Meet Eric Gantier, DHL’s new sector president Engineering, Manfacturing & Energy
DHL’s new president for the Engineering, Manufacturing and Energy sector discusses major trends and his strategic approach to collaborating with a dynamic group of industries.
When Delivered. caught up with Eric Gantier at the end of 2019, he was just about to board a plane from Mexico, exactly six years after arriving to take up the post of Country Manager for DHL Global Forwarding, Mexico. The plane was taking Gantier back to Europe, for the beginning of the next chapter in a quarter-century-long DHL career, but importantly the journey also kicked-off a round of strategic discussions with many sector customers across the world.
Gantier’s career began in his native France, with a variety of sales roles for the Global Forwarding business, but it has since taken him all over the world. For more than a decade, his home has been Latin America, including a spell as Country Manager for Argentina before the move to Mexico.
“Working in Latin America has been hugely fulfilling,” says Gantier, not least because his time in the region has been one of significant growth for many customers. Operating in fast-changing, emerging markets also brings its own special challenges. “The infrastructure across the region is not as well developed as in some other parts of the world. Securityis a constant challenge for our customers, and also customs processes – which are a big part of what we do here – can be extremely difficult to navigate,” he says.
As Gantier joins DHL’s Engineering, Manufacturing and Energy sector as the lead he will be working with industries he already knows very well. “One of my responsibilities in Latin America was managing our industrial projects unit in the region,” he says. “And that naturally involves a lot of work with key players in the sector, especially the energy industry.”
The big global engineering companies manage complex global supply chains, and that has made them important customers for DHL’s broader freight-forwarding services in Latin America, too. “Companies like ABB, Baker Hughes, 3M and Caterpillar are active all over the world,” says Gantier. “So of course, we had a lot of work with them in Argentina, in Mexico and across the entire region.”
From execution to strategy
The move to DHL’s Customer Solutions and Innovation unit presents exciting opportunities to engage with customers in more strategic ways, says Gantier. “When you are a country manager, a lot of your focus is on execution,” he says. “You want to provide your customers with the best price, the best productivity and the best quality.”
Getting those basic elements right is an essential foundation, he adds, but it is only part of the potential value that an organization like DHL can offer. “You have to execute correctly, because otherwise nothing is possible,” he says. “But in my conversations with customers, I see that they would also like us – as experts in logistics – to help them challenge their status quo and become a strategic partner. They want us to come to them with other options, other possibilities, ideas and innovations even beyond logistics.”
Innovation and disruption
Engineering, manufacturing and energy companies are taking a fresh look at their supply chains and logistics processes against a background of change in their industries. “Right now, one major area of disruption facing many of our customers is deconglomeration,” says Gantier. “Big, diversified engineering groups are spinning out divisions to create smaller, more focused businesses. That creates a lot of uncertainty. Does the new business manage its logistics independently, or does the parent organization maintain a central supply chain function? Do they want to keep these activities in-house, or outsource?”
Then there’s technology. “All our customers are talking about digitalization and innovation,” says Gantier. “They don’t want to miss the boat on big emerging technological opportunities, but many are worried that they aren’t ready to capitalize on them.”
The chance to bring expertise from across the DHL organization into these exchanges significantly expands the scope and value of his conversations with engineering, manufacturing and energy customers, concludes Gantier. “Coming from the Global Forwarding side, it’s really exciting for me to be able to work with our colleagues from Supply Chain and Express to find innovative ideas, technologies and new service offerings.” I highly value these types of discussions with our customers, they ‘grease the wheels’ of growth for the sectors. I look forward to meeting many more customers at the upcoming Global Engineering, Manufacturing and Energy Conference in London this March.
“For customers in the industrial manufacturing and energy sectors, our global conference is a great platform for exchanging with industry peers and logistics experts and discussing forward-looking concepts that drive ongoing and future growth,” he says. “Our theme this year centers around ‘Supply Chains in the Age of the Customer’, and I anticipate some excellent discussions with customers on the role of supply chain management and logistics in this new era where B2B companies are expected to deliver the same experience as consumer brands. A lot can be learned from the cross-pollination of ideas from these industry sectors.” — Jonathan Ward
Published: January 2020
Use this link to register for DHL’s Global EME Conference 2020 Committed to Excellence:
Supply Chains in the Age of the Customer March 9 -11, London, U.K.
Images: DHL; Adobe Stock