DHL South Africa: Setting out a bold mission for Africa

As the business world has embraced globalisation, one of the big winners has been the logistics industry. Operating in this ever-changing world where service is king, DHL is a name renowned across the globe, including in South Africa, where DHL South Africa continues to provide industry-leading technology.

DHL01 The company is part of the world’s leading postal and logistics Group, Deutsche Post DHL and encompasses three divisions: DHL Express, DHL Global Forwarding, Freight and DHL Supply Chain. Within South Africa it provides a wide range of services divided into 4 areas:

DHL Express transports urgent documents and goods reliably and on time from door-to-door in more than 220 countries and territories, and operates the most comprehensive global express network.

DHL Global Forwarding takes care of a variety of customers’ logistics needs, from standardized logistics operations and multi-modal transport solutions to highly individualized industrial projects.

DHL Supply Chain is the global market leader in contract logistics, providing warehousing, managed transport and value-added services and offers solutions for corporate information and communications management.

DHL Global Mail is DHL’s worldwide expert in providing customized solutions for mail and business to commerce (B2C) parcels, maintaining one of the world’s largest delivery networks on 5 continents.

In January it was announced that DHL Express had won a record number of external awards for its business in Sub Saharan Africa in 2014 – almost triple that of 2013 – demonstrating the success from its 2014 strategy to create greater service quality and increase employee engagement.

In 2014, DHL Express Sub Saharan Africa received a total of 61 awards from external parties such as government bodies, trade associations and the media. The recognition from industry leaders is a testament of the business’ successes in customer service delivery, employee engagement, contribution to corporate social responsibility, as well as its commitment to provide excellent service quality in the region.

Charles Brewer, Managing Director of DHL Express Sub-Saharan Africa, stated that the company’s vision to be The Logistics Company for the World is not just about the strong network and the number of countries or territories DHL is present in, but also how customers and the general public perceive the company.

DHL Express Sub Saharan Africa was named Top Employer 2015 in Africa by the Top Employers Institute for the company’s outstanding employee offerings across the region. This is in addition to six African countries – South Africa, Nigeria, Kenya, Uganda, Ethiopia and Ghana that were also certified as Top Employers in their local markets.

“We truly value external recognition and believe that it affirms our mission statement – Excellence. Simply delivered. This means that we want to simplify the lives of our customers. We make our customers, employees and investors more successful, while making a positive contribution to the world. These awards demonstrate a healthy mix of recognition across all these areas, which form part of our four pillars, which are Motivated People, Great Service Quality, Loyal Customers and a Profitable Network.”

“At DHL, in an industry that never sleeps, where we genuinely believe in the pursuit of excellence, we will continue our investment and expansion in Africa, we will continue to strive for excellence for our people, our staff and our environment, and ensure that 2015 is a truly great year for us,” Brewer stated.

DHL02Of course winning awards and maintaining market position requires an excellent understanding on customer needs and changing trends. In recent times e-commerce has seen a significant growth across the African Continent and this is something DHL has fully embraced, as Brewer explained in February:

“Africa’s growing middle class is driving consumer demand and in turn, the e-commerce industry on the Continent. As a result, retailers need to ask themselves if they are ready for this ‘new’ and evolving client base. Logistically and operationally speaking, businesses will need to shift from a business-to-business approach to a more business-to-consumer approach as retailers will now have to meet the demand of transporting products to individual clients. New structures will need to be implemented to ensure that the company’s supply chain is agile enough to respond quickly and effectively to the increased demand.”

In an industry which is constantly evolving, investment also remains a pre-requisite for staying ahead of the competition and last October Bloomberg reported that DHL Express was set to invest more than 30.5 million euros ($38.4 million) in its South African operations to boost expansion across Africa.

The company plans “to focus on further expansion of logistics services in the world’s emerging markets,” Roger Crook, head of DHL global forwarding and freight, said in an e-mailed statement. The Bonn-based postal operator sees sales from developing markets contributing 30 per cent of the total by 2020, compared with about 20 per cent at present.

Many global conglomerates are already expanding in Africa as the economies of many countries on the Continent grow faster than developed nations. DHL customers can already send letters and parcels from about 2,400 outlets in Africa, up from 300 back in 2011, and the company is targeting 3,000 to 3,500 access points by the end of the year, according to a May interview with Sumesh Rahavendra, DHL’s head of marketing for sub-Saharan Africa.

DHL is investing in its supply chain and transportation units in South Africa, which are situated near O.R. Tambo, Johannesburg’s biggest airport, according to the statement.

DHL South Africa remains a business very much at the cusp of innovation and is on the way to achieving its mission, as described on the corporate website:

“In 2009, we laid out our goals for the future in our Strategy 2015, including our vision and mission for our company. Our vision emphasizes that we want to be The Logistics Company for the World. This goes beyond the simple fact that, as a global company, we are present in over 220 countries and territories, or that we are often the very first logistics company to enter new markets. Our vision stresses that we want to be the logistics provider people turn to – their first choice not only for all their shipping needs, but also as an employee or investor.

“This is further underlined in our mission statement, which has 4 main elements:
1) We want to simplify the lives of our customers
2) We make our customers, employees and investors more successful
3) We make a positive contribution to the world
4) We always demonstrate respect when achieving our results”

With accolades flooding in and a bold investment strategy for the region, these are good times for the leading logistics company.