Qantas outsourcing documents leaked
Sometimes, outsourcing discussions aren’t a good idea – especially when internal talks leak out.
Australian flag carrier airline Qantas reportedly has had discussed plans to outsource its entire ground-handling operations. The outsourcing initiative revealed in confidential documents reportedly states that the company’s long-term strategy to reshape the company involved putting as many as 2,500 jobs at risk.
The discussions even included a timeline, as ground-handling operations were to be completely outsourced by 2020.
CAN QANTAS AIRLINES SURVIVE?
Qantas employs about 2,500 people across Australia whose primary responsibilities include handling baggage and operating ramps. The confidential documents also show that Qantas discussed automating other processes, such as check-in.
In response to the claims, Qantas corporate affairs chief Olivia Wirth told the Sydney Morning Herald that the company “had absolutely no plans to outsource” its ground-handling operations.
“Qantas doesn’t use outsourcing,” Wirth continued. “Qantas will continue to work with the [Transport Workers Union] … There is no plans to outsource – none.”
Poor grammar aside, it’s interesting that Qantas responded to the allegations with such decisiveness. Airline companies have been outsourcing services for years, searching for ways to develop higher profit margins.
SEE OTHER TOP OUTSOURCING STORIES IN THE SUPPLY CHAIN DIGITAL CONTENT NETWORK
Qantas is looking for ways to turn its airline around. Last financial year, the company lost more than $200 million in its premium international operations business. To help fight those losses, Qantas announced in August that it would cut 1,000 jobs, with most cuts involving pilots, engineers and cabin crew.
The Transport Workers Union can fight Qantas all it wants should the company choose to outsource, but fewer pilots and engineers means fewer ground crew members. It’s not like this issue is new to airlines, either.
Last month, it was revealed that Philippine Airlines (PAL) is planning on outsourcing 2,600 jobs, with included ground-handling operations.
Pandora and IBM digitise jewellery supply chain
Pandora has overhauled its global supply chain in partnership with IBM amid an ecommerce sales boom for its hand-finished jewellery.
The company found international success offering customisable charm bracelets and other personalised jewellery though its chain of bricks and mortar retail destinations. But in 2020, as the COVID-19 outbreak forced physical stores to close, Pandora strengthened its omnichannel operations and doubled online sales.
A focus on customer experience included deploying IBM’s Sterling Order Management, increasing supply chain resiliency and safeguarding against disruption across the global value chain.
Pandora leverages IBM Sterling Order Management as the backbone it its omnichannel fulfilment, with Salesforce Commerce Cloud powering its ecommerce. Greater automation across its channels has boosted the jeweller’s sustainability credentials, IBM said, streamlining processes for more efficient delivery. It has also given in-store staff and virtual customer service representatives superior end-to-end visibility to better meet consumer needs.
Jim Cruickshank, VP of Digital Development & Retail Technology, Pandora, said the digital transformation journey has brought “digital and store technology closer together and closer to the customer”, highlighting how important the customer journey remains, even during unprecedented disruption.
"Our mission is about creating a personal experience and we've instituted massive platform changes with IBM Sterling and Salesforce to enable new digital-first capabilities that are much more individualised, localised and connected across channels and markets,” he added.
Pandora’s pivot to digital
The pandemic forced the doors closed at most of Pandora’s 2,700 retail locations. To remain competitive, it pivoted to online retail. Virtual queuing for stores and virtual product trials via augmented reality (AR) technology went someway to emulating the in-store experience and retail theatre that is the brand’s hallmark. Meanwhile digital investments in supply chain efficiency was central to delivering on consumer demand.
“Consumer behaviour has significantly shifted and will continue to evolve with businesses needing to quickly adapt to new preferences and needs,” said Kareem Yusuf, General Manager, AI Applications and Blockchain, IBM. “To address this shift, leading retailers like Pandora rely on innovation to increase their business agility by enabling and scaling sustainable supply chain operations using AI and cloud.”
Yusuf said Pandora’s success was indicative of how to remain competitive by “finding new ways to create differentiated customer experiences that protect their enterprises from disruptions to help mitigate risk and accelerate growth”.