New miles

by Isabella Lee

Connie Tang
general manager
DHL Express Hong Kong
Photo: Courtesy of DHL Express Hong Kong

Investment in smart infrastructure keeps logistics giant in the lead

As an important geographical point with an advanced telecommunications system, extensive transportation network and excellent facilities including a world class international airport, Hong Kong stands at the doorway to the robust economy of China, making it the ideal trans-shipment hub for intra-Asia Pacific express cargo.

The recent expansion of DHL's Central Asia Hub (CAH) further strengthens the leading position of the long-established port, a vote of confidence for the long-term development of worldwide logistics industries in Hong Kong.

"Asia Pacific continues to be a growth driver for DHL Express and the expansion of the CAH is aimed at meeting this growth in intra-Asia and intra-regional trade," notes Connie Tang, general manager, DHL Express Hong Kong. "With dedicated air express cargo facilities, DHL will be able to grow in step with our customers' demand and continue providing top-notch services to customers."

Substantial growth

Completed five years ahead of schedule, the CAH, which is located at the Hong Kong International Airport, has doubled in size to 35,000 square metres.

The CAH facility comprises an army of "singulators" which arrange parcels in a single-queue; an advanced six-sided scanning system covering all sides of a consignment; and a shoe sorter infrastructure that assigns shipments to destination-specific chutes.

In a bid to enhance customer service, the CAH also features a purpose-built Quality Control Centre (QCC) which is linked to the Asia Pacific Quality Control Centre in Singapore and those in 41 other Asian cities, 60 gateways and 300-plus service centres. The QCC incorporates a security network of 200 CCTV cameras, X-ray equipment and an access control system, allowing real-time monitoring of flight uplift and landing and in turn enabling DHL to proactively notify customers of any flight delays or cancellations.

As the first large-scale automated express hub of its kind in Asia Pacific. The CAH will enable shipments to be sorted more efficiently before being dispatched.

"DHL's total investment in the greater China region to date amounts to US$1.3 billion, which includes the US$210 million CAH, a project completed five years ahead of schedule. This underlines the growth that DHL is experiencing in Asia Pacific, and clearly reflects Hong Kong's leading position in our extensive network. As of 2007, DHL Hong Kong has already achieved a double-digit growth for six consecutive years," Ms Tang says.

People development

To enhance efficiencies and give more flexibility to its employees, DHL implements an electronic system capable of performing a range of human resources functions including recruitment, administration, career including management as well as training and development.

In particular, an eRecruitment system allows internal and external candidates to apply for jobs by filling in online application forms through a centralised platform. DHL managers are informed on all possible candidates as the system generates email notifications to the hiring manager, saving time redistributing documents. The sophisticated system also provides a database of candidates, acting as a quickly accessible talent pool when needed.

To offer staff a step up, DHL's eLearning system hosts more than 200 training and development programmes, helping employees to develop their knowledge and enhance their career opportunities. "The system allows employees to take these programmes anytime, anywhere and most importantly, at their own pace," Ms Tang emphasises.

As for succession planning, a Motiv8 system electronically captures all the relevant information, such as academic backgrounds, employees' career history in DHL and past performances, at a glance. Such data facilitates annual panel discussion among senior executives and helps to develop a strategic picture of DHL's succession planning needs. Once the decision is made, the management team and HR staff can retrieve data from the system for potential successors to fill up vacancies in a timely manner.

Recipient of the "Best use of technology award" at the Hong Kong HR Awards 2008, DHL has set a new benchmark for the logistics industry. The accolade also demonstrates the company's commitment in nurturing a creative and talented workforce.

"We have been receiving positive responses from our employees. They all welcome the change and recognise the greater efficiencies and flexibility," Ms Tang concludes.


Taken from Career Times 17 October 2008, p. B2
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