A few months ago, Andres Perez worked at Estée Lauder, a vertically integrated company where demand for goods could be accommodated by adding a few more shifts and simply producing more. But now that he’s the new head of business development and customer experience at Swiss WorldCargo, Perez is working with defined volumes in a much more fragmented industry. While his shipper’s background is moving into the foreground, he is adjusting to the new limitations on the other side of the supply chain.
First of all, capacity had to be redefined by the volume of aircraft, Perez explained. “We cannot sell one cubic meter more,” he told Air Cargo World at this year’s Transport Logistics Show in Munich. “You have to find ways to use the space, and we already have an 86 percent load factor, so we can’t just sell more. If we were to fill it up to 95 percent, our quality would decrease because we would have more offload.”
Instead, Perez said he is revisiting one of the industry’s most important questions – what exactly do shippers want?
“We need the closeness to the customer,” Perez said. “We have to give him the experience so that he is sure that if he works with Swiss, he won’t have problems, and his order will arrive on time.”
To accomplish that, Perez said he wants Swiss WorldCargo to target special products that add value, the sort “where we can bring our heritage of quality to it,” he said. That means leaving the bigger volumes to Swiss WorldCargo’s sister-carrier, Lufthansa, and instead focusing on “care-intensive products.”
Perez contended that Swiss WorldCargo is uniquely positioned to do just that – to be close to the customer. “Because we are small, we can react, adapt, innovate faster, understand the customer and give him or her what he needs.”
Perez explained that most air freight products are still “static.” These products have set features and are sold ‘as is.’ “We have to rethink this and offer more modular products, to fit to the customer’s needs,” he said.
One concept Perez is toying with is what he calls the “modular custom solution concept,” and he’s willing to experiment. “I want to sit down with my team that focuses on vertical industry, on key account management, and on product development, and do a workshop within the next two months.” That means starting “from scratch” and asking, “If we were a new airline, without any services or products, how would we build up our customer solutions?”
What that will look like has yet to be divulged, however Perez has a hunch that, “It will be something more modular, with the customer in the center.”