The challenges of working in the logistics industry are not only dynamic markets, time pressure and competition. When it comes to shipping goods from A to B often the freight itself turns out to be the crucial point. Did you ever wonder how exotic fruits reach your local supermarket or how pets can travel?
In the following week my colleagues and I want to give you an insight into our freighters’ bellies and share some anecdotes about challenging freights. My name is Sean and I have been working for Lufthansa Cargo in New York for more than 11 years now. As an Outside Sales Representative I am responsible to fulfill our customers’ wishes by offering them the right product solutions for their needs. Lufthansa Cargo has an extensive portfolio of air cargo services. Whether you want to ship valuable art, seafood, oxygen tanks, animals or organs – we have the right service for you. However, you can be sure that in this time I experienced quite a few extraordinary shipping requests.
The John F. Kennedy Airport is a highly competitive environment and therefore only being flexible and innovative when dealing with extraordinary freight distinguishes us from other companies. And sometimes even our competitors can become our customers! In particular I recall one specific story:
In 2014 one of our customers who specializes in shipping art work called me at home at 6:30 in the evening. Receiving calls after normal working hours while cooking dinner or helping my children with their homework might seem unusual – but this appears to be a quite normal situation for an Outside Sales Representative in the JFK area. This time however, it was a panic, urgent call from the CEO of the art shipping company himself, advising me that he had a huge sculpture that needed to be in Vienna the next morning for an exhibition.
You can look at beautiful paintings, sculptures and art installations around the world. But how do these pieces actually reach every single museum? Well, one way is by airfreight!
For me it was immediately clear that this is a very challenging request because of its high urgency but also a chance to position us as a premium service provider. Unfortunately my handling team firstly refused to accept this cargo because our customer missed the cut off time by 15 minutes. So I put my dinner on hold and began to make some phone calls. And phone calls. And some more phone calls. We had to try all possibilities to get this sculpture on the flight. Our customer also promised to support Lufthansa Cargo with all major art shows for the next two years if we make this happen for him. After several calls and finally reaching the supervisor on duty, our handling team was able to make an exception to the process. They accepted the cargo and drove the 35 kilo shipment to the passenger terminal so it could be loaded onto the requested flight. We made it! Our customer was very satisfied with our efforts and the precious sculpture made it just in time to the exhibition in Vienna. And after that? Well, our customer kept his end of the bargain and has been a continuous supporter of Lufthansa Cargo until today.
Going the extra mile for our customers usually brings great results and is rewarded by their satisfaction and a sustainable customer relationship. It’s the Lufthansa Cargo way – we make the impossible possible!