Taiping, Monday, 3rd January 2005
A big grin reaches me through a glass wall. I just entered the clean room, for flying Malaysia Airlines to Kuala Lumpur. The grin originates from J.P. Wegkamp, a former colleague of me, a CARGOAL specialist, the worldwide logistic system of the KLM Cargo operation.

It must be a decade ago since the last time I spoke with JP. He did not change much. His smile is never far away, has a very good sense of humour. The flight is about to depart, so we have to catch up a decade in a hurry.

It is good to hear that the CARGOAL system is still going strong. The system has a special meaning to me, out of sight for years, but still close to heart. In 1984 I started my IT career at KLM Royal Dutch Airlines. For me being a junior programmer at the time, CARGOAL was the first system to work on. Later I got promoted to Application Engineer (a kind of technical team lead) and choose for a track towards systems analyst later on. I keep special memories to my CARGOAL time, as odd character among these special forces.

JP looks at my SUMit business card. SUMit homepage Java Programmer About Nut Senior OO Systeem Analist Contact Henk Jan Business Card Henk Jan Nootenboom Tailor made software for complex business processes Hm, well, you got an excellent education as a basis. JP smiles as I know he refers to my extensive 11 years of IT experience in airline logistics.


This memory party lasts short. We have to board and I loose sight of JP.

I love boarding Malaysian Airways, it is like crossing the border into Malaysia. When hearing the Selamat datang tuan-tuan dan puan-puan" I contently sit back and relax. MAS offers sufficient leg space, the aircraft looks well maintained and of course the meals are tasty.

To pass time I read the Dutch book Je gaat het pas zien als je het doorhebt, (you'll only see it when you get it) by former minister Pieter Winsemius, about Johan Cruijff's way of thinking, the things Cruijff did to be number 1 with his soccer teams, how to outclass the competition by far. It is pleasant reading, food for thought.

Technique, Discipline, Character

The book nicely relates soccer teams and business life. Both worlds are tough. You must stay ahead of the competition, with Je gaat het pas zien als je het doorhebt
  1. Technique
  2. Discipline
  3. Character
Soccer players describe how tough Cruijff was as team captain and later as trainer. He sticks very firm to his beliefs, hates compromises. A player that lacks technique does not even enter the team. Every player must know his position and function within the team, so he knows what the others will do, so he can act without looking.

It does revive memories from my TPF CARGOAL time. The CARGAOL team has a reputation for sticking strict to their beliefs. They have to. With thousands of users the smallest bug can have big consequences. The motto CARGO OUR GOAL is history for me. Looking back to my 20 years of IT experience, the foundation for my current approach was founded during my CARGOAL era.

All CARGOAL programmers know how to program, know the possibilities and limits of the system. Decades ago CARGOAL had a n-tier architecture, with all data access in a separate layer. It was far ahead of its time.
All software development follows defined steps, design first, then document and finally code. It is a simple approach, going straight ahead, but it works. Every team member knows his role. All software developments are discussed by team members. The whole team is involved in all developments, know each others work. Step 2 only comes when the team is content about step 1. That seems like a slow-down, but it is an accelerator. A programmer can fully rely on the taken decisions so far, builds quality code at high speed, without doubt.
The CARGOAL team is a special bunch. It takes quite a bit of character to survive in this special squad, working on the special mainframe assembler system and stay cool when solving an operational problem despite the enormous pressure when a flight is waiting for your solution.
JP is right. CARGOAL did provide me an excellent basis by training. It is more than just logistic planning: count Technique, Discipline and Character in too. That basis was required, together with the roster planning algorithms learned at Software Alliance Malaysia to reach the current success level of SUMit.

Selamat datang ke Malaysia

Malaysian Airlines touch down at Kuala Lumpur International Airport, after a fine flight. This old cargo expert disembarks as passenger without even seeing a shipment, pallet or lower deck container. It is like there was no Cargo on board.

In the arrival hall JP says bye-bye to me. Have a good holiday JP, send my regards to the CARGOAL team and till we meet again.

Till next nut,