Cargolux Optimizes Workflow and Improves Customer Service with Microsoft Azure
To increase the efficiency of their operations and improve customer satisfaction, all-cargo airline Cargolux asked Codit to help transform and optimize their processes through Azure Integration Services.
- Solutions in this case
Cargolux is an international all-cargo airline company based in Luxembourg. In 2018, they made the decision to offload their IT infrastructure back to Cargolux itself and into Azure, where various lines of business applications were then connected with Azure Integration Services. They also wanted to offer clients a more efficient way to manage their cargo bookings, and created a Sales platform for this purpose. This triggered a phase of work with Codit. The logical choice was to extend their current use of Azure. This would make their processes more flexible, expand their service offering, increase their “speed to market” capabilities, monitor their integration solution and ensure a better customer experience.
As an undisputed leader in air cargo, Cargolux covers everything from everyday cargo to shipments that require attention to detail, special treatment, and expert handling. Flexibility in loading and operational efficiency are key components of this. They therefore need to be constantly enhancing their service offering, making processes easier, cost-efficient, and streamlined for customers. Cargolux needed to find a way to manage their bookings within one source of truth, whilst also improving the sales platform experience for their customers. Cargolux is in a 24/7 industry, and when production stops there is an immediate impact on operations and financials, both short- and long-term. With a fleet of 30 aircraft, ground staff positioned worldwide, and a large pilot community, it is vital that everything is in the right place at the right time and that IT works. If IT fails to deliver operationally, the planes and Cargolux employees have to rely on manual procedures to take off and there is a huge ripple effect.
Cargolux decided that they needed to connect its system to a line of business applications. This would result in better, faster more robust and maintainable integrations, with added monitoring. Cargolux CTO, Fons Seesink, says that when the decision was made to move the IT infrastructure in-house, they faced the monumental task of transferring all messaging and integrations into a new, central system. Moreover, both knowledge and the means of moving such a large load were limited. A robust platform that could handle such high demand was essential to guarantee business continuity. Azure was the obvious choice for this. However, with over 100,000 messages to process per day, containing information such as what the nature of shipments, several applications would have to be integrated. This would require the help of an Azure specialist which is where Codit came in.
Codit has never come back saying something was too complicated, that they needed more time or that they didn’t have the resources. ”
The approach to the development was two-fold:
- Improve efficiency by integrating different lines of business applications.
- Implement an API layer to give the customer a better booking experience.
Codit has a deep knowledge of Azure and expertise in integration. Cargolux therefore chose Codit to implement the solution, which was Azure Integration Services with an Invictus layer on top. Invictus is Codit’s turnkey solution that helps accelerate the implementation of integration solutions via the framework, and in the visibility of the integrations via its user-friendly dashboard. According to Fons, at the time, Cargolux had limited knowledge about how to set-up and configure an Integration Solution in Azure. Together, Cargolux and Codit worked to explore and implement the large volume of messaging to be processed when moving to Azure. Designing the architecture and production line environment was a huge project requiring flexibility and agility.
The second part of the process was implementing the API layer. When a customer makes a booking for a specific flight, information is gathered to determine the type of cargo (volume, weight and content). The data is then sent to the external API and a booking can be made in the customer portal. This external API automates and streamlines simple cargo logistics for Cargolux agents. It can also be opened up to external customers transporting recurring cargo.
This allows for flexibility and agent monitoring, before going to the customer portal where it can be managed. Cargolux can also create a direct API with individual customers, through which they can make bookings and request tailored quotes.
The final Integration and Sales API Platform solutions both ensure a cost-effective, streamlined process.
Firstly, the CMS ensures that flights are organized correctly by connecting with internal and external apps like the planning department and with third parties such as customs. Information such as staff management is taken from the applications, ensuring the correct flight capacity is allotted.
Secondly, the Sales API Platform makes it easier for connected customers to be fully in control of their booking management. When the solution first went live, the API was used only several times per week. Since the Customer Portal launched, usage has skyrocketed, with up to 700-800 bookings per week. With the workload around generic cargo lifted from Cargolux agents, they can focus on the more “complex cargo” and become more efficient.
Additionally, throughout the process Codit has educated and onboarded new people in the Cargolux team, so that they can keep the knowledge in-house and provide consistent maintenance of the environment.
Cargolux is far from finished with innovating their services. At the moment, the messages collected are stored in the Azure Data Lake, but in the future, there may be an opportunity to process this raw data into use cases. This is how the whole solution has been designed: it is future-orientated and flexible, reducing the need for costly and time-consuming adjustments in the future.
A word from the client
“We have a real partnership with Codit, where they are as engaged and onboard with the results we’re seeking as we are.”
Fons Seesink Chief Technology Officer at Cargolux
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