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Saturday October 1st, 2022

DHL Sri Lanka reinforces its commitment to delivering excellence

Dimithri Perera, Country Manager, DHL Keells (Pvt) Ltd

Amidst the challenges, DHL sees an opportunity to deepen its commitment to employees, customers, and communities.

A skilled CEO with over 29 years of commercial experience in managing revenue growth in fast-paced business environments, Dimithri Perera, Country Manager, DHL Keells (Pvt) Ltd – a unit of the global logistics giant providing courier, package delivery and express mail services, DHL – shares insights into managing the unfolding economic challenges.

What challenges confront DHL because of the unfolding economic crisis in the wake of a prolonged global pandemic? How has DHL responded to these challenges?

Since the start of the pandemic, we had experienced market conditions with fluctuating disruptions, and with the recent outbreak in China, this was more apparent. The most crucial short-term challenges we had to confront were demand shocks and surges and supply and cargo capacity shortages. Nevertheless, despite these extreme challenges, we found ways to deliver and support the world’s recovery as the enabler of global trade.

At DHL, institutional memory, forecasts, and close contact with customers helped us meet the challenges head-on with firm footing. One of DHL’s crucial decisions was to focus on preventing layoffs which proved to be the right approach. Longstanding cultivation of employee skills and investment enabled our employees to tackle novel challenges as quickly as they unfolded. Moreover, our global reach offered an added advantage in the areas of fast learning and safely keeping our operations going through the pandemic. Optimistically, these vital enablers strengthened us to achieve greater resilience during the Pandemic.

What are the ingredients for building a culture of resilience?

At DHL, we have built resilience into the bedrock of our culture. A culture of resilience empowers the bottom line of any business, creating a stable and confident business ecosystem that can touch the heart and soul of every employee.

Therefore, to build a culture of resilience, an enterprise should focus on effective communication among people. They must empower employees to communicate openly, share concerns, and propose remedies. DHL’s focus on communication includes conducting “Deep Dives” with teams to share information, monitor events, and measure potential risks. Secondly, an enterprise should focus on stakeholder feedback. By engaging with customers, suppliers, and other stakeholders, we can build strategic alliances that can weather difficult times.

Thirdly, it must align its operations with broader Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) goals. DHL has developed an ethical working environment that aligns with the values and standards of our customers and partners and the principles of ESG. This strategy enabled us to eliminate potential conflict and disruption and engage in tactics that protect the fundamentals of our operations.

Finally, a business must have structures that give it the flexibility to be nimble, effectively manage change and recover from market disruptions faster. At DHL, we encourage all employees to lead with head, heart, and guts by allowing them to be entrepreneurial and granting them autonomy to represent our organization to deliver better-quality service to our customers.

How are you approaching employee well-being?

Employee safety is the top priority for DHL. During the pandemic, we formed a task force very early to ensure that we adhered to the safety protocols of international and local health authorities. We also took steps to commit beyond the physical safety of our employees by engaging with their mental well-being and financial security. When employees worldwide feared losing jobs amid economic shutdowns, DHL promised not to lay off employees and to continue paying their salaries in full.

These pledges carried weight, and we continue to provide a safety net during the prevailing crisis. To ease the emotional burdens of our people, the company provided supermarket vouchers and dry ration packs to employees. Also, with the fuel crisis, the company never pressured staff to report to work but allowed them to report to work with transportation benefits and facilities. Most importantly, we understand the challenges of juggling the demands of caring for their families and domestic duties while working from home.

Through the years, our response to handling crises has always been about strengthening the foundations of trust and serving others. Challenges can be an opportunity to deepen our commitment to the community of employees, customers, and humanity overall by helping them navigate through challenging times, as we have done at DHL.

What is your approach to strategy to reimagine the company for the future and unlock growth opportunities?

“Strategy 2025 – Delivering Excellence in a Digital World” is our approach to facing crucial trends impacting the logistics industry in recent years: Globalization, Digitalization, E-Commerce, and Sustainability.

We will build on these trends to harness the potential for long-term growth within our core businesses, simultaneously stepping up the digital transformation already underway across the entire group. We believe that future growth will come from a consistent focus on our profitable core business and that digital technology is a great enabler.

Therefore, our strategy is very well positioned for future growth. Moreover, our experience over the years shows that we are particularly successful whenever we use our resources and innovative capabilities to drive our core logistics business. Also, with a balanced portfolio, we are well positioned to achieve sustained profitable growth and shape the future of logistics