Evolving With Technology
Combining its desire to work with the best technology with its willingness to complete difficult operations has been a key element in AIRSCHOTT’s success.
Since its founding in 1977, AIRSCHOTT, INC., alongside its SEASCHOTT division, has grown by focusing on providing service to the more complex and difficult of transport ventures: highly regulated and “dangerous” goods, oversized and over-weight shipments, and high-value merchandise.
While a crowd of companies chase a handful of businesses they perceive to be big and lucrative, AIRSCHOTT has gone after businesses that require more expertise in handling their unique air cargo while SEASCHOTT serves the same as an Ocean Transport Intermediary. “Many folks in the industry look at the kinds of jobs we handle and say, ‘you know, moving that freight is a little too tough, so let’s find something easy and we can compete with low prices,’” says Robert Schott, founder and President of the Washington Dulles-based company. “Our approach is to go after those tough jobs, and compete on service.”
Both divisions have found great success in going after the work that other customs brokers seem to try to avoid, both nationally and internationally. “We take great pride in getting the impossible jobs done efficiently. The key to doing so is taking a cerebral approach to the process. We read the pertinent regulations and laws, we communicate clearly, and we follow through on our efforts.”
One of AIRSCHOTT’s key strategies has been to anticipate and adapt to industry changes and find the most advanced ways to meet customs regulations and compliance requirements. “We have continually evolved as quickly as technology allows us, and we embrace the latest and greatest tools of the trade.“
When we started 37 years ago, I used to drive my Volkswagen Rabbit to Dulles Airport, pick up documents at the airline, sit in the back seat, and type up Immediate Delivery forms on my manual, portable typewriter,” recalls Schott. “As technology improved, I bought my first portable computer, with the little six-inch screen and fold-down keyboard. It weighed about forty pounds.”
With the advent of cloud-based computing and data storage, AIRSCHOTT was hesitant about making the move. However, it considered the unique nature of its clients’ needs. “They place a high priority on data security and availability,” says Schott. “We have always maintained our software and data in-house on our own servers, feeling that no one would keep our client data as secure as we could. We had been told that WiseCloud offered better data security and application reliability, but we were skeptical at first that a cloud solution was right for our business.”
After doing some research, Robert Schott paid a visit to WiseTech Global headquarters in Sydney, Australia. “We met the people behind the company and the products, and we were impressed with the seriousness of the people there, the corporate philosophy, and the interaction between management and staff,” he says. “We saw the high priority and attention given to both innovation and security, and from there we were confident our client data would be as secure as we have kept it on our local servers, perhaps even more so.
“After witnessing WiseCloud in action, I went to our clients and said, ‘Our move to the cloud is economy driven. It’s the most efficient way to do what we do. We’re going to make this move,’ and the response was overwhelmingly positive.”
By fully embracing the cloud, while continuing their no-nonsense approach to providing exceptional service, AIRSCHOTT and SEASCHOTT are confident that they can continue to provide superior customs and forwarding solutions to the most challenging areas of the industry. “Our mission statement is straightforward and honest: Our mission is to profit by providing excellent professional services in facilitating the international and domestic transportation and storage of cargo; in dealing with regulations governing the import, export, and transport of cargo; and in providing our clientele with relevant, timely information pertaining to the import, export, and transport of their cargo,” says Schott.
“Not many companies will point out so bluntly that they are in business to profit, but of course that’s the objective of any successful business. We’ll continue to do what we do best: evolve with technology, and the industry, for the benefit of our own business and our clients’ businesses.”