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Air cargo transformation is taking off due to e-commerce

Dr. Michael Hanke, founder and managing director of SkaiBlu, an e-commerce consultancy assisting clients in the aviation industry, tells Logistics Management that ecommerce has transformed the air cargo business from being supply chain focused to be much more “customer centric.”

He says that from a customer’s perspective, with e-commerce, “convenience”, “control”, and “cost” (the so-called three “Cs”) assume a crucial role: Today, customers determine the hours of operation (they log on whenever they want, thus a company always has to be “on”), customers increasingly want to serve themselves (think of a retailer checking the status of their shipments via e-tracking or reserving shipping space through an air cargo business website ), and companies’ e-commerce services need to be delivered at the customer’s location (be it an office desktop, a mobile device, or wearable computing).

Hanke, author of “Airline E-commerce: Log on.Take off,” notes that at the same time, e-commerce has made market places more transparent (and thus more competitive).

“Customers have never had access to more information today and with the next best website only one mouse click away, suppliers in the air cargo value chain need to be more than ever mindful of their price levels and quality of service,” he adds.

Hanke says another impact of e-commerce is improved efficiency of business processes (“think of the e-airway bill or the application of e-commerce software to help track/analyze the levels of inventory at suppliers and manufacturers in real-time for more effective JIT”). 

Lastly, the change in market structures as a result of e-commerce should also be highlighted.

The arrival of the internet and internet-based technology has forced many participants in the airline cargo business to redesign the relationship with their target audience. In this regard, relevant to mention are:

*disintermediation or cutting out the middle men (business…

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