In the fast-moving logistics industry, it is crucial that information technology capabilities are constantly upgraded in order to meet customer requirements.
TNT Express' IT systems are fully geared to support the company's business goals, says Jimmy Too, information system manager, ICS, TNT Express Worldwide (HK) Ltd.
The leading provider of business-to-business express delivery services has a standardised, synchronised and user-friendly IT platform "One ICS organisation" in place for its worldwide operations.
"Our strategy is to select the best and most appropriate applications, and to develop internal applications offering a competitive advantage. We also work closely with colleagues in our business units to define and develop best practice for information security," Mr Too points out.
To ensure a secure operating environment, TNT Express' information security management system complies with the ISO17799 information security code of practice and with ISO27001 international standards.
The company also investigates, analyses and reviews any breaches of security controls and misuse of computing facilities, and develops specialised information security education and training for its staff.
"A major part of our IT development is to constantly upgrade customer applications in an effort to add value for our clients through better coordination, integration, data quality and analytical capabilities," says Mr Too.
As part of the company's service, TNT Express clients receive free customer interface technology (CIT) shipping software to assist with the reporting, sorting and costing of shipping data.
Clients can easily locate their consignments through the online TNT tracking system. They may also be notified of their consignments' whereabouts via text messages or by subscribing to the company's newly launched proactive POD service.
"The use of the latest technology, such as the GPRS system combined with a handheld device allows for faster back office processing as well as a paperless operation," Mr Too notes.
The company also invests in teleconferencing and e-invoicing as part of its green initiative to cut down on fuel consumption, carbon dioxide emissions and paper usage.
Acting on a belief that investing in people leads to improved service standards, which in turn leads to increased profits, which can then be reinvested in people, TNT Express follows a "people-service-growth-profit" philosophy.
"We have various policies to promote staff career development," says Louisa Lee, director of human resources. Ms Lee adds that the company's job grading structure is one example of its focus on people development.
Customer service staff have access to comprehensive and structured study materials and may apply for voluntary evaluation and assessment. This enhances skills and professionalism while providing opportunities for promotion.
TNT Express staff are also exposed to external training sponsorship programmes and career development schemes to further their studies and upgrade their qualifications.
"We have set up promotion and talent management schemes to identify high-performing staff and provide them with mentoring, training and job responsibilities, paving the way for career advancement," she adds.
Ms Lee believes attracting quality staff is essential for TNT Express to provide customers with outstanding service. The company employs a skills-based recruitment process, considering job and personal performance, qualifications and work experience.
TNT Express is currently recruiting candidates with qualifications in logistics, supply chain management and industry engineer management. Prospective employees should have a desire to develop a career in the courier or express delivery services industry.
To facilitate job matching, potential recruits' language and computer skills are assessed, along with their customer relations capabilities and knowledge of geography and time zones.
"The skills, knowledge and experience required depend on the specific job profile, but customer service, social responsibility, teamwork, integrity, initiative and an analytical mindset are essential for all positions," Ms Lee emphasises.
TNT induction training starts with a three-day orientation programme which introduces the company's background, products and services, human resources policy, corporate social responsibility framework, integrity policy and information system, as well as security awareness and customer issues.
Recruits then move on to a programme of up to eight weeks focusing on sales skills training, customer service and administration. It also includes departmental training on job skills and know-how. Structured on-the-job training is recorded in a logbook detailing each employee's personal record.