Creating a digitalisation snowball effect

posted on 8th March 2023
Creating a digitalisation snowball effect

The tide is turning in the digital transformation of air cargo, with many major players launchin

What are your expectations about how technology in the air cargo industry will develop in 2023?
Based on the conversations we have had with our customers and peers in 2022, I can safely say that digital transformations and adoption of advanced tech are high on the agenda of all air cargo stakeholders. Moreover, initial planning or strategy discussions have shifted to actual implementations and investments, with many major players launching large projects to implement new technologies within their organisations. Our expectation is that many of these projects will not only go live in 2023, but that they will create a snowball effect whereby less-mature organisations will follow suit.

Challenges and opportunities
We are particularly excited to see airlines review and modernise their commercial decision-making processes and invest in digital tools that help facilitate this, which we believe is a big untapped opportunity to maximise their cargo revenue and unlock efficiencies. We fundamentally believe that this is about enabling air cargo professionals to make better decisions and spend time on the highest value-adding tasks by using carefully designed products, rather than a matter of outright automation and replacing the human component, which is why we consider our product portfolio as ‘decision-support’ tools.
With this opportunity comes the logical challenge of prioritisation, which applies to both solution providers like ourselves or direct industry players such as airlines and forwarders. In both cases, clear prioritisation is required to manage multiple IT projects without unlimited IT resources and to develop the expertise to deliver them over time. At Wiremind, we are tackling this by working closely with our customers to build differentiated products in an aligned roadmap and by building in-house expertise in the fields of data science and software development through investments in our people. In terms of our progress, we are proud of the fact that the vast majority of our product features are developed together with customer feedback rather than as customer-specific change requests, and we have continued to grow our team.

What role will new and emerging technologies play?
Our view is that these opportunities go hand-in-hand with the use of data and developing best-in-class products which, in turn, are underpinned by emergent technologies. In particular, we see the areas of Data Science and DevOps as critical to our product portfolio, which typically relies on complex machine learning data models and advanced technical infrastructure capable of handling large data sets and/or significant server loads. To provide an illustrative example, our overbooking recommendation engine is built upon a machine learning model that ingests entire air waybill datasets to identify common clusters and predict the show up rate of a booked cargo on a particular flight. Based on this forecast, an analyst is offered with various overbooking strategies to pursue.
One thing we can do at our level is to convince our customers to invest. The return on investments is often measured solely based on the direct financial impact of a project, but if you take a more holistic perspective, it often goes much beyond that. When leading players decide to adopt a certain innovation, it can snowball into industry-changing best practices or standards, which benefit everyone.

What have you been doing to improve air freight efficiency, processes, operations and communications?
Our capacity optimisation solution, SkyPallet, is a great example of how our products can achieve some of these outcomes. The premise is to help different airline teams maximise their available capacity throughout the cargo lifecycle – whether it is an airline sales representative accurately determining the capacity required for a shipment, a flight analyst organising a flight to accept an additional booking, or an operations team using the SkyPallet solution for the operational build-up of pallets. We have seen the greatest successes with SkyPallet by embedding it into organisations’ workflows and processes, often by integrating it into other systems such as the airline’s cargo management system or CRM. In 2023, we will continue to improve SkyPallet as well as implement other decision support tools that can better facilitate improvements in air freight efficiencies and operations.
The ‘tide is turning’ in terms of digital transformation in air cargo. Even with the backdrop of a more normalised air cargo market, we are seeing that air cargo stakeholders are firmly committed to their digital strategies, and we are excited to be part of this in 2023, building on the successes of 2022.

g large projects to implement new technologies, says Nathanaël De Tarade, CEO of Wiremind Cargo