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Inside the world of time-critical logistics

Time-Critical powered by Quick is a highly personalised and dedicated service with a single goal: Getting a shipment from A to B as quickly and securely as possible.

We’ve all had to deliver work to a tight schedule. But sometimes it’s not just your boss relying on it. Maybe it’s a missed deadline, a production shortfall or a line down scenario with penalties in play for consequential loss. For every minute that it’s late, costs add up, not to mention the reputational damage. 

These emergency deliveries are often global in scope.  This isn’t a job for an everyday freight forwarder. It’s a specialist task that requires not just experience, contacts and a wide network, but also a focused approach from a dedicated team who never let the shipment leave their virtual sight. It’s a job for the time-critical specialists. 

Beyond freight forwarding

What are some of the differences between a freight forwarder and a time-critical specialist? From the ground up, a time-critical team is built differently. Freight forwarders tend to work regular business hours, whereas time-critical specialists are contactable 24/7/365, in a control tower environment where they can operationally execute shipments. In addition to traditional commercial uplift, time-critical specialists also have the ability to provide airline courier services, ensuring expedited delivery options to anywhere in the world. Utilising a sophisticated global virtual network they can manage collections within 60 minutes of booking, giving customers complete peace of mind that their time-critical shipments are in transit. 

Overnight delivery: An example

To put this in perspective, let’s look at a hypothetical urgent delivery. A customer calls, they have an urgent shipment that must be collected from Switzerland and delivered to the US by tomorrow. Their first question: “What is the latest time you could collect this shipment, for it to be delivered to its destination by 8 am tomorrow?”

The team leap into action. Working with a global virtual network, the team arranges a driver to collect the shipment once it is ready. The driver takes the shipment and paperwork directly to the airline. In a freight forwarding context, consolidation is important for cost efficiency. With Time-Critical, the shipment receives a dedicated vehicle and flies on its own Master Air Waybill.

The Quick Time-Critical team always procures the highest service level for any flight. The shipment can arrive at a minimum of 60 minutes and a maximum of 90 minutes before the flight’s cut-off, an advantage that freight forwarders cannot provide. Based on the ‘Last In, First Off’ principle, the shipment will be unloaded with priority upon landing at the destination city. While a regular shipment would then be taken to a hub and broken down, a time-critical shipment is retrieved directly from the airline and taken to the consignee. There’s no handling or storing, unless the customer has requested it. 

There’s always a back-up flight arranged, and if bad weather prevents flights then the shipment is couriered to another airport. This is the devotion for a fast, hassle-free delivery that customers expect when they choose Time-Critical powered by Quick. This whole chain of activities has been monitored, managed and overseen by a dedicated team member sitting in a control tower.

Inside the control tower

The Quick Time-Critical team proactively monitors every shipment. It isn’t a matter of putting a shipment on a plane and hoping for the best. Every step of the journey is meticulously mapped, with the control tower receiving confirmation of each milestone. This information is then shared via email or messenger so that the customer receives updates at every shipment touchpoint. This is another level of hyper care. 

Contingency planning is a major task for those in the control tower. Every element of the transport is alarmed. 15 minutes for an event should happen, an alarm is raised. If a milestone isn’t reached on time, the whole control tower receives an alert. Using established procedures, the team rush to get the shipment moving again. The Quick team understand the absolute peace of mind that customers need and give their shipments the red carpet treatment at every step of the journey.

Industry experience: Automotive and High-tech

The Time-Critical powered by Quick service is particularly useful for industries that rely on urgent deliveries, such as automotive and high-tech.  The automotive industry is particularly reliant on fast deliveries, due to the just-in-time business model. Because automobile manufacturers don’t keep an inventory of parts, they rely on each component arriving punctually to keep their assembly lines running. If a shipment is delayed, every process downstream is affected. 

Most automobile manufacturers don’t store or hold inventory, and if they do, it’s in a different region to manufacturing. This complexity can be crippling during periods of disruption. At the onset of the Covid-19 pandemic, the automotive industry ramped production down in anticipation of lower demand. Manufacturing plants shut down and orders were cancelled. However, after a minor slowdown, demand ultimately ramped up as people no longer felt safe using public transport. To address this demand, the industry is relying on time-critical shipments of vital parts to keep their assembly lines running. The automotive industry is no stranger to time-critical shipments: 20% of the global automotive supply chain is expedited through time-critical transportation. 

For high-tech, the hot topic is semi-conductors. The world is currently experiencing a semi-conductor shortage. Because semi-conductors are a vital part of most electronic devices, this shortage affects many industries. While the shortage is the result of both the pandemic and geopolitics, it has been exacerbated by congested ports and limited capacity out of China, where most manufacturing occurs. To ensure their customers’ production lines can continue, the high-tech industry has embraced time-critical shipping solutions. These solutions offer the agility and flexibility needed to urgently address issues in every corner of the globe. It is estimated that 25% of spare parts for semiconductors are sent via expedited, time-critical shipping. 

Combined strengths

Time-Critical powered by Quick is a team within a team. Drawing on the industry-renowned urgent shipping process of Quick, the team is now fully integrated inside Kuehne+Nagel. This means that the strengths of Kuehne+Nagel are combined with the strengths of Quick, to ensure our customers’ urgent shipping needs are met now and in the future. Speak with us today about how we can get your mission-critical shipments moving quickly. 

Your contact for time-critical solutions

Your contact for time-critical solutions

Stacy Rouillon

Head of Time Critical

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