DHL Logistics is ahead with its planned integration with UK logistics company Exel, that its parent company Deutsche Post bought at the end of 2005 for £3.7 billion. The organisation had said it hoped to complete the integration in two to three years, but Nigel Underwood, CIO of DHL Logistics, is hoping to conclude the integration work by the end of this year. “The key thing has been that this is our integration project, not our customers,” he explains. “People have been very focused on it and we wanted it to be positive for our customers. While we have been doing it we have had some good customer wins from Toys R Us and the NHS and are really pleased that the acquisition has been positive for our customers.” Merging the sea and air freight business has meant uniting cultures and sites and aspects of it have been hugely effective, according to Underwood. Work has been carried out on the underlying infrastructure and on creating standards in the two organisations.
DHL Logistics has around 2,000 IT staff globally and uses shared services from the group as well as some work being done by third parties. Deutsche Poste has four business units, of which Logistics is the biggest by revenue. “We tend to keep customer facing operations, managed services and development work in-house,” says Underwood. “We are not complacent about the integration work, but we are certainly on track to deliver and a fair share of the work will be completed very soon.”
The next phase for Underwood and his team will be to actively engage with the new capacity and scale of the organisation, both for colleagues and customers, and then build on or extend those capabilities. “To an extent we are a barometer of global trends in areas like supply chain automation and we work closely with customers in Asia and Latin America to ensure we can move ahead together,” comments Underwood.
He says the organisation has to be aware of geopolitical aspects of global business as well, like tighter security and business continuity issues. “There are key things to take seriously, like protecting against threats and how to respond to them. That means that expectations and growing business needs are more demanding than even a year ago. In terms of business process we have to be much more transparent, or naked.”
“We are a barometer of global trends in areas like supply chain management”
– Nigel Underwood, CIO, DHL Logistics