Nippon Cargo Airlines will go livewith iCargo, the new generation cargosystem being developed by IBS, by theend of year, and Larry Mays, seniorvice president cargo for IBS, says heis very hopeful that the other carrierswho have advised on the developmentof the system, will also adopt it.
Apart from NCA, the other airlinesin IBS’ so-called Core Group of Influenceare Qantas, Air New Zealand,South African Airways,Gulf Air and Australian AirExpress. "We are finalising negotiationswith them and hopethey will commit," says Mays. "They are talking like they are committed, but of course what matters is the contract."
He insists that now "every carrier is looking to change their legacy systems. The reason they have not done it before is that they have had nothing to change to. Previously they have just been offered systems with revenue management modules bolted on. We offer a completely integrated solution."
iCargo also comes in a stripped down version – iCargoLite, which wasformerly known as Smart Cargo. Thishas been bought by Northern Air Cargoand CargoJet in North America andAvient Airlines in the UK. In addition,IBS has now launched an intermediateproduct, called iCargoLite+, which isaimed at combination carriers withannual cargo revenues of $50-600million.
iCargo contains four modules – thebasic operational functionality, capacitymanagement, revenue and accounting,and integration to the supply chain.
NCA will go live with the first twoinitially. The application is availablefor carriers to purchase and run themselves,or it can be hosted by IBM, orhosted by IBS at its headquarters inIndia. So far all customershave chosen to purchaseoutright, Mays says.
IBS is also talking toNorth American and Europeancarriers about iCargo,but Mays says they are beingmore cautious than theirAsian counterparts. "Theywant to see the NCA projectup and running before theycommit," he admits.
At the World Air CargoForum in Dubai inFebruary, Mays madea speech calling for cargo IT departmentsto make strong return on investmentcases to their boards. "Why is thatwe constantly upgrade our aircraft toget more efficiency, but with IT systemsthe attitude seems to be to try andsqueeze more life out of it?" he askeddelegates.
He reckons that iCargo should payfor itself within three years in the averagecustomer, through cost reductions,less staff training, better customer retention,new product innovation, andlower claims.