Frantz Wallenborn, third generation owner and CEO of trucking giant, Wallenborn Group spoke to ACW about the keys to success and how to weather a storm.
ACW: Wallenborn has been in business for 100 years. What’s the key to success in this industry?
Frantz Wallenborn: That’s a good question; there are many factors that contribute to our success and I believe the key is customer satisfaction.
We have managed this by fostering excellent relations with our key accounts, anticipating their needs, developing innovative products and delivering as promised.
In addition to the fundamentals required for all businesses to flourish such as organisation, communication and cost management, the longevity of Wallenborn is due to our sharp focus on consistency, creativity and customers.
ACW: The effects of the pandemic hit the aviation sector hard. How has this had a knock-on effect to Wallenborn?
Wallenborn: Our first priority has been to ensure all our people are safe, have access to safe working environments and the ability to immediately report any concerns.
In the absence of face-to-face contact, clear and frequent communication with our customers and partners has become essential.
We’re fortunate to have very creative people across our organisation who are well known for their adaptability. Their skills, connections and expertise have been in high demand as customer requirements have frequently changed and it’s also been important to ensure that processes and protocols were sufficiently flexible and simultaneously robust.
The extra workload has accelerated our drive for closer integration and I’m starting to see the positive results of collaborative decision making and data
sharing that will streamline workflows and improve perceptions of the air-cargo industry.
ACW: How have operations been since the opening of the Brussels facility last year? Will we see more expansion in the coming months?
Wallenborn: Recent years have been good for air cargo in Belgium. We were the first to establish a RFS base at LGG in 2017, and it’s become a top 5 hub for Wallenborn. The Liege Airport management team were ahead of the curve in their dedication to cargo, development of specialised infrastructure and facilitation of e-Commerce and intermodal ecosystems. Brussels is also enjoying a renaissance and this is a testament to its strong community and it’s representative body Air Cargo Belgium, coupled with the determination and vision of the Brussels Airport cargo team.
We’ve received a warm welcome from established and new customers and our first six months at BRU have exceeded expectations. Our next focus is to develop our healthcare activities at BRU based on our highly regarded GDP-validated services.
I expect most expansion in the coming months to be at the major air-cargo hubs (AMS, BRU, FRA, LGG and LUX) where air-cargo is likely to remain concentrated until long-haul passenger flights resume on a large scale. Wallenborn has extensive networks at all these hubs and has played a leading role to ensure markets such as France, Italy, Scandinavia and the UK remained connected to global supply chains despite the removal of most belly capacity.
ACW: From a leadership perspective, what have you learned from the challenges of the past year?
Wallenborn: Our experiences have validated our core values especially customer focus, dedication and flexibility.
Our strategy of creating Europe’s best RFS network of local experts has also paid off as our customers needed tailored solutions for specific markets. We’ve always acted with integrity and resisted the temptation to take advantage of situations.
The immense efforts of our teams across Europe, their collaborative approach and learning agility has given them more confidence and more ability to influence. They’ve always faced challenges head-on and we all now realise after a year of exceptional circumstances that radical change is achievable.