The Airships are Coming – Global Supply Chain Interview Series

Read the full transcript from Brian Cartwright’s interview with with Julian Benscher, President, Skyship Services (First published April 2018 in Global Supply Chain Magazine)

Brian Cartwright, Managing Director, Top Management Resources Group:

Airships are coming back in a big way and will certainly be a major disruptor to the traditional modes of Air, Sea, and Land transport. Airship technology really captured my interest around three years ago when I first read about the ongoing development of hybrid airships by companies such as Lockheed Martin and Hybrid Air Vehicles. Since then I have been actively supporting the growth of the sector in region and am now working closely with the regions first Airship operator Airships Arabia which is based in Dubai World Central.

It was through my involvement with Airships Arabia that I recently had the privilege of meeting Julian Benscher who is one of the world’s leading lighter-than-air businessmen, the son of a former European tycoon, he’s a man of many talents who I was also surprised to learn was one of the main investors and creators of boy band the Backstreet Boys.

Julian has been involved in Airships for over 30 years, he is the President of Skyship Services a US based company which owns and operates a fleet of Skyship 600’s, the world’s largest conventional Airship containing 666,000 cubic metre of helium and a 61-metre-long Airship.

As Julian is one of the key people in the world of Airships across the globe I took the opportunity to pick his brains about Airship technology in general and in particular its application for the Logistics sector.

What would be the main advantage for using Airships in Logistics over other modes of transporting cargo?

When we talk about Airships in Logistics a major advantage is the ability to be able to take off and land without the need for an airstrip which is a potential game changer for delivering cargo to remote locations.

Is the ability to lift heavy cargo in an Airship as simple as it appears to be?

Airships are deceptively complicated; their structure and physical attributes conceal some extraordinary complexities which must be considered.

Most of the volume of the airship envelope consists of helium which is inert and therefore safe and the second lightest lifting gas which is available, hydrogen being the first with its inherent problems. Consequently, one has to consider the changes in atmospheric pressure that cause the helium to expand and contract and as such the envelope has ballonet fitted in the front and rear of the envelope. These ballonets enable air to be drawn within them and released from them to counter the expansion and contraction of helium.

A second but related issue, when considering cargo is how one compensates for the weight of the load that would be added and removed from the Airship. These issues are simple to articulate but a solution for a commercially viable Airship has taken huge investment and scientific innovation and endeavor to become a realizable possibility. Both Lockheed Martin and Hybrid Air Vehicles have made huge strides in this space and expect to have certified cargo Airships operational within the next few years.

How do you see the Airships industry developing in the Middle East?

Airships are coming to the region far sooner than many people think. One of our very own Skyship 600’s will be operational in the UAE in the second half of 2018 and will be operated by Skyship Services in conjunction with Airships Arabia.

Initial use of Airships in the Middle East will be focused around surveillance, tourism and advertising, but more importantly the operation will provide valuable Airship experience to the Airships Arabia team and the regional certification authorities.

The hybrids are expected to be operating in the region by 2021 and will be suited to carrying high volumes of cargo. The initial Lockheed Martin model is forecast to have a payload of 20 tonnes and Airlander is working on a 12-ton unit with future versions expected to carry 75 tonnes.

What do you think are the main obstacles the Airships industry will need to overcome in this region?

The Skyship 600 is the largest twin engine certified non-rigid Airship in the world today, by bringing this Airship to the UAE with Airships Arabia now it is hoped that we will overcome any regulatory obstacles by familiarizing the regional authorities with what we do. The current absence of specific regulations pertaining to Airships is because there have never been manned Airships in the Middle East. The Skyship had to undergo the same rigorous certification process as any twin-engine aircraft, and the cargo airships will have to comply with the same rigorous certification process. Once certification is achieved the remaining hurdles are to ensure that the Airship’s and their operators follow local rules and regulations in much the same way as any certified aircraft and its operator that wishes to operate in the region.

How will Airships compare in terms of time and cost Vs cargo planes?

The time and cost resulting from the ability to operate to and from unprepared sites, including water, will be significant and is a game changer

They are also significantly more efficient in terms of cost to operate for example the Airlander 10 hybrid airship has a fuel burn rate of less than 500kg per flight hour, compared to say a 737 which burns 2,300kg of fuel per flight hour. Even the fuel per km comparison shows the Airlander 10 at less than ¼ of the fuel burn of a 737.

 For those who don’t already know can you explain the difference between Conventional Airships and Hybrid Airships?

Conventional Airships such as the Skyship 600 only derive lift from the Helium gas inside the envelope whereas hybrids derive lift from a combination of helium gas, forward motion generating lift from the hybrid airship’s lifting body hull shape and from vectored engine thrust.

Brian Cartwright, Managing Director of Top Management Resources Group (TMR Group), is well known throughout the international Supply Chain & Logistics sector as a focused and highly proactive business leader, mentor, and thought leader. He has partnered with Global Supply Chain magazine to run a series of exclusive interviews with senior executives to uncover the facts and provide real time insight on what’s happening in Supply Chain & Logistics sector across the region.

Read the full magazine

How TruKKer.ae is disrupting the goods transport sector – Global Supply Chain Interview Series

Read the full transcript from Brian Cartwright’s interview with with Gaurav Biswas, CEO, TruKKer.ae (First published September 2017 in Global Supply Chain Magazine)

Read the full transcript from Brian Cartwright’s interview with with Gaurav Biswas, CEO, TruKKer.ae (First published September 2017 in Global Supply Chain Magazine)

Brian Cartwright, Managing Director, Top Management Resources Group:

My latest interview is with Dubai based entrepreneur Gaurav Biswas CEO of Trukker.ae, a logistics technology start-up which commenced operations in the UAE in October 2016 and have already witnessed over 1600% growth in nine months. Very impressive numbers indeed! So what’s it all about?

 TruKKer is basically a web and app based truck aggregator, or simply put; an UBER for trucks. It integrates the available trucks in the market and makes them visible in real time so that users can find and book a truck online immediately in a highly transparent way with instant quotes given and 100% traceable trucks.

The service is being used by logistics service providers who need additional trucks at short notice or on a temporary basis in line with increased demand and also by individuals for entire house moves or simply to move a large item from A to B.

 What would you say is a key reason behind your tremendous growth so early on?  

I think a major contributor to our success has been the product features that users can really benefit from: ease of booking our services via the app or online, and the ability to track where their consignment is while in transit. We allow users who want to book a truck with us to complete the process in less than 3 minutes. They also have a lot of options as we aggregate everything from 1-ton pick-ups to 40 foot trailers.

How do you think a truck aggregator like TruKKer is solving existing goods transportation problems?

In the road transport industry, there is uncertainty of truck availability as visibility is not transparent which creates price uncertainty and hence and absence of standard rates. There is also a huge counter-party risk plus the hassle of unorganized vendors.

There are also counter-party risks of dealing with unknown parties when customer and transporter deal with each other for the first time with absence of past track record and service standards.

Most small and medium sized vendors have poor organization skills and available documentation – including ability to provide invoices or email transaction records.

TruKKer is addressing a real industry problem. Finding a truck that is reliable and secure is an issue faced by both individuals and business drivers – and TruKKer solves that.

Aside from having access to additional trucks at short notice how else could you see the logistics sector benefitting from using Trukker?

A good example would be better utilisation of trucks in the country overall which would not only save cost but would help reduce congestion and potentially reduce emissions. A specific example would be where many trucks from different companies are being sent to deliver or remove items from a major construction site. Company A might be sending a truck there to offload and return empty. Company B might be sending an empty truck to the site to collect goods. If both companies had checked Trukker.ae they might have seen a possibility to use the same truck and reduce cost and save time whilst also keeping another of their trucks free.

How are transporters being affected by the disruption TruKKer brings into the goods transport sector?

TruKKer is upgrading the individual truck operator/driver with advanced trainings in technology, customer interface and health & safety which is improving their potential to offer better services and increase their efficiencies. The drivers are now benefitting from certainty of earnings and are focused on doing a good job of transportation instead of investing their time and energy in to unorganized means of obtaining business.

What are your goals for the next 12 months?

The cross-border movements are next in line in our agenda. We have already started testing the service, including port movement operations. In the next nine to twelve months, we would also expand across the region. We are targeting an entry in Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, and Oman. By the end of this year, we should be in Saudi.

Brian Cartwright, Managing Director of the Top Management Resources Group (TMR Group), is well known throughout the international Supply Chain & Logistics sector as a focused and highly proactive business leader, mentor, and thought leader. He has partnered with Global Supply Chain magazine to run a series of exclusive interviews with senior executives to uncover the facts and provide real time insight on what’s happening in the Supply Chain & Logistics sector across the region.

Read the full magazine

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A breath of fresh air.

Some of you will have read an article I wrote a long time back discussing whether the office environment had a big part to play in an organizations ability to attract, engage and retain employee’s. Today I have had another thought about office environment which I want to share but please bear with me as this is a bit off the wall (you can find my original article here by the way > http://www.globallogisticsmedia.com/articles/view/the-future-is-now).

I have a team of A/C sanitizers at my house today deep cleaning all of the ducts because a dirty A/C system is a major health concern. Dirty ducts =  breeding ground for mold and bacteria  = increased chance of sickness (viruses – flu / colds… or worse etc etc) =  time off work…. which I could do without right now with so many conferences and exhibitions to attend over the next few weeks, and that’s exactly why this is relevant to “The People Supply Chain”  

Imagine an organization which (as part of positioning their brand as an employer of choice) cares about their employees enough that they go one step further than just improving the look and feel of their office’s.

Have you ever seen an employer shouting about the air quality in their offices?

“Join XXXXXX LTD we guarantee you will breathe the cleanest air throughout your working day” (I am talking about white collar offices in countries where A/C is required of course)

I say this tongue in cheek as it probably sounds a bit daft on the face of it but actually there cant be many more things which are important to a person than the quality of the air they breathe, and lets not forget a major key to success in winning the war for talent is about positively differentiating your organization from your competitors in any possible way you can think of.

Maybe I have just been sold on the importance of proper A/C sanitization, but I am not taking any chances and neither should you.

Whose responsibility should this really be in an organization? QHSSE, Facilities Mgr, GM, Directors…HR?

Just as a holistic approach was taken with Supply Chain management the same holistic approach must be applied to “The People Supply Chain” as things like this affect everyone. My A/C duct cleaning example is just a drop in the ocean when you consider all possible areas of an organization which directly or indirectly affect employees

I think it’s apt that i finish with A/C in mind, so here’s my final thought….

“Protect your workforce, become an even more attractive employer, reduce sickness, and stay productive…. clean those dirty ducts!”

ac

Click HERE for some light viewing about why you should sanitize your A/C for those of you who are interested ; )

 

PS: this is just an observation its not intended as a sales pitch… (although it would have been a very good one!)


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I’m giving you a blank cheque!

There’s a story behind this one, so bear with me…

A couple of years ago a business partner and I we’re running a workshop in Doha for IATA’s world cargo symposium which was attended by an audience of  “future air cargo executives” the next generation of leaders.

Some of the worlds most important people in air cargo were sitting in the room that day as these are the people who are going to be running the sector in the years to come.

In order to deliver the workshop so it would be best received by this particular generation (See Education… Aligned.) we decided to run a forum using snap polls (a simple show of hands), encouraging some lively discussion along the way.

After debating a range of topics we eventually came to the subject of continuing education and personal development.

We asked for people to raise their hands if they had worked towards a formal degree qualification over the past 12 months.

About half the room shot their hands up.

We then asked who had taken part in any soft skills training in the last 12 months…  just two or three hands popped up.

Ok… so its evident (for whatever reason) that soft skills weren’t at the top of the training agenda.

We were now warming up to the killer question.

“If we gave you a blank cheque that you can use to pay for either a degree course or soft skills training… which would you choose?”.

$$$ Degree or Soft Skills? $$$
$$$ Degree or Soft Skills? $$$

Silence… for a few minutes, then discussion backwards and forwards, the room is divided… and with a final show of hands its a 50/50 split (I guess if you were personally very aware of a soft skill area where you would like to improve then you would be one of the soft skills choosers).

Their was clearly a demand for soft skills training in the room which hadn’t been identified by their employers (remember only 2-3 people had raised their hands earlier).

So is it more important to pay for the degree or better to fine tune your soft skills?

Well if you want to be leading people and growing a business and if you are going to be one of the future senior executives in an industry then you are definitely going to benefit from having highly mastered soft skills.

Ah but hang on though, will you ever get those opportunities without the degree? Could you handle a senior executive post without the hard skills gained whilst getting a degree?

Would qualification by experience also be enough instead of a degree?

There is no real right or wrong answer here as too many different factors are involved, but I would add that in a challenging jobs market you need to have as many strings to your bow as possible to give you the edge on your competition.

If you have the means and ability to get a degree then you should do it…. but also keep on honing those soft skills!

Education… Aligned.

Advances in technology and workplace culture and environment are changing faster than ever before.

Education needs to be better aligned to suit each generation, and this comes down to understanding what makes each generation tick.

The gap in experience between generations is vast and we cannot afford to lose the skills and experience of the mature and experienced professionals or we are facing disaster. With this in mind each generation must be provided for in a flexible way which appeals to their differing learning styles.

The Gen-Y’s (Millennials) should be accommodated  for with their technological and flexibility requirements with online & apps based training, brainstorming, group workshops etc.

For the baby boomers and previous generations classroom based learning may prove more effective.

In my opinion, we must understand that today’s workplace has people working together with vastly differing age ranges, values and experience. One solution which is slowly being adopted by a growing number of organizations is training on generational awareness in order to create a better understanding and more effective internal communication. It’s time to get savvy and adopt technology, build creative brand energy, and be open to new ideas.


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Generation workspace. Out with the old and in with the new…

The increasing influence of the millennial generation within the workplace with their significantly differing needs and expectations to any previous generation before them is driving a step change in how we view the world of work these days.

But what about the physical working environment? Does it have a big part to play in how your organisation and brand is viewed by future and existing employees, and by your customers?

Can your office environment impact your ability to attract and retain talent as well as encourage creativity and productivity in the work place, and can the environment contribute positively to your organisation being a better or great place to work?

I bet we can all identify areas where we can improve our physical working environments to encourage greater levels of engagement, motivation and enjoyment, enhancing the image and presentation of our businesses and our industry as a whole.

Imagine you walk into an office to be greeted by a place filled with nooks and crannies – creative work spaces, themed breakout rooms where you can take a seat (or a giant bean bag) and work from your tablet, glass partitions that can be used as wall to wall white boards, strategically located smart boards with blu-tooth connectivity, modern ergonomic furniture, stylish yet highly functional hot desks / workstations and seating that provide an escape from traditional environments.

Ignore Convention....
Ignore Convention….

Well lit interiors and motivational words adorning the walls, company values written not in the usual plaque or square sign on transparent perspex format, now they are vinyl prints shooting across the walls with flashy writing and jazzy colours spelling out just who you are and what you stand for.

Why is it the likes of the Google’s and the Facebook’s are constantly catching the headlines with their impression of what a modern working environment looks like?

The answer is simple; They were bold enough to ignore convention and just go ahead and do it!


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