Guest column by Hans Helmkamp, who is Executive IT Consultant at Hellmann Worldwide Logistics
In every contract between a forwarder and a customer, Quality KPIs are agreed upon, which are intended to ensure and guarantee the quality of the agreed services.
Likewise, this applies to contracts between forwarders and other service providers, such as airlines and customs, to ensure that e-documents and cargo are available at set times and in the specified quality for the handling processes.
The contract should also consider that the consignment cannot be transported further for the time being.
In order to minimize the cost of non-performance, it is important to identify deviations from the plan at every milestone in the supply chain and take appropriate measures to deliver as promised.
However, this is rarely the case due to a lack of uniform standards and processes within the rather heterogeneous airfreight supply chain.
Organization and standardization
In contrast to the integrators who manage and control the entire end-to-end supply chain via uniform standards, processes, and equipment, the general airfreight supply chain does not work according to standardized processes.
This is due to the amount of different parties involved, such as airlines, forwarders, GHAs, and airports.
In order to sustain the increasing digitalization in logistics, the airfreight supply chain must be organized and act like a “virtual integrator” through the following actions: standardization of airfreight processes through binding business rules; harmonization of interfaces; implementation of the standards in the IT systems and operational processes; planning, monitoring and measurability of operational and transport-relevant milestones.
For example, if an airline’s data is directly synchronized with a forwarders’ TMS, it can be used for transport planning based on the airline’s Route Map Plan.
Using MOP milestones
There are two milestones from the industry’s Master Operating Plan (MOP) that are particularly important for the forwarder: cargo and documents delivery to the Export GHA latest (RCS); and cargo and documents availability for the forwarder on the import side earliest (NFD).
The forwarder can then use the planning date from the milestones to plan and control the pre-carriage and on-carriage.
Deviations from the Route Map Plan, supplemented by exception handling codes, can then be detected almost in real time and communicated within the supply chain.
Since the data is generated in systems that work according to uniform business rules and process standards, the quality is so good that serious transport disruptions can proactively be countered.
Therefore, necessary actions can be started immediately in order to keep the delivery promise.
Comprehensive reporting enables the industry to visualize and correct quality defects at certain milestones.
In this way, the quality of logistics services in the airfreight supply chain is sustainably improved, and the possible cost of non-performance reduced.