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Over the course of the past few years, JAS Chicago has been one of the fastest growing and top performing branches within the global JAS organization. Then, in March 2020, the arrival of the COVID-19 pandemic and resulting disruptions threatened to derail the results and momentum: the culmination of many years of hard work. Business continuity, especially consistency in high levels of customer service, was always goal number one, but shifting an entire office staff to a virtual work environment overnight while ensuring the safety of essential warehouse personnel was an incredible challenge.
While the immediate challenge was met head on, and successfully so, by the entire JAS organization, anxiety regarding the lingering economic impacts of the pandemic was ever-present. The challenge was now how does JAS adapt to a global industry that had essentially changed overnight. Based on the feedback of customers, JAS invested immediately into an own-controlled flight network with additional adhoc charter space to inject much needed air capacity on key trade lanes. Due to its strategic geographic location, warehouse, and airport infrastructure, Chicago became the US hub for both the trans-Pacific and trans-Atlantic flight operations.
In one month’s time, the uncertainty had begun to fade and the excitement about a new direction was taking hold. By the end of April 2020, the Chicago branch had transformed from a successful large local branch into a key strategic global gateway servicing the entire JAS network. This held its own challenges and many lessons were learned from issues that arose, but every challenge was met with hard work, determination, and an eye towards the future.
Over the following months, a continual drive to find efficiencies and improve the process and structure around the flight operations was a central focus. The JAS Chicago team knew that this would ultimately bring value to their customers while offering a differentiator in the market for future growth. Efficiencies in the warehouse were implemented in order to accommodate incredible volume growth in a limited space. Warehouse efficiencies resulted in faster turn-around times from flight arrival to final-mile delivery. High performing staff were given opportunities to grow into newly created gateway leadership roles, while no less than six other promotions within the branch were executed. New high-level talent was recruited and on-boarded that will one day grow into the future leaders within the Chicago branch and beyond.
In March of 2021, the annual USA Executive/Branch Manager meeting was held virtually. As a result of their incredible performance and impact to the JAS global network over the course of a most challenging year, it was announced that Chicago was named the JAS USA Branch of the Year for 2020. In the same meeting, it was announced that JAS Chicago would be expanding its footprint with plans to acquire additional warehouse space in the Chicago area in the very near future. These two announcements illustrate what has made JAS Chicago a true success story: utilizing the success of the past to invest in the future.
In the face of all challenges, thanks to the continued dedication and innovation of team members, JAS Chicago is able meet the needs of their customers. Especially over the last year, it is more apparent than ever, at JAS, people make the difference!
Within many organizations, there are strong synergies that exist between the Operations, Sales, Product, & Management teams. Nurturing this synergy is the key to obtaining healthy growth within a company. JAS USA is now using what they call “The Playbook”; a process that analyzes opportunities together with Product, Trade Lane, and Sales. The Playbook allows sales executives to evaluate the best or "Top Opportunities" in their region, then bridge the gap between Sales and the rest of our organization more fluidly.
The definition of “Top Opportunities” is not based on volume or GP as one might assume. Instead, it’s based on accounts within the JAS CRM Database, which, with their current rate support from trade lane & product offerings, these clients would benefit from additional service offerings. Identifying these opportunities allows JAS to reach out to customers more readily with service offerings that can greatly benefit our clients and create more opportunities for our customers.
Note: The current CRM requirements are not changing, and the Playbook is only highlighting these particular “90%” opportunities from the JAS CRM system to include them in the Playbook.
This concept allows JAS to secure LTA’s / Bullet / Commodity or Name Account Rates based on volume by combining accounts from the Playbook, giving our customers more options, as JAS is now able to present 6-7 accounts with a combined volume instead of with the individual approach.
Sales today often utilizes more of a consultant stance in order to satisfy the needs of clients. With the “Playbook” process; the same approach is used internally to bridge potential gaps between Sales and Product interactions, allowing for more meaningful conversations with customers.
As of Monday March 20, 2018, JAS Forwarding (USA) is now assisting CBP and TSA on its initiative to provide enhanced security for air cargo coming into the United States.
The Air Cargo Advanced Screening (ACAS) initiative was created by U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) to gather data concerning the parties and commodities involved in air cargo prior to its loading on an aircraft at a foreign port. The initiative is currently in the pilot phase, allowing CBP to collaborate with the air cargo industry to determine the most effective means of achieving the desired regulatory results without affecting the speed of air cargo operations. CBP extended the ACAS pilot program last year in hopes of getting more participation. Government officials have stated that mandatory compliance with ACAS may be expedited due to a recent scare concerning an IED found on a plane headed for the United States. This prompted an emergency order requiring stricter scrutiny of air cargo by TSA Administrator David Pekoske. Growing terrorist concern has already prompted six airlines to comply with this requirement on all cargo originating from certain countries.
"Technology innovation remains a cornerstone of our mission to ensure worldwide transparency and an efficient supply chain for our customers by delivering their cargo on time and securely," said Laurie Arnold, Regulatory Compliance Officer at JAS Forwarding (USA). "As an early adopter and one of the few Forwarders participating in the ACAS pilot program, we are sharing information with CBP further back in the supply chain to help identify high-risk air shipments into the U.S. while accelerating the movement of low-risk shipments."
JAS Forwarding (USA) has partnered with Descartes Global Logistics Network to collect house bill information directly from its Cargo Wise enterprise system to file directly to CBP without any manual intervention, thereby; increasing data quality and velocity.
“The majority of ACAS pilot participants consists of airlines and express carriers, but has lacked forwarder participation. Representing the forwarding community, we have the chance to help write the rules before we are subjected to their requirements," says Sommer Sampson, Corporate IAC Security Coordinator at JAS Forwarding (USA). "We're excited to be an active part in the ACAS pilot and committed to enhancing readiness for the regulation when it is issued." Ms. Sampson is the lead 24hr contact with CBP NTS (National TargetingCenter), along with team member Fabienne Jolly Corporate Compliance Coordinator, CCS. Sampson states, “Getting on board with this initiative was no easy task and we could not have done it without the assistance of our IT Special Projects division...... It was truly a team effort.”
JAS attended the 2016 Coverings Stone Fair at the McCormick Convention Center in Chicago, IL, USA from April 18th to April 21st.
The Coverings Stone Fair is the largest event in the vertical sector of stone, granite, marble, slate, quartzite, and travertine in North America with 20,000 visitors. The show is over 350,000 square feet with 900+ exhibitors from Brazil, India, Italy, China, Egypt, Turkey, Israel, Argentina, and Spain.
The outcome of the event was a great success. The rate of JAS’ growth in this vertical has made us a very powerful competitor in the market. 2015 was a record year for our Natural Stone Vertical with 3,107 containers (Northbound Brazil) and 4,346 containers Worldwide; generating more than $17 million in revenue for JAS!
Stone Vertical History:
Since the mid 90’s, North America has been focusing on the countertop sector and has throughout the years reported a significant growth. Espirito Santo is the main producer and exporter of ornamental stones out of Brazil and is responsible for 47% of the overall production and 44% of the exports. They constitute for more than 50% of the Brazilian stone industry (in number of gang-saws and factories, as well as in terms of growth).
The stone sector estimates an average growth in exports of 30% over the next five years and the predicted export volume going to North America for the year 2016 is 55,000 TEUs.
JAS USA is proud to co-sponsor the Foreign Trade Zone Seminar in Durham, NC, USA on March 22nd, 2016 with the Triangle J Council of Governments.
During this seminar guests will learn about the benefits that companies can reap from duty elimination, duty reduction, duty deferral, decrease in brokerage and processing fees, and overall improved supply chain efficiencies.
During the seminar the following will be addressed:
- What is a Foreign Trade Zone?
- How does a Foreign Trade Zone Work?
- Who is involved with setting up a Foreign Trade Zone?
- Benefits of a Foreign Trade Zone
- Learn from those who have set up and operate Foreign Trade Zones here in FTZ#93 – Revlon and Cormetech
- Questions and Answers
Where: Triangle J Council of Governments, 4307 Emperor Blvd #110, Durham, NC 27703
When: Tuesday, March 22nd, 2016 1:30 – 5 pm, with cocktail hour followed afterwards for networking
In an effort to help promote SMEs in the United States to export, JAS USA has partnered with the US Commercial Services in their Export University 101 program. This program provides valuable guidance to US companies who have foreign market interest for their products or services. The program outlines the basic steps that exporters or potential exporters need to take in order to market, sell, and ship their products overseas.
JAS USA has been working with the US Commercial Services over the past five years. Export Trade Lane Director, Nate May has been asked to speak at the upcoming Export University in Greenville, North Carolina on Wednesday, January 20th to discuss the role of the freight forwarder in the export process. This partnership has been beneficial to both parties and most importantly to the exporter. JAS' participation provides yet another resource that shippers can rely on for export assistance.
The United States Commercial Service (CS) is the trade promotion arm of the U.S. Department of Commerce's International Trade Administration, which helps U.S. companies succeed in markets around the world. The impact of this work ripples throughout the U.S. economy—broadening and deepening the U.S. exporter base, removing obstacles to the export success of U.S. small and medium-sized companies, advancing U.S. business interests abroad, attracting inbound investment, and supporting job creation in the United States. In 2013, the CS helped in more than 18,000 export transactions in nearly 200 international markets worth billions of dollars.