Oliver Evans’ Strategies for Success in 2015
Mr. Oliver Evans, Chief Cargo Officer at Swiss International Air Lines (SWISS), has been with the company for more than 12 years now, so he’s seen the air freight industry go through a number of ups and downs. Carriers have been through a lot these past few years, from the global recession and falling rates to exciting new technology and emerging markets. In order to succeed, industry veterans need to be ready for the fast pace of change.
According to Mr. Evans, “The world is changing so fast now. Technological development which is taking place in all kinds of different fields is transforming the way we live, the way we trade, the way we work and the way we manufacture. And all of that means changes in air freight. In the supply chain, commodities that go by sea freight are less affected, because they are generally bulk commodities. But air freight typically consists of new, next-generation products, and these are changing each and every day. They’re always inventing something new.”
New companies are also founded every day with new ideas and strategies. “For example, I first heard about Alibaba just two or three years ago. Now it just had the biggest IPO in history. These new competitors like Alibaba, Tesla and Google are overhauling things – unless people change. That’s true for automotives, electronics, pharmaceuticals, and it’s also true for our business. Today some of our major competitors are companies based in the Middle East that were practically unknown a decade or two ago.
“We have to change our mindsets. We have to look much further ahead than just next year. I’m interested in seeing how our teams are learning to adapt and be flexible and nimble in this rapidly changing market, and how they are imagining the services that we will need to be successful in the future. We want to be one of the ones who profit from the fast-changing environment,” explains Mr. Evans.
Since SWISS was formed from the old Swiss Air, the carrier has established a clear vision and corporate strategy. Mr. Evans says, “When we created the new SWISS, we asked ourselves what we wanted to become. We decided that we don’t want to become a giant of the industry. We want to be the best in specific care-intensive market segments, and that’s what we aim to do with temperature-sensitive goods, valuable goods, express goods, and now e-commerce. We want to be customers’ number one choice in those segments. We want to be a profitable, healthy and adaptable company – and we’re doing it. Switzerland is a relatively small country, and our network is of a certain size, but we’re growing profitably and healthily. But we’re still a small company in comparison to the overall market, which is a great position to be in, because we can focus on providing true added value to our customers. That’s what we’ve chosen to do.”