Kuehne+Nagel’s Head Of Aerospace On Sustainability, Tech Advances
Andreas Nyman, vice president and global head of aerospace at Kuehne+Nagel, sits down with Lindsay Bjerregaard, managing editor for MRO, during Aviation Week’s recent MRO Europe event to discuss the logistics specialist’s advances in supply chain sustainability and technology.
What are some of the biggest supply chain challenges your aviation industry customers are reporting, and how is Kuehne+Nagel (K+N) looking to help solve them?
We try to get transparency at the end of the day. You have the raw material, and obviously the feedstock is not there. Everybody’s fighting for the same parts, and they go to the highest bidder. On top of that, there are delays to production that then stretch to the supply chain and transportation side in the air freight segment.
We’ve tried to find a solution where we map it out from where and when you actually source the part to anticipate when it will reach your door. We use the data we have . . . to anticipate, such as having statistics on which carrier to use and, if you have an option, which stock to get it from. Maybe stock is available and easy, but getting it may cost a lot of money and transportation may be slowed down.
K+N is one of the partners in the Sustainable Engine Alliance with Atlas Air and SR Technics. How is this alliance working to manage engine supply chains more sustainably?
Sustainability is at the core of what we’re doing as a company. Since we are a logistics provider, we felt like the market was not really paying attention to the supply chain segment. We always focus on the aircraft flying from A to B and what is generating emissions. We got together with two partners to set a narrative: How can we evaluate the industry? Can we, as a collective alliance, reach out and set a new standard on how you ship engines? But the core is procuring sustainable aviation fuel and attaching it to specific shipments, and the key for us is to get and share the data. It’s quite exciting to us and we are looking forward to having more partners join this alliance.
What other sustainability initiatives is K+N working on in the aviation space?
We are looking at a holistic approach as a company. It obviously ties into what we do in the aviation and aerospace segment, but it’s everything from the trailers [to] electrification and even warehouse distribution. It’s not just about reducing, but also avoiding [emissions]. That’s on the 2026 road map and we hope to release more as we go.
Are you getting pressure from customers on reducing Scope 3 emissions?
Absolutely. It comes back to transparency. When we engage with our partners, such as in trucking, we need to see what their environmental commitments are to the industry. And then we work closely to set goals and share the data, and then it’s an open discussion. What can we learn from that, what can we reduce and what can we avoid?
Are you looking at incorporating emerging technologies like artificial intelligence and blockchain into your supply chain operations? If so, can you share any details?
Yes, we are looking into it. We need to go in that direction as an industry. The data in the market is there; it just needs to be translated properly and we need that transparency and ability to do something about it. One [potential use case] is to have inventory management on the blockchain. For inventory management on engine stands, you could use blockchain to track location, capacity availability by site and the transportation segment. You could also have artificial intelligence attached to it to simulate previous patterns and what to be mindful about when you procure or source a part.
Supply chain logistics is a major concern for the growing advanced air mobility segment in terms of ensuring supply of spare batteries and parts. Is this an area K+N is exploring and, if so, are there any developments you can share?
We’re looking into everything because we don’t know what will be the best technology in the future. We’re reviewing everything: What are the startup companies? What is getting the most traction in the technology world? How can we connect the technology segment to our own suppliers? You have drones, passenger [aircraft], cargo and various segments, but we are also looking into the utilizations and regulatory approvals. We recently had a meeting in Denmark where the airport manager said they were looking into having [electric vertical-takeoff-and-landing (eVTOL)] infrastructure at the airport, so this is quite exciting because it means something will happen. But we don’t necessarily know the shape of it.
K+N recently signed a logistics service contract with Indian MRO provider GMR Aero Technic. Given the company is trying to strengthen its aerospace portfolio in the Asia-Pacific region, what’s next on that road map for K+N?
GMR Aero Technic is one of the many initiatives we have in the Asia region. We are investing in having specific aerospace centers to integrate where the market is growing. In India, we see all the procurement from IndiGo, Tata and all the other suppliers investing in the country. I always say it this way: 2% of the population of India is flying, so look at the potential. We now have a team working with the transportation ministry and the industry to create an infrastructure to supply that work. The entire [Asia-Pacific] market is booming, so we are looking into some interesting prospects.