Swissport is centralizing some back-office tasks to make its operation more efficient and deliver cost savings.
It is not an easy task to turn a global crisis in the form of a pandemic into a successful lesson learnt and a new modus operandi. This is something that has certainly worked for Swissport, the international ground handling and cargo handling organization with 287 locations and over 47,000 employees globally. Swissport re-grouped and implemented a new strategy based on efficiency and cost savings, yet with operational excellency as top priority.
For any large enterprise, and especially those with globally dispersed operations performing the same function, one of the answers is a shared service center concept. In January 2022, Swissport took this idea forward with the formation of its Centralized Services department.
“The main goal was to reduce the resources and achieve the top level of services to any client globally, operated and managed from the central location in Morocco and Kenya and then executed at the requested station at any given location,” explained Sana Ezzoubir, head of centralized services at Swissport, from her base in Casablanca, Morocco.
The newly set up operation quickly took on four focus areas: Centralized Load Control (CLC); Centralized Cargo Office (CCO); a project to standardize Salesforce handling contracts; and Global Centralized Service for Invoicing. The decision to locate the Centralized Services in Morocco and Kenya was based on the abundance of highly trained staff.
In addition, Morocco had already become the genesis of Swissport’s centralized operation with its CLC team starting back in 2016 when Swissport signed the contract with Swiss Airlines as the launch operator for load control services delivered from Morocco. The second CLC operation was then created in Nairobi to ensure the sustainability for this critical function.
“We are well positioned with our CLCs in Morocco and Kenya to match the expected growth of the region in both ground and cargo handling,” said Dirk Goovaerts, head of Central Europe, Middle East & Africa and Global Cargo Chair. “Our operational capacity allows us to promote those services beyond the region, simply to any client globally, who is seeking for improved efficiency.”
The CCO team works to a data processing target of less than 20 minutes from receipt of the scanned AWB, to the data being entered into the Cargospot system. In addition, there is a data accuracy target of 99.5%. Both targets are exceeded on a monthly basis. Regular calls are held with CCO customers to ensure product satisfaction and to iron out any anomalies.
Apart from the CLC, Swissport is looking at further opportunities to centralize, beginning with internal tasks. “We are currently discussing several other projects,” said Ezzoubir. “We are looking into simple tasks that we can insource that we can set up as a new business unit.”
Swissport believes it is unique amongst the global handlers in offering the Centralized Load Control service and is keen to expand its approach to centralization wherever the business benefits allow.