Digital innovations and flowers high priorities for AFKLMP

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freighter interior filled with roses in Kenya

Air France-KLM-Martinair Cargo (AFKLMP) is focussing much of its energy on digitisation and innovation.

The launch of myCargo is contributing to its ambition to innovate customer service by offering relevant and improved digital services.

A personalised toolkit for customers, namely employees working at freight forwarders, myCargo is a portal where customers can make bookings, quote requests, track & trace, do e-claims, and perform other services.

Digital program director, Frédérique Pelger (pictured below) says more service features are being added to myCargo and in the coming period it plans on having a messages centre in place.

“In this myMessages functionality, customers can manage themselves the notification they want to receive on their shipment status plus in the future like receiving a booking confirmation.

“Another new service will be our myRates services. In myCargo we will provide you with a personalised rate overview, containing your price agreements, market rates and promo rates.

“In the near future we want to include an overview of the other charges as well,” Pelger explains.

She says AFKLMP believes in the strength of combining personal and digital services, and myCargo offers fast and easy offers and servicing and is transparent and real-time. “The services will be enhanced and improved over time, based on the feedback of the user so we really support the customer’s efficiency and experience,” Pelger says.

As AFKLMP is aiming to be one of the innovators in air cargo, she believes myCargo is one of the front-runners in the industry and the Group has only received positive feedback from customers.

Pelger says: “myCargo is focused on the individual user. We show in one environment all relevant information the user uses on a daily basis. Our customer can manage shipments via myCargo, like checking the status, making bookings and requesting quotes. It is a very interactive way of making a booking.”

She believes myCargo is easy to use and the customer is in control on every aspect of their shipment 24/7 and it offers customers the best available rate while requesting a quote.

AFKLMP’s objective is to deliver services in a transparent and easy to connect way, at a competitive price. Pelger says digital innovations are contributing to the transparent service offering. “We aim to develop the most easy, simple and reliable services for both our customers and our employees; leading to simplicity and efficiency in all the processes,” she adds.

KLM freighter leaving NBO airport filled with roses

Another high priority is flowers and KLM recently launched the Holland Flower Alliance (HFA) with Amsterdam Airport Schiphol and RoyalFloraHolland.

KLM Cargo project manager for the HFA, Hedwig Sietsma says it was started to combine the knowledge each has to provide a product of better quality.

“Our goal is to realise a seamless chain that will ensure the highest product quality and fastest transport times in the most cost-efficient way,” Sietsma says.

The HFA is focusing on Schiphol’s most significant import flow for flowers – Kenya – where it moves mainly roses, but other important flows will be taken into the scope. The busiest import trade lanes for flowers after Nairobi are Quito and Bogota.

She says besides providing advocacy and promoting Holland’s role as the world’s leading flower hub, the major focus of the HFA is to identify ways to refine the supply. “The aim is to learn how cooperation works in the whole chain, from farm to florist, and use this to improve our processes,” Sietsma adds.

To achieve this,, the HFA is focusing on different topics including process innovation; information sharing; packaging; branding; and governance. Schiphol takes the lead in the information sharing part, RoyalFloraHolland in the packaging part and AFKLMP Cargo in the process innovation part.

But what are the current trends? “The trends we see that are important to the HFA are firstly trends that develop in the logistical chain.

“We see the vase life of flowers, and therefore a quick and smooth cool chain, becomes more and more important. We also see more focus on innovative, strong and lightweight packaging,” Sietsma says.

Sietsma adds: “Secondly, another trend is the issue of sustainability emerging in the consumer market. By reducing our waste by innovating the cool chain and innovating packaging we can also play our role in this.”

Sietsma believes the biggest opportunity in the market is the quality of the product it offers, and increasing this together with the whole chain along with exporting flowers: “AFKLMP’s large network coverage and direct connections offer great opportunities to increase the export of flowers outside of Europe.”

Schiphol is Europe’s top flower hub, but Frankfurt and Liege are growing their business while Middle Eastern hubs are expanding their offering. Sietsma says to maintain the lead it needs to remain “innovative and on top of our game” which is where the HFA comes in.