Meet BFS’ New Director of Cargo

Determination and grit are key driving factors behind great successes. Life is a marathon, not a sprint. If you keep running and learning along the way, life will often reward you.

This can be seen by the success of Mr. Pinij Nantawannakul, the new director of Cargo at Bangkok Flight Services (BFS), one of the ground handling company service at Suvarnabhumi Airport. Armed with the determination to learn and further his knowledge in airfreight industry, Mr. Nantawannakul continued determination throughout his career has been rewarded by what he has sowed.

Bangkok Flight Services (BFS) is a joint venture between Bangkok Airways and Worldwide Flight Services (WFS), one of the world’s leading cargo handling companies. Mr. Nantawannakul has been working with BFS since day one, when the company first bid to put a warehouse on the property at the airport. This experience has not only allowed him to see the development and improvement of BFS first-hand, but also allowed him the see the vision and direction that BFS should take going forward.

Work with Passion

Mr. Pinij Nantawannakul

When we love something, in the end, life will eventually bring us back to what we love. This perfectly describes the path that brought Mr. Nantawannakul to his current position. With a passion and love for aviation since he was a child, Mr. Nantawannakul decided to work in the environment that he belongs in, and that is to work with airlines. He has worked in other industries, like hospitality, games and entertainment and jewelry. But eventually, his love and opportunity brought him back to where his true passions lie.

Mr. Nantawannakul said that, “My first opportunity in the aviation industry was working with Bangkok Airways. At that time, my responsibilities were to take care of VIP customers and checking-in guests. That was when I met Dr. Prasert Prasarttong-Osoth, CEO of the airline. After collecting experiences in this field, I decided to explore the world and extend my perspective by working in other industries. But when you love something, chances are you will eventually be drawn back to it, so I decided to work with the airline again.”

With his outstanding work ethic and performance, Dr. Prasert persuaded Mr. Nantawannaku to come back and work with Bangkok Airways (BA). “In 2000, I had a chance to come back and work with the airline. At that time, I was based at Don Muang Airport. That was the first time BA bought a Boeing 717 which had more belly-hold capacity. The chairman believed more efficient and modern aircraft would help lift the capacity of the airline. The chairman originally appointed me to work at the cargo warehouse. Before this, I hadn’t worked on the cargo side before, and I admit that I was afraid to take the position. The chairman spoke to me, and what he said drove and inspired me to take the jump. He said, that in all your previous jobs you didn’t have any experience either, but still you could perform well, and that there was no reason that you couldn’t learn and start from zero. That’s why I was so enthusiastic and eager to learn as much as I could. I would like to thank Bangkok Airways for giving me the opportunity and see my potential. After six great years working with Bangkok Airways, the airline decided to form a joint venture with WFS at Suvarnabhumi airport. So, I had an opportunity to learn the warehouse operations side as well, and that’s when I started working with BFS.”

Even though Mr. Nantawannaku was faced with challenges and pressures in his new position, he never gave up. “When I started working with BFS, I began by learning all the new processes and operations. Fortunately, I love to learn and study new things, and I learned quickly. I began by researching everything dealing with the legalities involved in the cargo side, and learned about the innerworkings of the industry and by talking with our clients. Everyone in the industry who has knowledge and experiences I consider my mentor,” he said.

As a result of starting from scratch, Mr. Nantawannaku learned every step and every detail of the processes involved at BFS, including laws and regulations. By working with the company since day one, it allowed him to better understand and see the progress and successes BFS has achieved. “One thing that BFS always believes in is to work by the rules. Every working process is based on international standards. However, we still have flexibility and an open-mind to listen to our clients’ requests. If a customer has any opinions or suggestions for improvement, we’re gladly willing and ready to listen.”

“For BFS, we talk with freight forwarders and TAFA as well, to share our opinions and update information in the industry. There have been times when we’ve changed work processes. For example, in the past we would allow shippers to deliver cargo to our warehouse 48 hours plus scheduled time of departure (STD). But our warehouse was built as turnover warehouse, which suits cargo that goes in and out quickly. It’s not for storage, so when there’s too much cargo in the warehouse, we are likely run out of space. We decided to talk with TAFA and explained the situation to them and compromised that would it be better if we reduce the duration from 48 to 24 hours instead, as the airline would send the load plan to us 12 hours prior. After adapting, the workflow is much more efficient, and we can help to reduce bottlenecks in the warehouse, helping processes move faster, which in in the end is good for everyone involved. Every part of the supply chain affects the other, both positively and negatively. BFS is one part of the chain, and that’s why we try our best to do our part and evaluate our standards.”

Build a Strong Team

After being appointed with his new position, Mr. Nantawannakul didn’t only want to evaluate the services and be open to new comments, but also wanted to share his knowledge, and lift BFS’ staff to be stronger. “I want BFS to have a strong team that can support each other and deliver unbeatable services to customers. Mr. David Ambridge, who is the former general manager before me, has built a strong foundation and unrivalled standards. What we need to admire and respect with him, is his determination and his aim to push this business forward. I wished that I could have learned more from him as well. In my new position, I’m aiming to learn and achieve more and pass my experiences and knowledge with my staff.”

“At BFS, we don’t just focus only on productivity, but I would like to mentor a strong team. Everyone can learn and improve themselves. It just depends on their willingness and how much they care. The knowledge is not limited to the job title. That is an important factor we are trying to build within our organization. We would like to have a staff who are enthusiastic and willing to learn and perform strongly in our organization.”

“At BFS, we are determined to move forward. We not only look to maintain a high quality of service, but also aim to develop and improve our level of productivity. We’ve invested in state-of-the-art machines and equipment to help with our goals. For the past 11 years, we have been improving and developing our working processes. In the future, we are planning to maximize our capacity even further. In 2018, our goal is to widen our services to offer airlines an increased potential to handle more cargo.”

Speaking about Mr. Natawannaku’s new position, Mr. Stewart Sinclair, Managing Director – ‎Bangkok Flight Services said, “PJ has worked for BFS since the very beginning when we were setting up the Company and it is a great pleasure to have seen him evolve and develop as a senior manager within BFS and we fully support him taking over more responsibility as Operations Director. PJ will bring his own style and flair to BFS Cargo and it is a real credit to him that he was the obvious choice to take over this role, we look forward to PJ taking BFS Cargo forward and to further develop our reputation for quality and consistent service.”

From never giving up, keeping high standards and showing love in the organization are core values which drive Mr. Nantawannakul to work hard every day. He doesn’t only hold these values by himself, but also influences staff in the team as well. “BFS has given me a lot of opportunities, and from that, I would like to pass on and give opportunities to my staff as well. Also, I would like to be a motivation for everyone in the organization. I love BFS as this is my home and this is what I want my staff to believe as well.”