Data the key to unlocking cargo potential

A panel session on digitization at the World Cargo Symposium in Istanbul highlighted the value of data.


The industry’s digital transformation is accelerating, and this is producing huge swathes of data. And, as data sharing becomes commonplace, that momentum will only increase.

Everything the industry does in future will be affected by how the industry retrieves, analyses, and uses data. A proper analysis could yield critical insight and enable informed decisions.

As Turhan Ozen, Chief Cargo officer, Turkish Airlines, pointed out: “Without data, you just have an opinion.” This was echoed by the panel who agreed that data must drive decisions rather than the other way round.

But Andres Bianchi, CEO LATAM Cargo, pointed out the pitfalls of bad data. “Rubbish in, rubbish out” is the mantra and so data must be validated to ensure it is not outdated, incomplete or just plain wrong.

The different tactics for digitization were also discussed. The key takeaway was there is no one-size-fits-all approach. Every company is set up differently and will have varied needs. The aim must be to make sure the technology is right for each individual organization. One possible way forward, therefore, is to take a modular approach and do incremental improvements.

This flexibility is also apparent in the top down / bottom up debate. Both are probably needed. The senior management does need to buy-in to the developments and provide strategic direction. But many of the great ideas come from staff who have practical day-to-day experience. This approach can also speed up implementation as there is an urgency when people are trying to improve their daily job functions.

The panel also pointed out that the end result—improving customer service—should not be forgotten when embarking on the digital journey. That is easier said than done as the air cargo ecosystem is fragmented, consisting of many stakeholders with different needs and priorities. Even so, customers are demanding transparency and a host of other value-added services and these qualities can only be achieved through digitization.

The Panel

Andres Bianchi, CEO LATAM Cargo

Turhan Ozen, Chief Cargo officer, Turkish Airlines

Christopher McDermott, CEO, Champ

Moderator: Suzanne Grimes, Senior Director, Strategic Comsulting, PROS


Credit | iStock