Multimodal 2018: What do shippers want? That is the question

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The age-old questions of ‘what do shippers want?’ needs to be answered if meaningful Key Performance Indicators (KPI) are to be produced.

The session entitled ‘Developing KPIs for air freight shippers’ at Multimodal 2018 was held in Birmingham on 2 May, focused on the work of Global Shippers Forum and Cargo iQ, an IATA interest group to develop a route map with 19 agreed steps against which performance can be measured.

It was pointed out that not all shippers want to the same thing, so it is important that everyone in the supply chain works together to find the best solutions, the panel of airfreight experts agreed at the conference.

Cargo iQ executive director, Ariaen Zimmerman explained that there is a need to speak a common language and increase shipment control in order to optimise performance.

He asked: “In the cargo community we use a lot of industry standard acronyms, but does that give clarity to the shippers?”

“We want to encourage them to talk to us, so we include the steps that are important to them.”

DB Schenker director of security standardisation, Lothar Moehle says forwarders would not even be considered for a contract unless they can supply more visibility.

He says: “We have been implementing steps for several years, but it takes time and money to implement these systems, including some change management and training at all levels, including sales people, who need to have a good idea of what is available.”

American Airlines managing director of cargo sales for Europe, the Middle East and Africa, Tristan Koch says the existence of true end-to-end data will “give us all a chance to sort out any wrinkles that might be there”, but KPIs must be relevant to all shippers, especially in the world of e-commerce, and not based on historical data.

Zimmerman agreed, saying: “Customers want a reliable solution, not necessarily a specific flight. It is like when we search for a website. We don’t care what optic fibres are used, just that the provider gives us the best route.”

He added that many customers just want to know when there shipment will arrive and if there are any issues, how they will be solved.