MOBILE APPS will catapult air cargo into the digital age says US-based global IT specialist Unisys, writes Thelma Etim.
“Digitally-managed freight – enabled by apps – will make the e-transformation happen,” insists Venkatesh Pazhyanur, the company’s recently-appointed director of freight solutions.
There are already many successful app examples in today’s society, such as Uber, where the consumer transacts business without saying a word or visiting any portal.
“The Uber app is on the consumer’s smart device, in the consumer’s environment so he/she can then interact comfortably,” Pazhyanur points out.
Small-to-medium-sized (SME) airfreight businesses could easily have this type of technology enabled within only three to five weeks. It could also provide a gateway to carriers, he asserts.
“The use of apps needs to be accelerated,” he states. “This will drive e-transformation.”
“..mobile apps can deliver a competitive advantage”
A survey by American computer software giant Adobe supports his view. It notes that the growing use of enterprise mobile apps (EMAs) underscores Pazhyanur’s observations about their importance.
EMAs have been developed for large companies to increase employee productivity, perform specific tasks, equip employees with additional tools and information and, in particular, connect directly with customers and stakeholders.
“Despite widespread recognition that mobile apps can deliver a competitive advantage to an organisation, many companies have yet to modernise their strategies for this new reality,” reveals Adobe’s global study.
Sixty-one per cent of respondents in the USA, the UK, India, China and Germany, believe entities that have not deployed an EMA are at a big competitive disadvantage.
Increased productivity, better communication and reduced costs are the top three advantages.
Despite these findings, a collective agreement to accelerate the use of apps across the airfreight supply chain is unlikely to be one of the outcomes of this month’s four-day (9-12 May) Air Cargo Europe soirée in Munich, Germany. As usual, digitisation was on the discussion agenda – but with no actual follow-up planned.
Unisys’s Pazhyanur admits that although the e-freight initiative has made some progress over the last four or five years, the digitisation of paper transactions and automation of some processes between airlines, forwarders and ground handlers, is not enough.
“..a bigger e-transformation could happen more quickly if a forwarder does not have to leave his technological environment of choice or application to transact business..”