Cargo iQ adds 'vital clarity' to logistics & shipment planning

Cargo iQ measured 10 million airport-to-airport and 5.5 million door-to-door shipments in 2015, enabling members to improve and standardize internal processes

The air cargo industry is becoming increasingly complex and shippers have more specialized needs, expectations and demands to lookout for. The major concerns lie in the movement of cargo physically and a swift exchange of vital information.

Logistical efficiency and effective shipment planning starts with the supplier taking into consideration the entire logistical chain, all the way up to the handover of the final product to the customer.

However, the challenge always lies in the complexity of logistical processes and the specific requirements that stand in the way of performance and flexibility.

A good cargo management system not only enables standardized communication among air cargo stakeholders (i.e. freight forwarders or ground handlers), it also creates shipment visibility. Transparency is vital in this day and age.

Furthermore, it manages complexity and exceptions (i.e. last minute changes) and differentiates between the various offerings, products and services that have expanded considerably and often require specific procedures and processes.

Last but not least, it manages the delivery promise, resulting in improved customer service, complies with customs andcargo regulations (i.e. dangerous goods handling) and maximizes cargo revenue by more efficiently matching capacity to demand.

Cargo IQ Executive Director Ariaen Zimmerman and Cargolux Global Logistics Services Director Francesco Nanna discussed with Air Cargo Update why a good cargo manage-ment system is a necessity and how Cargo IQ fits into the picture.

To them, without a cargo management system, it is impossible to know where the cargo is, how long it has been there, what step of the chain it has reached, or even what condition it is in. These systems add vital clarity.

Cargo IQ

Formerly known as Cargo 2000, the 82-member IATA specialist interest group was rebranded as part of a strategic transformation program, including a Smart Data Project, and a new audit and certification scheme for the Cargo iQ Quality Management System Certification.

Cargo iQ measured 10 million airport-to-airport and 5.5 million door-to-door shipments in 2015, enabling members to take action to improve and standardize internal processes by identifying where quality was an issue.

By speaking the same language, Cargo iQ members are also able to follow best practices and define common processes with industry partners in the supply chain.

Cargo iQ Executive Director Ariaen Zimmerman said, “Cargo iQ is not just an IT system. It is an organization, an IATA interest group through which the industry, represented by parties from all over the world, and from every aspect of air cargo, collaborate with the aim of improving the value proposition of the air cargo industry. “These industry representatives, from our 80+ members amongst others, ascertain how processes currently work, and they then agree how things should be working. In this way we create standards for the air cargo supply chain, and of the IT systems used to monitor the cargo flow journey. The reasons we do this is to improve shipment control, as well improve the processes of how it is carried out in practice. We are an initiative, not a management system, and represent over 80 members within all segments in air cargo industry.”

Procedures & Shipment Planning

Every shipment gets a plan (a so-called route map) that includes milestones. CiQ members then receive alerts when milestones fail, giving them the ability to re-plan and/or recover. The route map is created when the booking is accepted and describes the journey the airfreight shipment follows.

The journey covers flight/truck bookings as well as the checkpoints/ timestamps. The live route map tells us if the freight is continually moving. Detailed comprehensive records are available for process analysis and improvement. CiQ's objective is to standardize quality processes and improve operational efficiencies. Shipment route map information is planned and measured in a defined manner that enables the comparison of data and identifies areas for improvement.

Cargo iQ members are constantly sending data within the group via their own cargo management systems. The monthly report provided makes their performance a visible, tangible thing, and process change can then be implemented, and used for shipment planning and forecasting.

Francesco Nanna, Cargolux Global Logistics services director notes, “As the number of touchpoints is increasing and involved stakeholders (shippers, freight forwarders, carriers) want to gather more and more data, CiQ helps to define the standard route map including the specifications which all CiQ Members have to adhere to. Speaking the same language helps to compare the same milestones/KPIs. Customers want to see exactly how shipments are progressing in real time, including whether the shipment was loaded on the airplane on time and its projected delivery time.”

Monitoring performance

Cargo iQ has several members which are IT providers to air cargo. It is through their cargo management systems that Cargo iQ team monitor processes.

“Those that are Cargo iQ compliant achieve this by having the various milestones outlined in our Master Operating Plan (MOP) detailed in their systems. This is how we track where shipments are, should be and will be,” says Zimmerman.

CiQ is monitoring the physical shipment flow from origin to destination by setting up an individual route map for each airfreight consignment. This allows both the freight forwarder and the airline to intervene whenever it's deemed necessary and, with that, ensures the delivery promise made to the customer is kept. The CiQ methodology allows the members to compare their performance with others, which provides a good opportunity for process improvement.

Improving air freight value

CiQ enables to build a recognized standard industry quality management system and to improving internal and external processes. It establishes a workflow management tool to scrutinize and enhance ground handling process and procedures and increases the visibility & transparency of shipment follow up (actual vs. planned).

It also ensures corrective action through real time re-planning and helps bridging various air cargoindustry initiatives like eAWB. CargoiQ is a meaningfully benchmark because of harmonized CiQ milestones/KPIs within the industry.

“The value of air freight will improve dramatically as soon as shippers are automatically part of the so called 'collaboration landscape', meaning where all stakeholders of the supply chain will start talking to each other – only then can we deliver the visibility and quality that shippers demand.

“CiQ is a common data management platform, where CiQ Members have implemented the relevant CiQ specifications with the intention to provide full transparency in regards to process consistency. This is achieved by respecting the specified sequence of events, applying the required interfaces and ensuring at all times that respective stakeholders control the goods and respect the ownership of shipment information,” says Nanna.

Identifying problems

The data gathered outlines where a shipment currently is, and where it should be. When combined with the milestones agreed, it is possible to identify where in the chain things problems are arising.

“The objective of CiQ is to provide the air cargo industry with a master operating plan, describing end-to-end air cargo industry business process,” Nanna stressed.

“As the MOP specifies the activities, tasks and milestones that are typically involved in transportation of cargo by air, it provides notification alerts to relevant stakeholders when shipments deviate from the original route map and, thus, gives the possibility to collaboratively put the consignment back on track again or find a common alternative acceptable to the customer. The full control of information flow, cargo flow and documentation flow allows immediate identification of issues in such cases,” he added.

CiQ places a measurable quality management system between freight forwarders and carriers, where monthly statistics are produced and compared. They contribute to further improve the service of the ground handlers based on actual time stamp measurements.

The standardized and recognized CiQ reports help to achieve operational excellence. The globally standardized process allows to measure and compare the quality of the service delivery, of service providers and, internally, throughout our network. Consequently, this is leading to an overall increase in customer satisfaction.

New audit and certification scheme

Cargo iQ recently appointed SGS to take on its member Audit and Certification Scheme, working with auditors for the first time.

Members will be audited to demonstrate, through certification, that their processes and services are compliant with quality standards for the worldwide air cargo industry, as created and implemented by the Cargo iQ membership. SGS is an inspection, verification, testing, and certification company, with over 2,000 offices and laboratories worldwide. Its partnership with CiQ was announced at the World Cargo Symposium (WCS) 2017 held in Abu Dhabi in March.

Cargo iQ is planning for all members to be audited under this new audit scheme within three years.