Excellent logistics planning is critical for shippers in assuring their goods get from Point A to Point B on time. That said, it’s not a perfect world. The reality is that when dealing with transportation of goods – whether via cargo aircraft, ocean freighter, train, or truck – sometimes the best laid plans need an effective, time-sensitive change of approach.
“That’s where a top-notch, logistics provider with considerable expertise, strong business partnerships, and experience is a shipper’s best asset,” says Omar Zambrano, COO of Prime Group. He oversees the daily operations of Prime Logistics, one of four subsidiaries of Miami-based Prime Group “Our goal is always to keep clients’ goods moving, make up for lost time, and get your goods to their final destination.”
Zambrano adds that, “at times, we’re miracle workers.” But at other times, delays can’t be avoided based on the shipment’s timing, locations involved, weather or the type of goods being shipped. “So, the goal is to find what can be done upfront to build safeguards into the journey,” he adds.
Certainly, having a strong advanced logistics plan for shipping is a plus, as is tapping into advanced digital solutions. Another advantage is starting the shipping journey as early as possible – building in a bit of “pad time” should transport delays occur. But that’s not always possible.
So, Prime Logistics looks to those airlines or air cargo carriers who have a track record of impeccable schedule integrity. One way to evaluate that is by looking at “on time performance” (OTP) statistics and “delivered as promised” (DAP) cargo rates of both air cargo companies and commercial airlines that carry cargo.
How to Achieve the Best in Reliability?
High OTP percentages typically occur only when aviation firms pay attention to detail, put in much hard work, communicate effectively internally, integrate technology, and have a strong commitment by their entire team (management and front-line employees, as well as contract workers) to operate reliable schedules.
“While it’s still complex and not all variables are within the airline’s control, such as bad weather or an unexpected mechanical issue, a good OTP record over time shows that generally an airline or cargo carrier is consistently performing well,” says Zambrano.
In contrast, having a low OTP can indicate such diverse issues as a lack of management control, inefficiency of the air carrier operation, labor dissatisfaction, haphazard approaches to routes, aircraft utilization or partners, or other factors. Also, poor OTP isn’t just a cost drain for the aviation company. It can directly impact the customer experience and steer the choices that cargo shippers will make or not.
“Prime Logistics knows firsthand that just one late flight early in the morning can cause a domino effect – with delays on many other subsequent flights throughout the day,” Zambrano acknowledges. “Thankfully, the impetus for air carriers to operate on time is strong.” Some sources say that trimming just one minute from any aircraft’s “turn time” on the ground between flights could save millions, a direct bottom line benefit.
But other factors too contribute to a positive OTP. Those could include everything from fleet make-up to airline code-share partners, route networks, aircraft staging at airports, crew scheduling, availability of spare aircraft and more. Carriers need flexible options that can help when an aircraft is grounded by a mechanical issue, lack of qualified crew (given recent pilot shortages) and bad weather.
The Importance of Aiming High
Good OTP is highly complex and often not easy. But fortunately, most aviation companies realize that it’s also critically important for them to strive for high OTP. It’s not simply a cost issue, although that’s a big factor. It’s also their corporate reputation at stake. That, in turn, can impact future customer service and any patronage (or not) by cargo shippers.
So, aviation companies themselves increasingly tout a positive operational performance. After all, exceeding OTP and DAP targets, which measure the carrier’s ability to deliver cargo at the agreed time and the punctuality of its freighter fleet against schedule, demonstrates a carrrier’s strong commitment to reliability, building trust, and being the air cargo partner of choice.
That sums up exactly what the schedule integrity factor means to both airlines and shippers. Prime Logistics’ shipping clients need to know that their time-sensitive cargo is going to arrive on time to meet delivery deadlines. Otherwise, they know they could be hit with penalties or added costs for late deliveries, spoiled product, airport storage fees, or even expedited shipping to get back on schedule.
In addition, flight schedule disruptions can adversely impact the entire logistics process – even causing delays in production of goods, distribution processes and management of inventory. And if the cargo is hazardous or perishable, precise scheduling is needed to ensure safety and compliance with pertinent regulations.
Zambrano continues: “Good schedule integrity also gives our shipping clients a solid base for data collection and analytics. That way they can track performance, decide on which shipping routes and approaches make most sense, and make the best data-driven decisions.”
In conclusion, “aviation operators clearly know that their schedule integrity including any OTP and DAP ratings can foster either confidence in or doubt about their ability to attract our clients’ cargo shipments,” emphasizes Zambrano. To learn more, why not talk with one of Prime Group’s skilled, experienced employees today about air cargo schedule integrity? We’ll chat about how we evaluate that in our shipping decisions and how we can best assist your business.