Routing manager Deanna Vainoja: “My job is like that of a first-line responder!”

“If my job isn’t done, no Omniva or Post11 letter or parcel will fly out of Estonia,” says Deanna Vainoja, the Air Transport Routing Manager of Omniva. A routing manager plans the flight routes by which parcels are transported to their destinations.

Omniva and Post11 currently have nearly 80 regular destinations across the world. These destinations have definite flight routes according to which parcels are taken to the destinations. Deanna is the one who prepares parcels’ routing plans while taking into account the quality requirements set to services, transport time, price, capacity and regularity. On the basis of the aforementioned, Deanna compiles the best flight solution for Omniva.

“All our flight partners send their flight plans, price lists and capacity limits for flights to me and I use that information to compile a flight scheme for us,” Deanna described the nature of her job. “Then I focus on our destinations, check which partners fly there and select the best combinations for us. The flight plans change twice a year, when the time is turned forward or back for daylight savings, i.e. the last Saturday night (early Sunday morning) of March and October. Therefore, I have to work on combining and planning our flight routes at least twice a year.”

Deanna’s job does not depend on the number or size of the parcels, but rather on their total weight. The volumes sent by planes are planned on the basis of the total weight of the parcels. “Fortunately, we can predict seasonal trends – the times when we have more parcels to deliver and when it’s quieter.”

Do you have a plan B, C or D?

Deanna added that she always has to have a plan B, C and even D ready. When unexpected changes occur, the process requires rapid solutions. “Mail needs to keep moving, regardless of what’s currently going on in the world!” Deanna added.

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One of the most complicated situations for Deanna happened in 2015, when the national airline went bankrupt, thereby severely affecting her work. “I had completed my first routing plan and the new flight plan had been operational for about a week. It was Saturday morning, I was drinking my first cup of coffee when I got the message about an airline’s bankruptcy. This required extremely quick reacting from me, I had to redo the entire flight plan in just a day,” Deanna reminisced.

The work of a routing manager includes complex and unexpected situations caused by airline strikes, which stress out airline passengers, but also complicate the transport of parcels. We also need to be mindful of strikes in postal companies in various countries, through which letters and parcels are transported. “During my time in Omniva, several airlines and a few postal companies have been on strike, thereby requiring me to redo routing plans. After these experiences, I asked my older colleagues whether I should be expecting any bigger hassles in addition to bankruptcies and strikes?” Deanna laughed about the pros and cons of her job. “They told me I hadn’t had to deal with an ash cloud yet! When this happens, I will be prepared!”

Omniva has an excellent international reputation

Deanna confirmed that Omniva’s international reputation is superb and whenever people talk of the Baltics, they have only good things to say about Estonia. “Post11 was created merely 2 years ago. We have expanded very rapidly – not only do we send post out of Estonia, but also from the UK and Germany. We are a real success story for our international partners. I can be proud of us and accept praise all the time,” Deanna added cheerfully.

Deanna’s job requires high stress tolerance, as the golden rule of logistics is that something unexpected will always happen. It is vital to act fast, negotiate and, if necessary, be unrelenting and demanding, because we are responsible for the delivery of parcels to the destination country. “I am always on and ready to act. There are a lot of things that I cannot control, but my job is to adapt to all those unexpected changes as quickly as possible. Communication with partners – both Estonian and international partners – is crucial. I am glad that I can act as a grey cardinal,” Deanna added.

International business makes up nearly a third of Omniva’s turnover. The international business team has 10 employees; Post11, as a subsidiary with about 50 employees, is also part of that business.

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