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People Who Move the World - Air & Surface
Air & Surface is committed to providing a personalized human touch. CargoWise One provides the tools to deliver on that promise by integrating all parts of their business, from sales and customer service to accounting and operations.

By building strong personal relationships with their customers, Air & Surface has experienced thirty years of success in the logistics industry. Now they are poised to take their next big step.

In an industry that operates on a global scale, Air & Surface Logistics knows that it’s the details that matter. While technology is integral to the success of its business, a commitment to personalized human touch lies at the heart of what it does.

Founded as a messenger company in 1984, Air & Surface grew to become a freight forwarding operation with five offices and nearly 100 employees around the United States. But, recognizing the opportunities enabled by rapidly advancing technology, President Paige Cotcamp and his father, who founded the business, spun off their messenger arm and began to focus on doing more with less.

“We decided on a non-asset based model, which was really smart for us, worked really well,” he says. “It allowed us to scale back, really focus on our business and eliminate a lot of risk.”

Size Matters

Despite only having eight full-time employees, Air & Surface Logistics is no small fry. With a worldwide network spanning 150 countries and 800 agent partners, the secret to its success has been combining the personal touch of a local family-run company with the global reach and efficiency of a massive multinational organization.

“When people come to visit us, they are always surprised at the size of the operation. They are expecting us to be much larger because it has that feel,” Cotcamp says.

“You’re not routed through an elaborate voicemail maze [when you call]. In many cases, our customers are on a first-name basis with the customer service people. That’s something that people really appreciate and want in this day and age. That’s why they come back.”

Making a small company feel like a much larger one requires the right attitude and the right technology. Cotcamp spent months researching software platforms before deciding on CargoWise One. 

“I’m an IT guy, but everybody here could see what an impediment to growth our old system had become. We were looking for a cloud-based solution that could scale up down the road. We’ve been on CargoWise One for a year and a half now and it’s worked out really well for us.”

Staying Connected

In a small operation, you can always talk to each other to quickly solve problems. But to be efficient as you grow, you need your technology to be able to do the same. 

“The system we were on before did not tie into the accounting systems,” says Accounting Manager Julie Gray. “Things could be missed or slip by. We would catch something that we didn’t bill properly for and we had to go back.”

“Nothing gets by us now because there are always checks and balances in place to make sure the costs are correct.”

Jay Rondeau from the sales team agrees. He says the complete integration of CargoWise One allows him to get stuff done and respond to problems quicker than other systems he has used in the past. “Larger organizations can be dysfunctional. Here it’s pretty much set, we can work quickly to turn on a dime if we have to.” 

Rondeau has been working with the system for less than a month but says it’s been eye-opening. “To be honest, it blows me away. A Fortune 500 company can easily use the software for all aspects of their shipping, right down to us. It’s a toolbox, completely full of all the tools you’ll ever need.”

Taking the Next Step

As the President, Cotcamp has his eyes firmly on the growth of the business. “[CargoWise One] will allow us to take the business to the next level,” he says. “We can tap an agent in from Orlando as easily as we can tap an agent in from Los Angeles. It makes it really easy to ramp up.”

Like his staff, Cotcamp takes everything in the business personally. “I come from a big business background,” he says. “Having been on both sides of the fence, I wouldn’t trade the small business aspect of it for anything in the world. I enjoy being on the front line and being able to interface with clients. Here you get to see a real live impact in real time every day. It’s a blast.”

Although the business has changed a lot in the past thirty years, a consistent commitment to personalized customer service has remained the backbone to Air & Surface Logistics’ success. And that’s one thing that will never change.

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People Who Move The World - Port Nelson
Port Nelson has been a gateway to the world for New Zealand for more than 170 years. With motivated staff working with CargoWise One, RF scanning, and the latest warehouse technology, they are now poised to take the next step forward.

Port Nelson isn’t just satisfied with facilitating the growth of the region; it wants to help drive it.

In many ways, Port Nelson is not just a business in the region, it’s the business in the region. The port was established in 1840, more than a year before the city of Nelson itself, and has now been its gateway to the world for more than 170 years. It’s a responsibility that everyone who works at the port takes very seriously.

“Port Nelson has been around a long time as part of the community, it has a real family feeling,” says Business Systems Specialist Rosie Horn. “People care about what they do and want to do a really good job.”

It was this strong culture and the integration with the local community that lured Horn back to Nelson after a number of years at another company. “[At Port Nelson,] you can look out the window and see ships being loaded and trucks going by and containers being picked up and put down and packed…there are real things happening and it has a direct impact on the region.”

Port Nelson is Australasia’s biggest seafood port and has been integral in the international success of many local industries including forestry, pip fruit (apples and pears), and, most recently, wine.

“It’s a port that’s growing because we have some fantastic regional success stories and a lot of economic investment in the region, and we benefit from that directly,” says General Manager of Business Development Eugene Beneke.

That economic investment is part of a NZ$32 million redevelopment plan that has contributed to the establishment of a new 13,000 square meter state-of-the-art storage facility opened earlier this year, another major facility, a new tugboat, and a number of other improvements that will double the port’s storage capacity over the next few years.

Beyond the infrastructure investment, Beneke attributes this growing success to two factors. “Technology is right at the forefront, along with people, for us.  We would not be able to scale up without a robust technology framework and we certainly wouldn’t be able to offer anything to our clients without a good technology platform.”

Jaron McLeod is the Operations Manager of QuayConnect, the third-party logistics (3PL) division at Port Nelson. He says the visibility and process-based efficiency that CargoWise One has enabled allows him to provide more to his customers.

“Inventory record accuracy is what we live and die by in the 3PL industry, especially as we’re custodians of millions of dollars of someone else’s product. Customers are hungry for real-time information…CargoWise allows us to have that information pushed to them, at their fingertips, without the need to come to us. That’s really powerful stuff.”

Every time a pallet is loaded or unloaded in the port, the data is captured in CargoWise One. This is thanks to hand-held and vehicle-mounted RF scanners that allow operators and managers alike to track the movement of goods in the warehouse seamlessly, without having to rely upon paper trails. 

“As far as mobility goes and RF scanners, I think they are absolutely critical if a warehouse wants to take that next jump,” says QuayConnect Operator Matthew Loach. “Having that traceability has just been absolutely the key for us. It puts us at a standard higher than everyone else because a lot of companies are just running off of Excel.”

Loach has been with QuayConnect since day one and says that the move to CargoWise One has helped him develop new skills and capabilities that can push Port Nelson forward. “Transitioning from a very heavy paper-based system to being majority digitally-based, it’s worked out really well. I can remember the days when I was walking around with a clipboard having to write down what pallets were coming in. I’ve grown as the business has grown and as CargoWise and how we are using it has grown.”

Growth — for staff, for the business, and for the region — is a powerful motivator for everyone at Port Nelson. A number of staff level initiatives give all members of the team input in the direction of the company. One such initiative, called the ASPIRE program (Accountability, Safety, Passion, Integrity and Honesty, Respect, and Excellence), has ensured a strong internal culture.

“We’ve got a lot of long-serving people at the port, they are all very helpful and very passionate about what they do, very customer focused. If we didn’t have the right people here, we wouldn’t be able to grow at the rate that we have grown,” says McCloud.

Eugene Beneke agrees. “We’re quite a high-performing business, we have to be. [But] we need to make sure as a company that we continue to grow, so the right people in the right positions will be critical to us. I think we do that by default because of our culture.”

With motivated staff working with powerful technology, QuayConnect and Port Nelson are poised to take the next step forward. Greater visibility and a focus on usage has already helped the port reduce their costs and carbon footprint significantly; by joining two complimentary supply chains together, they’ve already saved more than 1,000 truck trips per year for customers in the wine industry.

“The business model is all about utilization…technology plays such an important part in that because you need to extract what’s happened, talk about what the trends are, understand where certain pinchpoints are. CargoWise has been able to give us that. We can trace product, we can understand productivity levels and easily put together a data set or a set of metrics,” says Beneke.

As a critical part of the region’s infrastructure, Port Nelson’s success is essential to local businesses. By combining driven staff with effective use of technology, the future of Port Nelson and the region it serves looks bright.

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