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Rising star - September 2012

Airline Cargo Management is celebrating young talent in the industry, and finding out what the air cargo business means to the next generation. Daniel Vogt was Nominated by John Batten, executive vice president global cargo, Swissport

What’s your job title?

Manager, cargo business intelligence, Swissport.


Do you have training/under- or post-graduate education in this area?

I have a university diploma in Business Engineering.


When and where did you start in the air cargo industry?

September 2005 at Swissport International HQ, Division Cargo.


How or why did you get into this industry?

I worked at Zurich Airport (passenger services) to finance my studies. Since I liked the industry, I then applied to work at Swissport HQ after I finished my diploma. I was offered a job in the cargo division, which is how I started in cargo.


What were your first impressions of this industry – and have they lasted?

The airline industry was always appealing to me and this hasn’t changed to date. The people working in this industry are international, open-minded and deal with different languages and cultures every day.


What interests you about air freight?

I wasn’t looking to work in the air freight sector, but came into it by coincidence. From the first day of working in this sector I was fascinated and still am. It’s a very competitive and complex business that is in a transition from the ‘good old times of airline business’ to a competitive, cost sensitive and professional one. The constant challenges in this changing environment, together with the volatility of the cargo business in general mean that my days are never boring. Since there is still a lot of potential to further professionalise this, I don’t think it will get boring in the near future.


What do you think the industry needs to be better at?

Accounting – better knowing the cost of the individual products in order to more accurately price them. In the past, rates were often ‘all-in’ rates. Today we realise that depending on the product portfolio, these all-in rates can be of great benefit for one customer but also totally unacceptable for another. Today, we should be in a better position to customise our pricing to the exact needs of the customer and charge him for what he actually wants.


Business intelligence – better understanding the mechanisms of the market and how to forecast the growth and declines of the market in the short- to mid-term (six to 12 months). In the air freight business, nobody really knows how the markets will develop in the coming months, especially in difficult times like the one we are currently in.

Management also needs better tools to analyse the performance of a company, taking into account not only financial figures but also operational, sales, human resources and market data. Building a data warehouse combining all these departments into smart KPIs (quality before quantity) would give management the tools to better understand and manage the business.


Partnerships – more and more airline services are being outsourced to the handling companies. The two parties need to work closely together to ensure optimal quality and efficiency.


Standardisation – the Iata standards are moving, but are not always moving fast enough to cope with the needs of the stakeholders involved and with the fast development of technology and the environment. Also, due to the general trend of outsourcing, the number of companies and sectors involved is increasing; these companies have to be more involved in the definition of these standards to ensure solutions that help make the whole supply chain faster, better and less costly.


Technology and innovation – the potential to further increase quality and efficiency through using technology is still huge. The use of new technology must be looked at more closely, and concepts have to be established to do so. I’m not saying every new feature has to be used, but the ones that actually bring value and are accepted by the stakeholders will bring benefits to the whole industry. This is also key to not losing business to other modes of transportation, such as sea freight.


Why do you think you have done well so far in your job?

I have always fully committed myself to the company I work for. I have worked hard and tried my best to improve the current situation. Customers, people and profitability are the three most important pillars of a company in this industry, so I have always focused on these. I’m always open-minded, flexible and result oriented.


What are you doing this week?

Creating a new market report that shows where the industry currently is and how our company is doing compared with the market.

Analysing the sales performance so far this year and calculating/forecasting what the impact of this is for the rest of the year.

I’m also working on a new market intelligence system to be rolled out soon. The aim of this is to better understand our market presence and that of our competitors.


What have you been putting off?

My other running projects that have lower priority than the ones above.


What’s your favourite part of the job?

The (international) people working in this industry. The travelling and the competitiveness of the business with the great potential to constantly improve things.


And your least favourite?

The short-term thinking of certain people in this industry. Short-term wins can often lead to long-term losses.


What are your aims for this year?

Get through the rest of this difficult year and come out stronger when the volumes start to pick-up again.


Do you expect to stay in this industry long term?

I don’t see a reason why I shouldn’t. It’s exciting, challenging and you never really know what is coming next.


If you’d like to nominate a colleague, under 40, please email the editor at

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