How to Improve the Delivery Accuracy in the Cargo Handling

By Magnus Cohen – Luleå Tekniska Universitet

The main business for airfreight companies is to deliver shipments rapidly, punctually, and with the highest quality possible. Lufthansa has established a delivery accuracy rate of 98%, which means that 98% of all shipments shall arrive on time. To date, the SAS Cargo terminal at Gardermoen, which handles Lufthansa Cargo’s shipments, has not achieved this level of accuracy. Therefore, the purpose of this thesis is to document and demonstrate the current shipment handling flow by utilizing flowcharts, to monitor the flow of information, to identify areas with critical problems, and finally, to propose a plan for improvements.

The Business Proces Reengineering Method (BPR), has been utilized as a guide to structure the work. The information was gathered with assistance of existing SAS flowcharts, observations of the actual handling flow, personal interviews and statistics from the Lufthansa IT system. The information was analyzed with existing theories as problem areas were identified. The general factors isolated in the terminal that decreased delivery accuracy were: decreased numbers of available staff, low motivation and insufficient training of the employees, and inefficient communication between the terminal departments.

Three areas with the highest deviation from the 98% accuracy goal were the shipment acceptance area, shipment check-in area and the document check-in area. Of these three areas, the shipment check-in area was selected for further in-depth analysis using the BPR selection criteria. The investigation revealed that the information collected from the IT system was insufficient and superficial. In addition, there is no visible priority system which makes it possible to identify urgent shipments ; thus impairing our ability to fully understand and analyze the factors responsible for delays that may hinder overall performance.

The primary conclusion obtained from this study reveals that LHC and SAS Cargo do not have a systematic collection of information for identifying underlying problems and their causes. It is therefore recommended that a structured approach to collect and analyze the missing information is conducted by using a seven step method. This method provides an adaptive flexibility by employing different tools and different methods as they are needed in each step.

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