Skilled, timely, resolute
Less than five months into 2019, the year has already been chock-full of remarkable events for B&H Worldwide. The provider of comprehensive logistics solutions for the management of aerospace components has just opened two new offices – in Frankfurt and Prague, to take its tally to a total of 11 worldwide. In parallel, the organisation released the innovative web-based system FirstTrac as the successor of OnTrack – a real-time global tracking IT system initially launched in 2000.
“The decision to expand our global network with the two offices in continental Europe was driven by the need to cater for the increased business with both new and existing customers, as well as to respond to potential Brexit-related challenges,” reveals Stuart Allen, Global CEO of B&H Worldwide. “It is also part of our goal to create a Europe-wide road freight network as a cost-effective alternative to current airfreight services. Europe is a key location for our clients across the globe and our extended presence at the heart of the continent, combined with the new road network, further enhances our ability to meet their needs as the independent aerospace logistics partner of choice.”
Indeed, just over 30 years after its creation, B&H Worldwide’s vision is to be the most respected, valued, passionate, and entrusted leader in global aerospace logistics; and as such, the company has developed a broad range of customer-centric services. Among the most distinguished of those are its 24/7 AOG & critical logistics solutions, warehouse and inventory management, control tower services, business intelligence and financial reporting, engine movement solutions, freight management, as well as the aforementioned FirstTrac system.
Stuart discusses the properties of the cloud-based IT platform at length: “Designed exclusively for the aerospace sector by InTech – our in-house IT development division, it is the result of an 18-month programme that aimed to create an integrated customer solution. Essentially, FirstTrac is a business and customer service management tool that connects B&H operations teams with our customers through operational and data sharing functionality, commencing when an order is raised and going right through to post-shipment reporting and analysis.
“The search capabilities within the system allow the user to source information by purchase order, repair order, part and serial number, date ranges, aircraft tail numbers, airway bill, or a range of customer-designated references. Orders are also tracked via more than ten critical process milestones, ensuring supply chain efficiency is achieved at every step of the order process,” he continues. “With its multi-reference number-capturing approach, order tracking can be positioned to all areas within our customers’ businesses, therefore reducing the need to continuously chase their logistics provider for information.
“We believe that cutting-edge IT is the key to success in the fast-paced aerospace logistics sector, hence FirstTrac’s utilisation of APIs to communicate within the application, and external sources such as customer and supplier systems. Integrating the system with these enables scalability, supply chain visibility, and data integrity, which leads to the generation of accurate business reports that drive decisions within the supply chain,” Stuart remarks.
Moving from theory to practice, the new FirstTrac platform will feature prominently in the operation of the second 24/7 control tower B&H Worldwide established at its Changi Airport facility in Singapore. “Recent business growth around the world has prompted the development of our second control tower, with us looking to ensure that our standards for operational excellence are maintained,” Stuart comments. “As with all of our global solutions, the control tower makes use of the latest advancements in IT, therefore, the FirstTrac system will support the management of dispatch requests, inbound restocking shipments, and AOG shipments.”
Opening the second control tower was part of a series of investments B&H Worldwide has made in Singapore in the past two years to extend its space and address marked growth in demand. With parts and aftersales support much sought-after in the Asian market, the company has reinforced its senior management team, too, appointing Chris Allen as Business Development Manager for the region.
“Our facility in Miami has also seen quite significant expansion in this period,” notes Stuart, before adding that the company has just installed a new section within its warehouse at Heathrow Airport, which offers segregation and enhanced security for customers with special requirements. In his words, the high-security area has its own CCTV, a quarantine area, and a swipe access floor-to-ceiling entry door. In another anticipated infrastructure development, B&H Worldwide is scheduled to move premises in Melbourne to secure a further 4000 square metres of warehousing capacity. Lastly for now, B&H Hong Kong has just signed a new lease effectively doubling its warehouse footprint and expects this space to be operational by mid-May.
Having been at the forefront of the aerospace logistics industry for three decades, the company has completed hundreds of projects. While many of these deserve to be seen as case studies in which the business has clearly demonstrated the full extent of its capabilities, Stuart singles out two of the most recent jobs B&H Worldwide has undertaken. “We have worked with Icelandair since 2017 after winning a tender process launched to address ongoing challenges in logistics provision and poor supply chain initiatives arising from managing multiple suppliers globally. Utilising our implementation process, strong partnership has been established, leading to enhanced outcomes, centralised visibility, and cost savings of 50 per cent during the first three months.”
Last year, B&H Worldwide struck another notable partnership, this time with Smartwings, whereby it will manage the majority of the latter’s logistics services. Stuart details: “The ongoing demand for wet lease arrangements and the adding of new aircraft to its fleet has made it challenging for the client to maintain quality and cost reduction of logistics services. Under the umbrella of B&H Services, we will now expand our relationship with Smartwings to exclusively manage all AOG traffic, time-critical spares, and courier shipments. This covers Smartwings’ major operating centres in the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Poland, and Hungary, and a further 400 airports on four continents where the company is present.”
Cost increase appears to be a ubiquitous concern across the aerospace industry. As airlines face ongoing pressure to keep costs at bay, B&H Worldwide focuses on providing them with tools that can assist in taking informed decisions. “Air freight capacity is another ongoing challenge due to seasonal fluctuations,” replies Stuart when we ask him about the significant industry trends of the day. “To give you an example, capacity has been at a minimum for the past half a year, resulting in considerable price increases from carriers. Our way of dealing with the issue is through comprehensive planning. For instance, we forward-buy consol services for routine shipments to keep prices low for our customers and enhance their competitive edge.”
In recognition of the high quality of service B&H Worldwide offers, the company was named ‘Best-in-Class’ by the Global Institute of Logistics in late-2017. Kieron Ring, CEO of the body, summarised the business’ unique capacity when announcing the new award: “B&H Worldwide is operating and executing to logistics standards beyond what is considered normal for the industry. The company is regarded by its customers as miles ahead of a general practitioner; skilled, timely, and resolute in its approach, intuitively knowing what is best while at the same time keeping a cool head.”
B&H Worldwide received further endorsement for its expertise in January of last year when it was selected by a panel of industry experts as winner of the 2017 British International Freight Association award in the ‘Supply Chain Management Services’ category at BIFA’s Freight Service Awards Competition. “We continually strive to improve our service quality and this is the main reason why we are repeatedly being acknowledged by peers and customers alike,” Stuart maintains. “There is no better proof to our commitment than the latest initiative we launched in March 2019 – our Customer FIRST! programme, which will give us more customer-facing resources within the business, so that we can meet our growth targets and maintain the best-in-class quality of our services and solutions.”
In concrete numbers, B&H Worldwide has the ambition of growing by at least 25 per cent annually in the next few years. To achieve this, the company intends on evolving its systems and increasing automation. “In short, we are eager to continue delivering our vision, which entails maintaining the highest level of customer service and investing in the staff who lead our operations,” Stuart concludes.
Providing logistics solutions for the management of aerospace components
Named the world’s best-in-class global aerospace logistics company
Recently launched FirstTrac – an innovative IT tool for business and customer service management