Fiege Air Cargo Logistics wants to show – and live – company values
Since last Summer, Fiege Air Cargo Logistics GmbH & Co. KG (FACL) has actively been partnering with Lufthansa Cargo AG. By mid-2021, the newly formed company will have taken over the physical handling of cargo in multiple phases for all transit consignments at the Lufthansa Cargo Center (LCC) in Frankfurt within the framework of a long-term contract. To offer clients the best possible support, the Fiege subsidiary centres on the well-being of its employees and wants to set an example regarding the family business’ values. The project is defined, among other things, by a modern management culture, flexible working hours, and diverse personal development opportunities.
For many years, Lufthansa has been largely outsourcing the physical cargo handling at the LCC to several outside service operators. With a view to the advances in digitalisation, Germany’s biggest cargo-flying airline went looking for a suitable partner to merge its fulfilment requirements at a single point. Thanks to comprehensive competencies within digitalisation and the efficient design and implementation of warehouse processes, the choice fell on Fiege. The activities at the LCC in Frankfurt reflect an expansion of Fiege’s business segment. “We developed our idea for modern cargo handling with a strong project team for more than a year and a half, in order to convince Lufthansa Cargo”, Felix Scherberich says, who led the project’s core team from the very beginning. Together with Benjamin Looser, Scherberich now makes up the leadership team at FACL which is complemented by the Fiege managers Norman Marian (Operations) and Thomas Rudek (Commercial).
Green light for Fiege Air Cargo Logistics
As from 1 July 2020, FACL is taking over the operational handling and coordination of standard inbound and outbound consignments at the LCC in Frankfurt in four phases to be concluded by mid-2021. Overall, this totals more than one million tonnes of cargo per year. The planning and steering of the process flows and the overall responsibility remains in the hands of Lufthansa Cargo. “It is our aim to increase operational quality and to synchronise the logistical flows using cutting-edge IT infrastructures”, Managing Director Benjamin Looser explains. Next to the satisfaction of the client, the main focus of FACL from the very beginning is the well-being of employees. Amongst the biggest challenges are building a team and launching processes as fast as possible. The top priority hereby is taking over the 600-something staff from the external service providers and inducting them into the world of Fiege. “It was clear to us that this project would only be successful as a collective effort with motivated and committed employees”, the Managing Director, who has been working in the field of corporate culture and employee management for years, recalls. As a family business, Fiege has firmly anchored solidarity and team spirit as a fixed value in its corporate philosophy. It is the goal of FACL to create an organised, fair, and adequate working environment for all employees. “I therefore consider it a very special recognition when employees from an external service provider who have been loyal to their company for years, decide to join us”, Looser emphasises.
A flat organisation with an open feedback culture
FACL relies on a flat organisation for this without completely doing away with hierarchies, as Looser explains: “You need a hierarchy to make decisions and set crash barriers. But just because someone is higher up in the echelon does not mean that they are a better person. It’s merely an organisational characteristic.” It is mainly about appreciation. This includes the fair and friendly treatment of each other, from managing director to employees working in production. Against this background, the managerial personnel are to be more visibly present on location and act as a contact point for all colleagues. “Recognition of their daily work is important to us”, Looser says.
Despite the short timespan before going live and the many new faces, the company advanced quickly. In the meantime, the company that was created quite literally out of nothing and in no time boasts a colourful blend of former Fiege employees and new colleagues. Looser and his team cultivate an open feedback culture where issues, mistakes, and digressing from standards are constructively addressed and solved together. For this to succeed, open-plan offices and addressing everyone on a first name basis reinforce the feeling of being part of a team. Moreover, three cross-sectional teams were called to life which boost a cross-department exchange for the entire workforce.
For example, the Karla Kolumna group has people working on an employee magazine. The Mutter der Nation team organises different company events, while the Fiegende Klassenzimmer holds an in-house workshop once a month where next to an exchange of knowledge, team building is a priority.
Green field with complete freedom
The measures are also owed to the fact that is it becoming increasingly difficult to source suitable personnel, especially skilled workers. “Today’s young professionals expect their employer to be more than profit-minded only. They see an employer as having a social and an ethical responsibility and want to realise their full potential”, Looser adds. This is the starting point for both the FACL and Looser. Employees are involved in all crucial decisions and they are shown many opportunities for personal growth.
The entire managerial level of FACL lives a modern management culture from the top down, with full support from the parent company. “Fiege has gifted us with a green field with complete freedom to build a solid company”, so Looser’s summary, who likes to talk of his colleagues as Fiegerians to express that they are part of the Fiege family. This allows the company to access existing processes or the available Fiege network any time. Especially during the Covid-19 pandemic it showed just how reliable a partner Fiege is, Benjamin Looser stresses: “System headquarters gave us excellent support towards building the company despite the Covid-19 pandemic. We want to pass this strength and dependability to the people in our company and become a reliable and innovative employer.”