Supply Chain Council of European Union | Scceu.org
Freight

Precious cargo: How the right freight forwarding technology can save lives

Airspace Technologies operates in what the company’s Chief Marketing Officer Bill Hale jokingly calls “the sexy part of transportation.” The tech-enabled freight forwarder is often tasked with moving shipments quickly, and sometimes those shipments are live human organs.

“There is a difference between something that is time-critical and life-or-death situations,” Hale said. “We deal in the life-or-death situations. We also deal in the straight time-critical work, when we have critical parts that have to be delivered so we can get our customers’ aircraft up and running, and they don’t have passengers stranded.”

When a patient is waiting on an organ to arrive in order to receive a life-saving transplant, every moment matters. This is when a shipment passes the “time-critical” threshold and becomes more serious.

“I cannot imagine knowing that you have a family member in a life-or-death situation, needing a transplant, and for whatever reason, the transportation provider cannot get it there in time. That happens,” Hale said. “We play in a part of the industry where failure is not an option. It is totally different than moving a truckload of green beans.”  

Visibility also becomes more important in situations like these because doctors need to know where the organ is located in order to prepare for the procedure and deal with any potential delays. Often, it can be difficult and time-consuming to nail down the location of the shipment throughout the process.

“Being able to provide information is not just for tracking ability. It is really for productivity all the way around,” Hale said. “They could probably figure out where that organ is with a couple of phone calls to their provider, but if they had that information in the palm of their hand, they could look and tell them exactly where it is and when it is going to be delivered.” 

Airspace also uses geofencing technology that allows for updates to be sent out via push notifications when that precious cargo crosses custom electronic boundaries. 

The company was built around the belief that integrating technology into the freight forwarding process can provide never-before-seen levels of transparency, leading to better outcomes. This emphasis on technology makes it easy for Airspace customers to connect to take advantage of the company’s offerings.

“We’re connecting electronically with our customers using an API, so we just become a part of their organization,” Hale said. “When they execute an order internally, it automatically populates in our system, and our system essentially becomes theirs. It’s like a virtual glass pipeline of information.”

Airspace is not only electronically connected to its customers. It is also connected to the airlines. This allows the company to move real-time updates between the airlines and its customers without bogging the process down with incessant phone calls. 

While the company’s electronic offerings is where it shines brightest, Airspace’s success is rooted in a combination of old school industry experience and modern technological advances. The name Airspace is fairly new, but Hale noted that most of the company’s leadership has been in the industry for decades. 

“We have the relationships and trust already with the customers because we have been in the industry for so long,” Hale said. “We have an optimized network built because of our operational experience and expertise. Add the world-class technology, and it is a slam dunk.”

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