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AWB: up and away.

Kuehne + Nagel is dispensing with paper AWBs. At the company headquarters on Lake Zurich, a Lufthansa Cargo team is working together with its customer on standardizing interfaces and processes.

When they were budding forwarding specialists, Silke Hiltunen and Ingo Zeschky still used to sometimes compile their first Air Waybills (AWBs) using a typewriter. Today, they are both moving airfreight documentation into a new age, into the eAWB era. Silke Hiltunen as process manager at Kuehne + Nagel and Ingo Zeschky as the person responsible for data quality in the eAWB Rollout Team at Lufthansa Cargo. 

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At the company headquarters in the picturesque town of Schindellegi on Lake Zurich, Kuehne + Nagel is currently dispensing with paper AWBs. Since spring, Kuehne + Nagel shipments have been taking off at the pilot stations in Delhi and Singapore with Electronic Air Waybills (eAWBs). This saves time and paper, which explains why no-one looks back in regret at the departure of paper airfreight documents. In Schindellegi, they prefer to look ahead.

As an innovative logistics service provider, Kuehne + Nagel has relied on eFreight processes for a long time. The eAWB is a crucial element: “Kuehne + Nagel resolutely set up an eFiling warehouse management system years ago, with which we are able to serve the eFreight lanes in the countries authorized to use them,” says Silke Hiltunen. “Thanks to eAWB, the previous document checking times are eliminated, and that accelerates the process chain.” The desire was also felt on the part of our clientele that we should prioritize the green logistics project. 

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Kai Fuoss, who provides advice and support as Key Account Manager for Lufthansa Cargo’s global partnership with Kuehne + Nagel, confirms this trend.Although Kuehne + Nagel is itself active in numerous working groups of the International Air Transport Association IATA, the professionals employed by the logistics giant also needed special preparation in order to comply with IATA’s eAWB standard. Working on the Multilateral eAWB Agreement (Resolution 672), which was signed in December 2014, accounts for a large part of that preparation.

And IATA additionally stepped up efforts to induce the airfreight industry to switch to the modern messaging standard Cargo XML. It discontinued support for the less detailed Cargo IMP standard at the end of last year.

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While adapting their processes to the eAWB standard, the company’s process managers received assistance from Ingo Zeschky and the messaging and data quality team from the “eAWB Global Rollout” project at Lufthansa Cargo. They backed Kuehne + Nagel in all relevant steps along the way to eAWB. “We began by jointly carrying out a process analysis so that we could say what had to be done,” says Ingo Zeschky, outlining the approach. “As the eFreight and eAWB infrastructure at Kuehne + Nagel was already quite well established, we were soon able to focus on optimizing data quality.”

This encompasses the proper and complete transmission of the data required for the acceptance and transport of eAWB airfreight shipments. Most forwarders today already also pass on freight data electronically along with the paper AWBs.

The challenge here is that using eAWBs calls for an exchange of more data than is required when passing on data parallel to paper AWBs. In addition, the data sets – if they are to ultimately replace paper AWBs altogether – must be of high quality, as freight would not otherwise be allowed to take off. At Kuehne + Nagel, for example, the company’s system transmits the data sets to Lufthansa Cargo’s handling system.

“For eAWBs to work, the data transmitted must be complete and correct formally and in terms of content. If this is not the case, Lufthansa Cargo’s handling system either rejects the data from the start or the incomplete or incorrect data are noticed at the latest at the shipment acceptance stage.

The shipment can then only be accepted and flown if the data are subsequently entered or indeed a paper AWB is subsequently submitted. It is precisely this that makes the upgrading of data quality to the level required for eAWBs so essential in the run-up period to paperless transportation,” explains Ingo Zeschky.

“For this reason, Kuehne + Nagel turns its attention daily to analyzing the data quality of the eAWBs. In this process, we collaborate closely with Lufthansa Cargo,” adds Kristina Berners. “At the same time we have adapted the processes at the stations to work with the eAWBs,” says Silke Hiltunen.

“Whereas previously a number of control steps first took place after the actual compilation of the AWB data, these steps must now take place beforehand to make sure that everything is clarified when we transmit the eAWB data.” To anchor the new processes at the stations that are to follow as further eAWB locations, Kuehne + Nagel has set up special training teams.

Delhi and Singapore are just the beginning. At sites like New York preparations are also already underway to be able to dispense with the old AWB system as soon as possible.

Photos:

Sebastian Vollmert

planet 1/2015

This encompasses the proper and complete transmission of the data required for the acceptance and transport of eAWB airfreight shipments. Most forwarders today already also pass on freight data electronically along with the paper AWBs.

The challenge here is that using eAWBs calls for an exchange of more data than is required when passing on data parallel to paper AWBs. In addition, the data sets – if they are to ultimately replace paper AWBs altogether – must be of high quality, as freight would not otherwise be allowed to take off. At Kuehne + Nagel, for example, the company’s system transmits the data sets to Lufthansa Cargo’s handling system.

“For eAWBs to work, the data transmitted must be complete and correct formally and in terms of content. If this is not the case, Lufthansa Cargo’s handling system either rejects the data from the start or the incomplete or incorrect data are noticed at the latest at the shipment acceptance stage.

The shipment can then only be accepted and flown if the data are subsequently entered or indeed a paper AWB is subsequently submitted. It is precisely this that makes the upgrading of data quality to the level required for eAWBs so essential in the run-up period to paperless transportation,” explains Ingo Zeschky.

“For this reason, Kuehne + Nagel turns its attention daily to analyzing the data quality of the eAWBs. In this process, we collaborate closely with Lufthansa Cargo,” adds Kristina Berners. “At the same time we have adapted the processes at the stations to work with the eAWBs,” says Silke Hiltunen.

“Whereas previously a number of control steps first took place after the actual compilation of the AWB data, these steps must now take place beforehand to make sure that everything is clarified when we transmit the eAWB data.” To anchor the new processes at the stations that are to follow as further eAWB locations, Kuehne + Nagel has set up special training teams.

Delhi and Singapore are just the beginning. At sites like New York preparations are also already underway to be able to dispense with the old AWB system as soon as possible.

 

Photos:

Sebastian Vollmert

planet 1/2015