Kuehne + Nagel sets the bar for innovation and integrated solutions
The Kuehne + Nagel group has been a leading logistics provider across the world, providing services for airfreight, seafreight, contract and integrated logistics, and overland logistics. With digitalisation and the demand for e-commerce challenging the traditional practices of the air cargo supply chain, the group’s constant focus on providing innovative IT based integrated solutions are upping the ante on what logistics providers can provide in such tumultuous times. Cheryl Soh reports.
September 20, 2017
By PLA Editor
As a leading global logistics provider, the Kuehne + Nagel Group has a strong position in its sector, with a clear focus on providing IT based integrated solutions. The group’s strength in Asia and beyond lies in its network of employees, amounting to a workforce of over 70,000 in 1,300 locations across 100 countries. Specialists with the right knowledge and skillsets develop innovative end-to-end logistics solutions, such as the KN FreightNet and KN PharmaChain; resulting in a steady growth in services offered.
With the strong air freight market in Asia-Pacific during the first half of 2017, Kuehne + Nagel anticipates a growing demand over the peak season. So far, the group has been fortunate enough to not see a traditional slack season, however, the downside is the capacity issues the group face that arises as a direct result. Whilst additional capacity is entering the markets on some main lines, Kuehne + Nagel predicts that space will remain tight especially toward the end of Q3 and the beginning of Q4. Periods including Black Friday, Christmas Sale and other e-commerce promotional periods will also greatly impact capacity levels.
Providing an e-commerce solution
In April this year, Kuehne + Nagel inked a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with China’s Alibaba.com. The signing will see the logistics provider offering outbound logistics services to shippers listed on Alibaba, expanding its scope of services to cover various modes of transportation (air, sea, rail, overland) and contract logistics outside China. This announcement follows the launch of a pilot programme in 2016 which integrated the KN FreightNet digital shipment manager with Alibaba.com. Paid Alibaba members are able to instantly quote and book point-to-point air freight consignments via the Alibaba One-Touch platform, including less-than-container consignments.
The KN FreightNet is an online solution that increases the efficiency of placing airfreight orders. Through an efficient exchange of data, the programme is designed to be straightforward, easy to use, and aims to reduce workload and speed up airfreight processes. Quotations can be provided instantly by obtaining competitive prices with highly reputable airfreight carriers, saving time and effort. Users can enter shipment requests and KN FreightNet will provide recommendations of three different airfreight products with transit-times and a range of binding quotes, including fuel and security surcharges. Using the latest tracking technology, the programme also delivers premium supply chain visibility and management solutions to help customers improve productivity and efficiency.
The rising demand for e-commerce has also had a significant impact on the demand for airfreight. Consumers are demanding goods to be available faster and cheaper, placing more pressure on logistics companies to deliver, contributing to capacity issues. Small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) are also demanding quicker logistics processes to fulfil customer expectations. Kuehne + Nagel aims to invest and optimise their e-commerce offerings via KN FreightNet and from working closely with e-commerce leaders.
Maintaining its standing in the pharma sector
As an integral part of its strategy in select markets across the Asia-Pacific region, the pharma logistics arm of Kuehne + Nagel will introduce more developments in countries including Singapore, Malaysia, Japan, India, Australia and China through the KN PharmaChain, a fully CEIV Pharma certified specialised supply chain innovation. Coupled with highly trained experts, every product is ensured to be handled and transported in the appropriate, secure and temperature controlled environment.
Presently, Kuehne + Nagel is investing to upgrade its operations network of KN PharmaChain capabilities, and to expand its network of specialist pharma staff. Plans are already in place to work with pharma customers to expand and invest in strategies that are mutually beneficial. In China, the group has also expanded its perishables air freight services to provide door-to-door solutions, including custom clearances in several locations. This opens up opportunities for Kuehne + Nagel China to successfully handle shipments of live seafood, flowers and fresh food products in a temperature controlled supply-chain.
Further to that, the group will also be expanding their industry offerings in e-commerce, the aerospace sectors and dangerous goods; aiming to deliver viable solutions to meet the various challenges and special requirements of each industry. For stronger established industries including high-tech and automotive, the focus will be on innovation, improved productivity and to deliver customer focused solutions.
State-of-the-art infrastructures and facilities
Kuehne + Nagel has also been expanding on value-creating logistics solutions across the Asia-Pacific region for key industry verticals such as pharma, healthcare, perishables, and e-commerce. In January last year, the group opened its Singapore Logistics Hub, a 50,000 square metre built-to-suit facility that is located near the city-states pharma and healthcare hubs, key manufacturers, and ports.
With 46,000 square metres of warehousing space, the new hub serves as a regional centre of excellence for high-tech, industrial, pharmaceutical and healthcare customers, offering supply chain optimisation and value-chain transformation solutions. The facility also includes a Logistics Learning Hub where the group will drive talent development, training and succession planning to support overall business growth in the region.
During April last year, the group went a step further by upgrading its infrastructure and expanding its integrated logistics team in the Singapore Logistics Hub, which now boasts an approximate 10,000 square metres of cutting edge pharma logistics facilities. The enhanced new hub is designed to create an environment that fosters and facilitates team collaboration and in turn drive solutions.
Situated in a geographically pivotal spot, Singapore is a very important location for Kuehne + Nagel- and this is clearly represented in the recent opening of a new airfreight logistics hub earlier in April this year. As part of its growth strategy, the 5,200 square metres hub will value-add customers in the aerospace, technology, pharma and healthcare industries by consolidating warehousing and administrative operations; greatly supporting operational synergies and cargo turnaround time for customers with time-critical logistics requirement.