With over 15 years of experience in the logistics industry, Jay Cameron has seen firsthand how the industry has evolved and changed. As the director of product development for Aero Africa, a leading air freight & logistics company, Jay has played a key role in helping the company adapt and thrive in a rapidly changing market.
In this interview, Jay has shared his insights on his journey in the logistics industry, the lessons he has learned, and how the industry has changed over the years. He also offers valuable advice for those looking to succeed in the logistics field.
Can you tell us a little bit about your background and how you got into the logistics industry?
I have always been interested in the transportation and logistics field. After completing my degree, bachelor of commerce at the University of Johannesburg I began my career working in the United Kingdom in a 3PL set up, concentrating on Logistics service formalities for the freight forwarding industry. Of course having been on the freight forwarding and clearing side, when I eventually moved back to South Africa and began working for a NVOCC / Neutral Wholesaler, it was far easier to understand the needs and requirements of our clients now being the freight forwarding and clearing market. The adaption is important to adjust and understand what it is that we as a neutral entity can do to add value within our clients business, through the years I have gained the expertise and knowledge to be able to apply the know how into the day to day running of the business.
What has been the biggest change you’ve seen in the industry during your 15 years in the field?
One of the biggest changes I have seen is the increasing use of technology in the logistics industry. When I first started out, most of the work was done manually, with a lot of paperwork and phone calls. Now, there are so many tools and systems available that make it easier and more efficient to manage shipments and track progress. This has helped to streamline operations and improve customer service. I am also eager to see how the world has been rapidly evolving with AI technology and funny enough I am personally involved in an exciting development regarding AI and the use and application within our environment, goal is to remain techno savy and to introduce unique service offerings that are leaps and bounds ahead of competition.
How have you personally evolved as a leader in the industry?
I have been fortunate enough to have had exceptional mentors throughout my career, each sharing in their knowledge and expertise and allowing me to build up my own skillsets which I have adapted and evolved with current and changing market conditions, again my success and transformation can only be down to the people with whom I have worked and with whom I have grown with in order to allow me to be where I am today, I am thankful and grateful to have had the opportunities that I have had and to have worked at companies that have allowed me to implement my own ideas and strategies and to adapt and change where required. Of course now even where I am now at Aero Africa, there is never an exact science or formulae to success, but the key is to align with strong individuals and partners who will support and facilitate the success, for me it is all about relationships and partnerships which are integral on delivery that successful end goal to customers.
What advice do you have for those looking to succeed in the logistics industry?
It is important to know and recognize that within any industry, hard work and determination will pay off, unfortunately one cannot expect to take without giving, and it is imperative that you view your future in a short, medium and long term, writing down goals and objectives for both personal and career and ensuring that you stick to this, being adaptable and open to change within a very uneasy and unpredictable market.
How has Aero Africa adapted to changes in the industry?
Aero Africa constantly looks at ways and means of improving service offerings and value adds within our global market, aimed only at the freight forwarders and clearing agents. Aero Africa not only operates as a virtual airline but provides services of a NVOCC / Neutral wholesaler, we are flexible and able to cater for the needs of the small to medium and larger freight companies, this allows for more avenues to generate business. Aero Africa has also embarked on ground handler, charter operations and even now we begin a very exciting journey by opening a new division in South Africa – more information to follow soon, but the key to current set up is constant changing and adaption to the market, COVID changed the way in which the world operated, it was imperative that the company adapt as well, and since then we have only but continued this trend always finding new ways to add value to the customers.
What sets Aero Africa apart from other logistics companies?
As mentioned before, we need to align ourselves with key partners and service providers, I believe the Aero Africa model has been molded in a manner that has allowed for the foundation of success and allowed us to being innovative and creative in an ever changing market, Aero Africa internally is backed and supported by many global members which essentially in turn gives us the added advantage of resources and access to expertise globally, we are not a corporate and as such decision making is done quickly and adaption and change almost instant, we are, I believe, going to be changing the way in which the wholesale market operates through key technological advantages which will further set us apart from local competition.
How do you see the industry evolving in the coming years, and how is Aero Africa preparing for these changes?
I see the market changing due to technological innovations, as mentioned I believe technology is going to play a huge role in the now and the future and Aero Africa is ready to support and adapt as we have always done to ensure we provide the support to our current, new and potential customers, it is imperative that we internally focus on what it is we can do to add value to our customers business, our resources are their resources, our change will be their change, our success will be their success.
Can you share any specific challenges or successes that you have experienced in your role as director of product development at Aero Africa?
I believe the list is endless, anyone that works in the Logistics industry will have many stories to share, many would be able to relate, for me it is unique that each day is a different day and with challenges and even success, applying the skills to resolve a problem at hand is ever so rewarding when it does pay off, of course, each day is a new day and we constantly adapt to the needs of the situation at hand.