MT Opportunities

Making headway in logistics

by Grace Chan

Global express services provider offers promising career path to talented newcomers

The dynamic logistics industry offers many opportunities for proactive young graduates keen to make their mark. One global company offering a structured management trainee (MT) programme targeting high-calibre, results-driven young people is TNT Express.

"Our company's philosophy is 'People-Service-Growth-Profit'. We believe that it all starts with people," says Gillian Pang, director, human resources, TNT Express Worldwide (HK) Ltd. "We focus on identifying the right talent during recruitment and providing aspiring individuals with intensive, comprehensive training, stretching their potential in order to deliver the best service to our clients. This drives our business growth and translates into profits."

TNT appreciates all its staff members, Ms Pang stresses. "For instance, our frontline staff have bimonthly breakfasts with the management team. In such occasions, they get the chance to raise any business suggestions directly with the senior management."

Comprehensive training

A responsible employer, TNT pushes learning opportunities and career development with an aim to achieve mutual growth with dedicated members of staff. In particular, the management trainee programme incorporates job attachments and hands-on responsibility, designed to hone the soft and hard skills needed in the industry, notes Ms Pang.

"We expect positive business growth over the next few years and hope to take on three to five trainees this year," she adds. Those selected for the programme undergo two years of training, rotating through all departments, including the key functions in marketing & sales, operations and customer service.

"The objective of our endeavour is to groom the company's next generation of leaders. We want our trainees to be familiarised with TNT's business, as well as to build up a network with colleagues from different divisions. This is facilitated by the programme's rotational structure," says Ms Pang. "Most importantly, we immerse them in a culture of team work that exists within the organisation."

Senior managers acting as mentors meet the trainees once a month, helping them to develop their supervisory and leadership skills while guiding them towards achieving career objectives.

"Apart from working on current business projects, the trainees are also required to deliver six-monthly presentations to our managing director and other senior executives. This provides them with a platform to learn directly from the management team," Ms Pang points out.

Wide horizons

All TNT staff members have the benefit of development opportunities. "All our employees undergo at least six training days per year, with special programmes tailored for different roles," Ms Pang says.

TNT's global presence and worldwide network promise a career that can extend far beyond Hong Kong, she adds, citing the example of a ground service agent who successfully requested relocation to Dubai and moved up to the position of operations manager there within five years. "There are many other such instances," she emphasises.

Ms Pang, who joined TNT Express South East Asia five years ago, started off running the learning and development function of the Southeast Asia regional office. Her job was then extended to the Greater China region and she relocated to Shanghai. Last year, she came back to Hong Kong to oversee the company's human resources function.

"These opportunities keep TNT staff with the company," she says, adding that most employees have been with the business for more than a decade.

Head start

Henry Yeung
management trainee 2008

The fast-moving logistics industry presents a wealth of challenges. "It demands a lot of strategic planning on the one hand, and on the other, experience in handling unforeseen circumstances such as flight delays. I am attracted to the vibrant nature of the industry," says Henry Yeung, a management trainee who signed on with TNT in 2008 after obtaining a degree in industrial engineering and technology management from the University of Hong Kong.

In his first six months of training, Mr Yeung was attached to the company's operations division, receiving on-the-job training at the warehouse, data-centre and flight-control units of the company’s airport depot. "The practical, rotational structure of the programme has allowed me to start with the basics, then exposed me to all aspects of logistics operations. It has also familiarised me with the business functions and connected me with colleagues from different departments," he notes.

Aside from learning industry knowledge and best practice, Mr Yeung has also found his problem-solving skills enhanced as a result of taking up a supervisory role during training. "I was required to make prompt decisions and
the opportunity for doing so has greatly tested my ability to be adaptable and flexible," he notes.

Mr Yeung, who has six months left of the MT programme, envisages myriad development opportunities at TNT, particularly in the operations department, and would like to move into a managerial role in future.

Moving up

Derek Chui, national business solutions manager
marketing & sales

A qualification in shipping technology and management from the Hong Kong Polytechnic University gave Derek Chui a head start in the fast-paced logistics industry and he is determined to take advantage of the continuous development opportunities on offer at TNT.

"While some of my peers are still job hopping, I've personally grown so much since joining the MT programme. Working in three major functions over the two-year period consolidated my industry know-how and confirmed my area of interest," says Mr Chui, who joined the company's management trainee programme in 2001 and is now a TNT national business solutions manager, marketing & sales division.

After completing the MT programme in 2003, he started working on small- and medium-sized business accounts. He was soon promoted to business development manager, taking care of a number of major clients. This was followed by a transfer to the regional team based in Singapore.

In August 2009, he moved into his current role, leading the business solutions, control tower and special services teams. "Promotions every two to three years keep me motivated," he points out.

Mr Chui believes that a positive mindset and a can-do attitude are the two essential qualities needed to move up in the logistics industry. "Constant challenges constitute the rewarding part of the job," he says. "I'm looking to further developing my managerial skills and in time making a contribution to the company's sustainable growth."

Taken from Career Times 22 January 2010, A14

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