BFS Continues Improving their Services for the Excellent Support of Customers
‘Maintaining high-quality, enhancing services and taking care of customers are the keys to keeping an organization competitive and leads to more trust from current and new customers.’
This concept is one of the key factors that has made Bangkok Flight Services (BFS) a leading service provider at Suvarnabhumi Airport. This shows in the fact that the company has maintained its customer base and grown steadily year-on-year for more than ten years.
Bangkok Flight Services is a joint venture between Worldwide Flight Services and Bangkok Airways, providing a range of cargo handling services. Currently, BFS is able to handle up to four hundred thousand tons of cargo per year, and despite their strong service offerings, the company has not stopped developing new tools and services. Last year, the company purchased and installed additional cutting-edge tools and equipment to increase cargo capacity and to provide more effective services for customers.
We spoke with Mr. Pinij Nantawannakul, Director of Cargo Operations; and Ms. Jureerat Surawek, Manager – Cargo Operations, to discuss further BFS’ plans going forward and how they will continue to drive development and growth.
Never Stop Improving
For more than a decade, BFS has been operating inside Suvarnabhumi Airport. Their strong growth now however means that their operating area is close to its defined capacity. In order to expand their ability to serve customers, BFS is investing into new equipment and tools to be able to handle more cargo. Mr. Nantawannakul said, “In 2017, we ordered modern shelving to expand the cargo area. Since we have limitations on expanding space horizontally, we decided to do it vertically instead. The ASRS (Automated Storage Retrieval System) is a new piece of equipment that operates automatically. The staff only need to put cargo in a steel container attached with a barcode. The machine will take care of the rest and automatically keep it on an organized shelf. Once the construction is complete, we will be able to accommodate 470,000 tons of cargo each year, resulting in increased capacity and services to new and existing customers.”
In addition to ASRS, BFS also installed another type of shelving to accommodate a variety of cargo. Ms. Surawek said, “Our warehouse can handle small, medium and large sized cargo. To cover all kinds of goods, we ordered VCS (Vertical Carousel System) shelves for small parcels. The machine has a safety sensor for easier storage and enhances the speed and accuracy of the operation.”
Making Processes Faster and More Efficient
Apart from investing in storage equipment, BFS has purchased other tools to help speed up their processes. “In addition to the storage equipment, we have installed an Automatic Dimension Scanner to measure the volume of cargo and automatically calculate volumetric weight. Previously, we had to measure the size of cargo by hand and calculate all of this manually. This new equipment is more convenient, accurate and faster for our entire operation. At the present time, it is installed in both the general cargo and perishable area in the temperature-controlled room,” Ms. Surawek said.
“We have also installed a new PMS (Performance Monitoring System), a program we have developed to display important status updates both inside and in front of the warehouse to raise awareness as well as to give everyone advanced notice of any delayed shipments or things that need urgent attention. The implementation of this advanced notification tool has been beneficial to all parties. The carrier knows the flight number and the scheduled departure time of each airline, and the staff can see the operations of each flight step-by-step. It helps manage time more effectively.”
The PMS system enables transparency by showing the remaining time of the flight, which helps staff to better prepare. Mr. Nantawannakul said, “The PMS system always reminds you whether important steps go as planned or not. There are three colors for the alert status. Green indicates that everything is in accordance with the procedure and plan. If it is yellow, it means some processes are slowed down. The shift manager will then be able to check and resolve any issue before they become a big problem. And the red color shows that the procedure is being completed much slower than scheduled. All status displayed on the screen is in real-time. If any step is red, there must be an answer, whether it is caused by the customer or our own organization. If the issue is coming from us, we must find out the reason why it is delayed so we can fix it. We accept that our operation is not 100% perfect, but we must be able to know when mistakes occur and how they happened. We can then better evaluate and find solutions to prevent the same mistake from happening again. We have to be honest with ourselves, and this system helps us to continuously improve.”
Applying Global Standards
In addition to cutting-edge equipment, BFS has also modernized its workflow. BFS as always been one of the top organizations in Thailand supporting the EAWB (Electronic Airway Bill) initiative. Mr. Nantawannakul said, “We have seen a better response from EAWB usage with 20% higher results compared to last year. It’s a good sign reflecting that users are prioritizing this matter and are seeing the benefits clearly. Using EAWB reduces data errors, speeds up the delivery of documents, reduces paper usage and enables storage systems to be more efficient.”
BFS also mentioned how their warehouses comply with international standards and safety regulations. “We have worked to make sure our warehouses adhere to strict international standards. For instance, we screen everyone, and only authorized personnel can access the warehouses. Moreover, this year we have started the process of improving our cooling rooms to obtain the EU GDP (Good Distribution Practice) certificate. We have even adjusted the building structure itself to meet these strict standards required for true GDP certification,” Mr. Nantawannakul said.
Caring is Key
Speaking about a key to the success of the organization, Mr. Nantawannakul said, “At BFS, we have always aimed high. We strive to continually improve and maintain the quality of our services. We care and pay close attention to all our customers. In addition to providing reliable services, we also offer alternatives, and we are willing to help and give advice as much as we can. We attempt to develop our services and build trust with our customers because we realize keeping customer’s satisfied builds loyalty. Even though our service is already at a great level, we are still finding new ways to improve, and we are ready to adapt.”
Ms. Surawek said, “Every time we modify or change any process or services, we invite our customers and stakeholders to hear it from us directly. This is an opportunity for them to ask and exchange ideas. It is two-way street, and communication between both parties is extremely important. This dialogue helps customers visualize and understand the reasons why things may change.”
Apart from close communication with customers and stakeholders, an important aspect that should not be overlooked is keeping good relationships with personnel inside the organization. This is the key to accomplishing any operation. Mr. Nantawannakul said, “At BFS, we take care of our customers and our employees as well. Developing only technology or equipment cannot bring us to the top if our staff still has to work in a bad environment. So, we focus on making sure staff have enough leisure time and at work we have laborsaving equipment and create a positive work environment. Furthermore, our organization is always open to listening to the needs of our staff. We’ve created an organizational culture where executives and managers are accessible. We let our employees discuss and report any issues freely that they are facing.”
“Every morning, at least one of our executives visits and monitors the operation in the warehouses. Any staff member can speak up about any issue they see. Once we know of the issue, we will process and correct it. We created a workplace like this because we understand that employees are the driving force of this organization. We value everyone and if we want them to work with us for a long time, we must work with them at a heart-to-heart level.”
This is the 12th year this leading ground handling company has been in operation. However, the company has not stopped working, developing and looking for new ways to upgrade their processes to improve all workflows; while still keeping a focus on customers and staff. We will have to keep an eye on the future advancements this leading company will develop and integrate into their award winning organization in the near future.