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   Vol. 14  No. 19
Monday March 2, 2015

Bottoms Up At United Cargo

Bottoms Up At UA Cargo

It has been eight months since Jan Krems came to Chicago and took up the reins at United Cargo, leading the company back to the future with his own special combination of air cargo knowledge and enthusiasm bolstered by a stellar career in top management posts at KLM and AF/KL/MP Cargo.
     Right now, as 2015 crawls out of a deep freeze in the U.S., Jan is up and working every day before sun up, uniting the world inside the airline with the huge global customer base the carrier serves with its air cargo offering.
     “I’m in office every day at 0600.
     “That way I have an opportunity to contact people all over the world and to keep tabs on our cargo business with limited interruptions,” Jan said.
     “I like to speak personally with five customers each day if possible. By connecting in this way, nothing is assumed or taken for granted by our customers or us.
     “If one thing is a constant during all my years in air cargo, it is that personal contact eliminates most misunderstandings. It’s not about ‘Show me the money’ or ‘How are we doing?’ but rather ‘I am available to work with you one-on-one: no confusion and no excuses.’”

Jan Krems

About The Market

     “Everybody at United Cargo is quite positive looking at near-term and longer-term business prospects ahead.
     “The tough part is that business recovery is not operating full tilt in all countries, so it’s a challenge to predict which markets will perform better than others. So we are positioning ourselves as business accelerates out of Europe with the dollar strengthening versus the Euro.
     “There are positive signs in pharma overall and from Asia to Latin America among other markets as well.
     “The West Coast of the U.S. has been very strong with the effects of the port strike, and with eight-week backlogs still in place the benefits to air cargo are continuing.
     “Our focus is now on building partnerships with new customers who have recently transitioned from sea freight. We have the capacity to continue to move these goods, so we’re doing all we can to reverse the longstanding trend toward ocean. We think we have the opportunity to retain some of that business now that these customers have experienced the benefits of air freight.”

Business Returns

     “Our business is advancing quite well in 2015—in fact, better than expected thanks to a growing, loyal customer base that recognizes the effort of a truly dedicated team here at United Cargo.
     “We saw the first signs of the turnaround during the second half of 2014 as we recovered from the difficulties of implementing our new UC360 technology system. We switched from our excessive internal focus and put our attention more toward our customers and our market position.
     “With these issues behind us, we took the opportunity to get a better story out to our customer base. Customers responded to our ‘back to the basics’ message since we based that target on what they told us we needed to do.
     “All these efforts led to a momentum shift as United Cargo began to reassert itself in our customary role as a quality provider in the marketplace.
     “We have rebuilt United Cargo from the bottom up with our team solidly focused on creative solutions, despite continuing over-capacity and declining yields. With GDP growth pegged at 3 to 3.5 percent, and capacity growth above that, the only way to succeed is to get your house and message in order—so that’s what we have done.
     “We offer our service partners a complete menu of value-added products and the ability to deliver. I have learned that customers will stay with your offering as long as you keep close enough to them so you can not only serve but [also] anticipate their needs. And of course you need to be able to execute operationally and keep your promises.
     “We recently held our Annual Worldwide Cargo Meeting with over 300 of our employees, service partners, and sales partners. I was really impressed with the level of enthusiasm the team showed, and the most exciting thing is our 2015 business plan contains so many new elements.
     “We will soon begin rolling out the first new brand concept for United Cargo in many, many years. We have a new service that really allows us to optimize our great network—this enables us to say ‘yes’ to business we have had to say ‘no’ to in the past. And our Revenue Management team has developed and begun rolling out a number of innovative tools that will make us the industry leaders in this area.
     “There’s only one path to success in our industry: you must be better than your competition in your service offering, your customer relationships, and your delivery of quality and value. That in a nutshell is United Cargo’s goal and purpose in 2015,” Jan Krems declared.
     “Simply put, we are improving everyday—from our operational performance to the quality and quantity of our customer contact. We have reorganized our leadership, we have some new faces with fresh ideas and we have empowered everyone in the organization to think about better ways of doing things. We say that ‘business as usual’ at United Cargo is an unusual level of attention to detail and service. Customer satisfaction is job one because we only succeed when our customers succeed.”

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The Year Of The Green Wood Goat
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The Girl In The BIFA Halo
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Chuckles For February 23, 2015
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