INSIDE DHL - MEET OUR PEOPLE
Whether improving services, growing businesses or helping to keep DHL going, we are a global team of highly dedicated people working across a broad spectrum of roles. Get to know who we are - from the inside out. Meet the people behind our services.
Employee Name: Ben Wang
Job Title: Management Trainee
Education: Shanghai University of International Business and Economics
A great platform is fundamental.
As a student within logistics management Ben entered DHL a year and half ago by entering the company’s management trainee (MT) programme. He is now working in the ocean freight department, but cannot wait to flex his muscle in the German logistics giant.
At DHL, each trainee has to rotate within the organisation for three years before finding a permanent department to work for. As part of the trainee programme one do not only have to be a quick learner and work hard at each departments, but also give advice to the departments on how to work in a more efficient and integrated way.
Initially, the workload was heavy and Ben worried about not having enough time to closely inspect the work and eventually identify errors or other problems. However, later on he found out things were not as he expected them.
DHL have an operation at Jiuting, in Shanghai, which takes care of cargo storage and domestic transportation. Unlike international transportation, which usually has a fixed price guide, domestic transportation prices may vary depending on the clients. Due to this, Ben had to ask around and look up the numbers every time he was asked for a price. Even though his colleagues were happy to help, he found the situation frustrating and wanted to find a solution for it. Later on Ben produced a model where name of clients, cargo information and prices were matched. Today the model is frequently used and a great tool for new beginners.
Ben says DHL prefers people who are independent thinkers and who are problem solvers rather than people who are simply “robots” who only do what they are told.
Interesting life as a trainee
One can think of being a trainee as something dull and monotonous but at DHL it is definitely the opposite. The Management Trainee programme is one out of many to prove this. Aside from only work-related tasks, there are etiquette and TED skills training for new beginners. One interesting and impressive class according to Ben was the one named “Seven Habits”. He remembers the very experienced and knowledgeable teacher who used his own personal experiences to tell the audience that opportunities only come to those who are ready, and maybe today’s small sacrifice would be greatly rewarded in the future.
DHL also encourages management trainee’s to participate in various company events, which surprisingly gave Ben an opportunity to develop his hidden skills in event organising. He successfully planned the 2014 International Women’s Day event, bringing in some popular on-site activities such as cake baking, ikebana and mug making. Next, he will be hosting a Karaoke competition. Ben said these events improved his abilities in planning, outsourcing and organising which will surely benefit his life in the future.
A great platform
Many people would say small companies are good for rapid career growth because one may have to take different roles and responsibilities, while in multinationals, detailed job description could limit personal growth. But that is not necessarily the case, Ben said. In his opinion, small companies usually have limited diversity and a lower number of clients, which could block long-term career growth.
This is exactly why Ben loves DHL, where he does not only learn about conventional air and ocean transportation, but also intermodal and multimodal transportation that usually involve combinations like air-ocean-railway. Also, he gets exposed to a variety of clients from all kinds of industries, which enriches his knowledge and sense for the business. After the rotation programme, Ben is planning to work at one of DHL’s operations abroad by entering the company’s exchange project, to see the way his foreign colleagues are working and hopefully bring back some good experiences.
“DHL offers such a giant, great platform to provide opportunities and challenges. The question is, can you catch them? ” Ben said.
Employee Name: Chattie Leung
Job Title: Project Execution Manager
Years at this company: 7
Education: Bachelor degree in Chemistry, University of Hong Kong; MBA candidate, Hong Kong University of Science and Technology
Project management gives people the opportunity to become an all-round talent.
Chattie joined DHL in 2007, prior to that she studied chemistry in college. She loves being challenged and she is interested in developing her management skills at DHL.
Find your career goal
DHL’s MT (Management Trainee) programme accepts graduate students from different study backgrounds. The programme was created with the purpose to provide management talents to DHL’s future. Chattie rates the programme highly and she believes a three year rotation provides a great opportunity for new employees to understand the company’s overall operations across different departments. After spending three years in the MT programme Chattie decided to join the Project Management Department. She wants to be a knowledgeable professional with both soft skills and problem solving capabilities.
Being a project manager is a challenging role. In the project management department a person has the opportunity to both learn professional skills and to become an all-round expert.
By participating in on-going projects, a project manager gets a holistic view of the project workflow. As a project manager, Chattie believes she has developed soft skills through working with colleagues with various backgrounds, expertise, attitudes and cultures. A project manager continuously has to solve different problems during various projects and therefore develops strong problem solving skills.
Dialogue with different cultures
Chattie has always been working in the APAC region and she reports to the Regional Strategy Director. Though both she and her supervisor are based in the APAC region there are significant differences between the countries they actually work in.
People in North Asian countries highly value seniority and network. That means that employees in this region spend a lot of time on establishing and developing relationships before they start to discuss about work projects.
In Japan and South Korea, clients are very polite, they are very strict about product and service qualities, and they prefer to see previous successful cases so that they can trust the supplier. In Singapore, the practise is more in line with Western Countries and therefore can been seen as more efficient and straightforward.
China’s business culture is developing as the country aims to become the world’s new economic engine.
Advice to graduates
When reflecting upon her seven years at DHL, Chattie gives the following advice to new graduates: "Lift up your horizon, don’t underestimate the importance of day-to-day work as this is essential. Do not only try to understand the company's operations, but also seek to accumulate management experiences. Secondly, think outside of the box, in the first five years of your career, go to try new things! Then you need to determine your career goal. If there’s something missing between the goal and the reality, try to make up for it. Thirdly, language. As a student who studied chemistry at a science university l am aware that many students don’t think language would be an issue. In the professional world, you’ll need to re-learn to speak, to express yourself so that employees can work as a team speaking a common language. In addition, take time to enrich your knowledge, both work and non-work related, always leave sometime for you to think."
Chattie is definitely not a workaholic, she works smart. When she gets tired she takes a break. "Never force yourself to spend a lot of time on things when you have no clue". Developing a personal hobby is also indispensable for the workplace, she loves to read as it takes her to other fairylands, a moment to escape the reality of life.
Employee Name: Geney Wu
Job Title: Sales Executive
Years at this company: 2
Education: BA in English, Guangdong University of Foreign Studies
Always think from others’ perspectives.
Geney joined DHL after attending a campus career fair. “When I studied English in college, I highlighted the words I didn’t know the meaning of on sticky notes.” She laughed. But now it turns out it was totally worth the effort, “I think it’s a huge advantage for me being able to communicate with different people on different matters”.
Long term plan for the career:
I want to stay for at least 3 years to get to know my job.
In July 2012, Geney joined DHL Global Forwarding South Eastern China MT Program. The programme takes 3 years to complete and for each year the trainee will work across different departments in the company in order to gain first hand knowledge about DHL and its operations. Geney’s first year in the programme was in the Shipping Department; the second year is in Multimodal Transport Department and the third year will be in the Sales Department. Unlike many other college graduates, she set her career directions a long time ago – to develop her career towards sales and marketing related functions. During her second year at DHL, she has, so far, expressed her inclination towards management. Every year, she receives valuable advice from different departments, supervisors and managers which makes her feel valuable for the company and communicates that DHL is interested in her future career and that they are there to coach her along the way. During the first two years in the programme through hands-on experience in product related departments she learned a great deal about the business and this July she moved on to the Sales Department. Geney hopes the new position will provide her with new challenges and insights that will help guide through her future career.
Multiple platforms for career development
Geney has participated in planning a number of the company’s events. She planned the MC and DHL’s annual party. While rehearsing and preparing for the party she took the opportunity to socialise with other co-workers, which reminded her of her years in collage. She has also been involved in coordinating shows and company trips. These experiences have provided her with many opportunities to communicate directly with management teams as well as enhancing her planning ability. Geney says these opportunities have not only helped her gain organisational- and coordination skills, but also extended her network within the company. At DHL there are always many side projects on-going spread across different departments that anyone can join through an application process and Geney has always been willing to take the challenges. To her, it’s a good way to enhance her knowledge and to gain new experiences from across the business. In addition to this, DHL has frequently organised training programmes on management and efficiency related topics. Geney has embraced those training programmes wholeheartedly and she believes her efforts will be rewarded.
The win-win solution comes from understanding everyone’s wish
Things have been improving over the last 30 days for Geney and bit by bit she getting to grips with her new role and responsibilities. In one of her projects she managed the South Eastern Area Cargo Insurance. During the project she discovered some mistakes and omissions in the old practises, this required her to coordinate between different departments such as Customer Service, Sorting and Risk Management. Firstly, Geney had to understand the work processes of each department involved and clarify their scope of work and together with those departments identify the cause of the problem and work on preventive actions. Through monitoring, testing and evaluation her work has led to an optimization of the process. In only one month the new framework adopted has been implemented and is now in the phase of evaluation.
Geney does not only have to communicate with all the involved departments but she also has to ensure that DHL and DHL’s clients benefit. This is indeed a big challenge for her in terms of communication and knowledge of the company’s work processes, especially for someone who only joined the Sales Department less than two months ago. When facing this kind of challenges it is important to think about if from different kinds of perspectives – how can we make people in different departments work together? And how can these people work together towards a common goal? Geney will, step by step, find answers to all these question.
Employee Name: Jannie Poon
Job Title: Implementation Manager
Years at this company: 8
Education: Bachelor Degree in Hotel and Tourism Management, Hong Kong Polytechnic University; MBA, Royal Holloway, University of London
Time goes fast when I’m at work.
Jannie is a very cheerful person. She has never had trouble communicating with her co-workers. During the eight years she has stayed at DHL Jannie has grown step by step.
Leadership, understanding, sales and business development, insight into client demands, negotiation skills, project management capability, problem solving, effective communication skills are just a few skills that are required to be an Implementation Manager. Throughout a person’s career all these skills are needed in order to execute work projects.
Before joining DHL, Jannie studied Hotel and Tourism Management at the Hong Kong Polytechnic University.
When she heard about DHL’s MT (Management Trainee) programme, which allows all participants a three-year rotation within DHL, she decided to give this opportunity a shot. Prior to joining the MT programme Jannie successfully completed her job interviews. During her first year at DHL, she was in the Business Development Department. With no relevant previous working experience in the area she had to learn from scratch with guidance from her co-workers. After completing the MT programme, she took the position of Group Accounts Manager for two and a half years. The position required Jannie to be able to handle a complex business network as well as to work closely with people both internally and externally. However, dealing with people has never been difficult for Jannie, whether it’s with co-workers, her supervisors or the client. Now working as the Implementation Manager, it seems like she found a job that perfectly matches her personality.
Busy but always with good timing
Though it’s busy at work, the company's management system is relatively flexible. Jannie’s experience at DHL has always been more than just finishing the work. As a management trainee she went to DHL’s Singapore and Shanghai offices. These trips were a great professional experience, Jannie also found the time to pass a MBA degree.
Work is endless. Jannie said that as long as she’s at work, time flies. However, the supply chain industry is always in a race against time. Coping with tight deadlines aside is the most important challenge according to Jannie.
There have been a number of projects when the key group account’s orders were placed on short notice. This required various departments to work very closely and sometimes the situation even required Jannie to put pressure on other departments. For most of the time, Jannie needs to understand not only the basic information about the order, but also the client’s special requirements, so that she can determine the support and coordination required between various departments. Time sensitive orders have always been challenging. It requires the Implementation Manager to strictly control timing and to have a high degree of understanding of the progress for each project. Being able to work on projects like this has enriched Jannie’s professional profile.
The opportunity to make mistakes
Appreciate people and comprehensively analyse problems objectively has been Jannie’s attitude towards work. DHL’s management system allows employees to gain new skills with a holistic approach. For many new employees, who just graduated, having enough time to learn is key when adapting to a new work situation. The MT programme provides graduates the rare opportunity to directly gain professional experience.
The new cohort of Management Trainees has just started their annual rotation, just like 8 years ago when Jannie joined DHL. She can se herself in those new trainees while they both progress and make mistakes. It is said that the best way to learn is from your mistakes; this is very true for young people. DHL provides a sound employee development system to its employees. Through this system and during Jannies 8 years at DHL she has been transformed from a graduate student to a competent professional.