What’s the solution?
But what about the smaller companies? What steps could IATA take to bring them on board, and in doing so, make pharma-handling standards truly comprehensive and universal?
Schaefer has his own proposals to lower the cost of certification, starting with creating communities. “If you have five or six business partners that you work with in handling pharmaceuticals, you can create your own community and then apply the same approach as the airport took.” Here,
Schaefer is referring to the increasingly popular airport communities model, which he says can reduce certification costs by up to 30 percent.
But while the community model leverages economies of scale to cut costs, it doesn’t really address the criticism leveled by Wraight, who wants the certification process simplified.
This debate won’t be settled on these pages, but other observers put forward suggestions that seem to bridge this divide. IATA maintains that sending a how-to manual hasn’t worked in the past, and that the training and implementation process is too complex to do without interpersonal guidance.
Currently, IATA’s CEIV training program involves a lot of transport and lodging costs and in-person training. The AfA’s Fried pointed to the internet as a solution. “Heck, I got my MBA online,” he said, “and still worked my rear-end off. It’s entirely possible.”
IATA is open to suggestions from industry stakeholders. And while saying that “the technology isn’t there yet” to take CEIV certification online, Schaefer acknowledges that new technology might one day allow for that. “We should actually challenge the industry to do more: Communicate, collaborate, connect and create for the common good of the industry and not just yourself.”
After all, when you’re online, it’s a little harder to hear the crowd’s applause when Fujike voices his concerns at the next IATA conference.
Lewis King is a former associate editor of Air Cargo World.