dnata on embracing the digital

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dnata embracing the digital
Bernd Struck, dnata


Bernd Struck, senior vice president, UAE cargo and airline services, dnata spoke to ACW about how dnata is embracing all things digital and how this is affecting business.

ACW: Just last week dnata announced the launching of the next-generation e-Commerce platform for the cargo community in the UAE. Can you tell me a bit about this?

Bernd Struck: We’ve had community system in Dubai for a while, we started this back in 2008 to streamline our processes in the community, from forwarders to third party logistics to ground handlers and logistic providers. We needed to update this system and over the last two years we have been developing the follow up programme with Kale Logistics. Kale is a specialised small software provider in India and they fully bought in to our vision of how we want develop in the next decade with this new platform.

The old system is 13 years old and it doesn’t have the potential to give all the necessary information, like reporting possibilities, technical allowances, SLA controlling and appointment systems in the way the new system can.

We will be rolling this out next year in two phases in line with our cargo handling system which we purchased from IBS, which is also in the development phase and we will be rolling out across the world from early next year and onward.

ACW: Will this be implemented in other locations?

Struck: It’s our intention with our new partner Kale to bring this in to other parts of the world. Our experience matched with the technical abilities of the software is an ideal tool to bring into other areas.

There are many places, like in the USA, where this could make life for freight forwarders and all parties involved a lot easier.

ACW: dnata have already rolled out the Appointment Dock Management system by Calogi. How have customers responded to these digitalisations?

Struck: Statistics show that 90% of customers are happy with our new ADM system for booking appointments and 86% of customers are happy with the operational cost and time saving benefits.

The change management process was painful but also worthwhile. There are a few things we have learned and we are updating the system accordingly. From that point of view, I’m absolutely happy that the implementation of the system was worthwhile.

ACW: How have staff responded?

Struck: Staff are keen to learn new process and technology. We have a lot of young people come to work in Dubai from Africa and South Asia and they come here completely prepared. Much of young people’s lives are on their mobile phone! For us it’s then quite easy to get the tech centric mind set over to our workforce.

ACW: With the success of digital advancements so far, what more is in store at dnata? 

Struck: We are very active in innovations, not only at Dubai but many other dnata stations. We’re working on a number of projects.

For example, we are making advancements in cargo measuring and dimensioning. We have trials in place in Dallas, Singapore and Amsterdam on how to do this and once this proof of concept goes through, we are planning on implementing this across our system.

We also recently joined IATA Dangerous Goods Order Check System. We will be the first in Dubai to integrate this into our cargo management system, where we will have the complete transparency of dangerous goods for our customers according to their agreed measures with IATA. This is a really big step forward which we will be implementing across the world.

ACW: How will dnata make these steps forward in a sustainable way?

Struck: Sustainability is at the heart of our business at dnata. There’s a revolution going on with supply chain sustainability and no company will be able to leave that out of their company plans.

Those who are quick will end up leading and that’s our intention. We have an environmental sustainability framework in the company already, which is split into three aims: reduce emissions; consume responsibly; invest in digital solutions.

For example, just our implementation of ADM has saved our customers truck waiting times last year totalling 65,000 hours, so imagine what the reduction of CO2 emissions is for our docks. It’s a very visible of example of how these tie together.