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The Reasons Integration is Key for the Future of Air Freight

Cargo logistics have adopted a bit of a conservative approach in comparison to other industrial sectors. While the vast majority are implementing technological advancements and automation, air cargo and its freight forwarding counter parts are stuck in the paper trail. Air freight shipments are in particular need of increased transaction times, especially when expedited cargo is on the dock. The lag in digital implementation is becoming apparent. Ineffective manual processes are the central cause for deflated revenue in a time where optimization and new streams of cash flow are on the rise. Roughly 75% of air freight executives are under the assumption that the lack of industry wide automation has created pricing integrity and uniformity problems.

The economic complexities that are quickly becoming standard, are essentially making it necessary for supply chain management companies and logistics providers to rethink and reassess how technology can immediately benefit and grow their existing business. This industry must abandon previous assumptions regarding comprehension, processing, and investing in information technology. IATA is leading the electronic revolution in attempts to create a more systematic and automated air freight forwarding process. Streamlining the industry has been an obvious goal for IATA for quite some time now. The “e-freight” campaign plunges forward off the presiding e-AWB implementation that is mandatory for some (not all) airlines. This is only the beginning of the inevitable paperless future. Technology in general, whether it be IT, AI, or robotics, all have one crucial denominator – consistency. In an industry where paper trails exceed far beyond folder capacity, the need to organize and have any document easily accessible at any given time is imperative. The only way this happens consistently and flawlessly is in the hands of advanced technological software and devices. This, however, must be managed by a human. While artificial intelligence and automation is seemingly effortless to the users, the need for human oversight and supervision increases drastically.

Inaccurate quoting and varying rating systems are obvious threats to the integrity of the industry as it relates to shipping prices. Full visibility provided by digitized processes allows for consistent rate calculation, which in turn makes for a happier client. The inconsistency observed in the industry today is a direct reaction to the lack of automated structures. This causes customer frustration and adds to overall revenue loss.

“In such an environment, air-cargo carriers face three imperatives for surviving and flourishing in the future: agility, speed, and alliances – or mastering aerobatics, breaking the sound barrier, and flying in information.” [Ludwig Hausmann, associate partner McKinsey & Company]

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