Airborne Express History

  • Category: Business
  • Words: 2342
  • Grade: 86
History of Airborne Express

In the year's after World War II, flowers were in high demand and the state with the most of them was Hawaii. There was only one problem and that was getting them from Hawaii to the mainland and then spreading them from the West Coast to the east cost before they went bad. It was then that "Airborne Flower Traffic of California was founded in 1946". ( ) Airborne Traffic found a way to transport these and then they also found a way to transport other things within one year by flying them. It was then that Holt W. Webster "a former Army Air Corps officer," started his own company to transport perishable goods from Seattle to Alaska. The company was located in Seattle and was called Pacific Air Freight. It was not known then that this company and Airborne Traffic would later cross paths.
        In the 1950's it was not just physically impossible it was just unheard of, but it was not inconceivable to ship packages from the west cost to the east cost. The company, Airborne Flower started adding freight forwarding in 1953 and also started giving more service options to its customers. "To reflect it's growing capability and focus, it changed its name to Airborne Freight Corporation in 1956". ( )
        It was in 1968 that the words of freedom were being spread by the "flower children" but it was then that Airborne Flowers was stopping shipping flowers and wanted to move on to bigger and better things and move beyond San Francisco. It was at this time that the two companies would merge and become Airborne Freight and move it's headquarter to Seattle where they would establish the company. The two companies decided to use the management team from the Pacific Air Freight and allow them to run the new company.
        With many new advances, America was changing fast and the company had to keep up with the times but it was still fairly new and was only a freight forwarding company. "With the proliferation of jet aircraft, it wasn't long before the concept of flying packages to a central hub, sorting them, then flying them on to their final destinations along a network of routes, like the spokes of a wheel, came to fruition", ( )At this time sending packages was very high priced service and not many people were using it. Only a very small segment of the market was using this service. It only took a few years with the advancement of technology and competition that as air travel became a common thing to people so did using express delivery. Now this concept is just not a premium service it is a common service used by more people. Along with this service there were a lot of risk and also a lot of opportunities to encounter.
        Going in to the overnight air express industry in 1976 was a major move and was "the kind of move that could make or break a company". This business took off. Many competitors came into play and this caused prices to drop and cause many of the small companies to loose out or go bankrupt. Only the bigger companies that could offer better prices and better services would be able to survive. One of the companies that really took off was Airborne Freight. "The company leased the services of Midwestern Air Charter of Lorain, Ohio, and contracted to serve 35 Eastern cities under the name "Charter Express". ( ) About a year later Airborne Freight was tired of getting space on other airplanes owned and operated by other companies and decided to go ahead and buy the company of Midwest. After this purchase they decided to move this operations to a former Strategic Air Command base in Wilmington, Ohio. "The company borrowed "Airborne" from its own name, "Express" from the charter company's business name, and combined them to form the new express delivery carrier. Airborne Express was borne". ( )
        The company knew that they had to do many things to become a leader in this industry and one of them was to have complete control of the airline operations. In 1977 Airborne Express got a miracle of help from the deregulation of the airline industry. This allowed Airborne Express to have and operate fleets of trucks and own and operate fleets of aircraft. " In 1980, Airborne Express bought the entire Wilmington airport. No deal could have been sweeter for local citizens". ( ) Many of the residents now help with overnight sorting. The only company to own its own airport is still Airborne Express. "With its own base of operations, Airborne could begin construction of its own air industry park. Airborne Air Park would soon become, and remain, one of the largest and most sophisticated facilities of its kind in the world". ( )
        Airborne had to do something to help support its national distribution network so it started developing its hub and spoke system. One of the things they had to do was to upgrade the fleet of prop and propjet aircraft. Airborne Express eventually owned more than 100 aircraft's including DC-8s, DC-10s, and YS-11s. This was to help keep cost down for the customers.
        With the dramatic annual growth rates the company attracted many competitors. Competition was tough and prices were hard to beat. This forced many companies to go bankrupt and go out by the end of the 1980's. "In 1982, Airborne surpassed Emery Air Freight in shipment volume to become the third largest express delivery company". ( )
        One of the things that make Airborne Express stand out is its service to serving the business-to-business community. This gives them a unique position in the market place. The company has maintained a high level of service and also has kept prices low for everybody.
        In 1986 Airborne Express had two major advances the Airborne Commerce Park and Electronic Data Interchange. The Airborne Commerce Park was made to develop a private industrial warehousing and transportation facility in Wilmington, Ohio. The services it offers are computer repair depot, on-site customs facility, brokerage services and a telemarketing service. "The park also features Airborne's Central Print Service, where items such as billing and financial statements can be printed and distributed for next-day delivery and the Airborne Stock Exchange, a critical parts inventory, warehousing and distribution service. The Electronic Data Interchange was the first of its kind to provide transmission of freight information for its customers. Details of shipping between customers and Airborne on the mainframe computers are what today's system do that were designed on the EDI system.
        Two years later in 1988, Airborne started its Sky Courier Service, delivering same-day, nation-wide delivery services. The specialty of this service is to deliver time sensitive packages. These packages might include flowers, medicine and legal documents. "Sky also offers expedited international delivery and logistics services". ( )
        Airborne and Mitsui & Co. joined together in 1990. The Mitsui Co. is a Japanese trading company. "The partnership makes Airborne Express Japan the fourth largest carrier in the Japanese market.
        Airborne Express was the first company in the U.S. to receive certification of the ISO 9000. Since this is a prerequisite for doing business overseas this was a major achievement for the company. The ISO 9000 is a quality certification program that is highly recommended.
        Airborne Logistics Services (ALS) was developed in 1993. " This was developed to enhance its ability to tailor solutions to the needs of customers. ALS consists of a group of logistics specialists who find operational solutions for customers' distribution challenges utilizing the array of Airborne logistics services". ( )
        One year later in 1994 the International Warehousing and Logistics was developed. "Airborne partnered with European logistics provider Van Ommeren Intexo Logistics Services in 1994 to provide international warehousing and custom-designed logistic services throughout Europe for U.S. based companies. This partnership allows a U.S. company to completely "out-source" all of its shipping and distribution for operations in North America and Europe". ( )
        Ocean Services were also developed in 1994. They developed this because of the great demand for single-source transportation providers. This service allows customers to have things of any size shipped to more than 200 countries by making a single phone call. Offering the full services of international freight services and same-day delivery is one of the things that sets this company apart by being the only company in the express shipping business to offer this service. "Airborne established its own Non-Vessel Operating Cargo (NVOCC) and offers a comprehensive array of ocean services including Less-than-Container-Load (LCL), Full Container Load (FCL) and turnkey project transportation packages". ( )
        In 1995 Wilmington expanded its airport by adding a second runway costing the company $60 million. This was to help increase efficiency by allowing planes to land and take off at the same time. This was making things more economical.
        In the same year three more advances were made. The first was Vietnam Service. When the embargo against Vietnam was gone Airborne began using on-line, computerized, real-time shipment tracking networks. They were the only company to do this and the only company to deliver to Vietnam. The second in 1995 was the Airborne Alliance Group. "Airborne formed a team of five companies to provide a wide range of customized outsourcing services for businesses. Located at Airbornes's hub in Wilmington, the Alliance provides logistics and inventory management, telemarketing, repair and customization of technical products, distribution logistics and priority shipping". ( ) The third and last thing in 1995 is the Boeing 767-200 Purchases. These were the first widebody planes to enter the service for Airborne. They purchased 12 of these planes.
        The South Africa Joint Venture was in 1996. Joining the team was Ribbon Technologies. This allowed for South Africa to become another international partner to join Airborne.
        Also in 1996 was the introduction of the Airborne Global Post (AGP). This was something that was designed to do better than the U.S. Postal Service in saving money and delivering international mail faster.
        In 1997 Airborne introduced the most advanced PC based on-line software called the LIGHTSHIP Shipper.
        Later on that year Airborne came up with the Customer First plan. This was a plan that allowed customers to have more access and options when the used the telephone to call customer service.
        A year later in 1998, Airborne put its first Boeing 767-200 into launches in Los Angeles/Long Beach area.
        In 1999 they put into action three more plans. The first was the Opening of Birmingham and Netherlands facilities. By owning and controlling this operation all on its own this allows them to service the Common market countries and the rest of the world. The second in this year was the Optical Village. The third is the airborne@home. "Airborne sets up an alliance with the United States Postal Service, and introduces a new deferred delivery service that enables businesses to ship directly to consumers. The program is specifically tailored to e-tailors and catalogue companies who need to address the growing demand of the business-to-residential marketplace". ( )
        Airborne can add three more to its list in the year 2000. The first is QuickMail. This allows customer to send regular flat mail in bulk at rates of "15-20% lower than USPS First Class speed of 1-2 days". ( ) The second is the Airborne Exchange. This is developed to give customers more freedom online and more control and options. The last thing for this year is the Airborne eCourier. This will allow for customer to send documents that are confidential electronically.
        In this last year of 2001 Airborne launched the Airborne Urgent 10:30 a.m. Delivery. If a customer chooses to upgrade from the usual plan of next day by noon service to next day by 10:30 then it is guaranteed by then, but if it is not there by that time then the bill will not include the fee for upgrading.
        Also in 2001 Airborne developed the Ground Delivery Service by Airborne Express. "Airborne's ground delivery service, a zone-rated 1-5 day delivery service, is rolled out. Initially offered to a select group of customers, the service gives Airborne a comprehensive, full-service industry competitive capability, and allows it to compete effectively for an increasingly important business segment". ( )
        In 2001, "Airborne wins the Brand Key Customer Loyalty Award for 2000, becoming one of only three companies in America to warn the prestigious award for three consecutive years". ( )
        "What began as a small flower-shipping company today serves over a half-million active customers in more than 200 countries with 24,000 employees, 25,380 delivery vehicles, 15,131 drop boxes, 315 stations and 198 aircraft "“ all joining forces to process more than one million shipments every day". ( )
        last name, first name. Personal interview. Date 18 may 2001
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