Excellence is born of necessity. By 2018, ECS Group’s rapid expansion across more than 50 countries had brought with it many different ways of working, encompassing heterogeneous processes and old systems.
At the same time, airlines partners outsourcing their business to ECS Group were expecting consistent high standards at all their network stations. ECS Group saw the clear need to harmonise, simplify, and standardise processes in order to maximise its efficiencies and deliver reliable quality. The Cargo Digital Factory (CDF) was launched that same year to drive a full digital transformation.
Based in Paris, France, the CDF meanwhile consists of 10 air cargo industry and technology experts, an equal balance of men and women, and follows three clear principles: harmonise and ensure uniform standards, digitise and automate processes, and offer new services to customers.
Cédric Millet, chief strategy & digital officer at ECS Group, explains: “From the start, our focus in the Cargo Digital Factory has been to bring experienced air cargo and IT talents together to professionalise the way we work. By automating manual processes, we increase efficiencies. At the same time, we focus on using the data and systems we have to create new, value-added services for our customers.”
Alongside the CHAMP reservation system, which was enhanced to meet ECS Group’s requirements, three best-in-class, in-house products were developed over the past three years: Apollo, Pathfinder, and Quantum.
ECS Group developed Apollo, its state-of-the art Business Intelligence & Reporting System and deployed it across its entire sales force. “All companies have data. The question is not whether you have data, but how you use it,” adds Cedric Millet. “Apollo has been designed to be the catalyst of our commercial strength. In the blink of an eye, our sales staff have real-time visibility of the airline’s results and can immediately identify the gaps and determine performance improvement actions.”
ECS Group successfully implemented a data-driven sales approach and performance improvement process, taking its customer airlines’ revenue optimisation to the next level.
Pathfinder is a web-based track and trace system which knows exactly where each shipment is located, providing real-time information and in-flight geolocation. It can also be used to identify process inefficiencies along the transportation chain. Quantum is the latest digital solution supporting the pricing process by aiding in pricing quotes and following them up.
Developing intelligent, digital tools is just one component of the CDF. Knowing how to best make use of them is a second, vital function.
“Change management is crucial in business transformation, and we approach this in two ways: by creating Discovery; our online e-learning platform, and by adopting a proactive change infrastructure across our network. Change Ambassadors in each country are responsible for system implementation. They are not only experts in using the tools, but also provide important feedback which helps us to further improve the systems,” Cedric Millet emphasises.
The Cargo Digital Factory forms the backbone on which the other Augmented GSA pillars are built.