So what does the new strategy mean in practice?

One of the key changes will be a shift in the way GSSAs are used. In his previous role as strategic purchasing manager, Mr François was closely involved in the tender procedure for GSSAs, which ran the cargo activities – and also worked for other airlines.

Under the new strategy, the appointed GSSA, Air Logistics Group, will have dedicated employees to handle Brussels Airlines Cargo.

Combining the strengths of both companies allowed for a quick transformation, explained Mr François. The goal is for the GSSA employees to eventually join the airline, with the aim to be fully integrated by 2017. The European hub in Brussels will be fully self-steered by an experienced team of Brussels Airlines Cargo.

Other changes are on the cards too.

“We have adjusted our courier product to the wishes of our customers. One example is a one-hour cut-off time prior to departure, and working with an accompanying voucher instead of an air waybill. Our central control tower can always keep track of the courier package while it’s being flown,” explained Mr François.

air freight

Alban François

”Our pharma product has also been upgraded. The so-called BRUCargo pharma forum, which we are a part of, is where we discuss the requirements for shipping pharma in each step of the logistic process. From shipper to consignee, each stakeholder’s position is carefully considered.

“Here as well, the wishes of the customer are key and together we discuss options for the supply chain. The basic idea is that, together and with transparency throughout the supply chain, we stand stronger and thus are able to guarantee more quality instead of when individuals safeguard their own domain.”

The airline has also embraced CargoClaims, the runner-up in IATA’s first biennual innovation awards, which it says helps put the customer at the heart of the operation.

“Besides reviewing the product range and its properties, our operations and administration is reviewed within the new strategy. An example is the ‘customer-centric process improvement’ programme.

“This way customer feedback, together with internal process reporting of irregularities, is clustered from the perspective of priority and reciprocity.

“CargoClaims plays an important role for Brussels Airlines, which we have been using for some time now. This online tool centralises our customer feedback, clusters it by subject and sorts them by relevance.

“Because we cannot tackle everything at once, we focus on improvements with the most positive impact and increase customer satisfaction and efficiency.”

The CargoClaims platform, developed by CargoHub, offers a solution through multiple modules to support quality management enabling airlines to record, follow up and monitor root-cause investigations. The available data can be used for quality and risk analysis and this allows airlines to act and improve specific processes.

“After we have implemented these changes and improvements, on the basis of customer input, the cargo claims tool allows us to communicate feedback to our customer as well. We intend to live up to to our promise of putting the customer first,” said Mr François.

He concludes: “Brussels Airlines Cargo wants to offer its customers the best air freight solutions. Everything that crosses our path will be assessed according to this ambition, just like cargo claims. That is the only way to live up to Brussels Airlines’ slogan: we go the extra smile.”

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