Darko Babić, General Manager DHL: Logistics CompanyFor The World

Our customers need efficiency and cost control, incorporated with excellent quality of service

By 2025, DHL transportation must have 70 per cent of our own first and last mile services, with clean pick-up and delivery solutions e.g. by bike and electric vehicle. Deutsche Post DHL Group will reduce all logistics-related emissions to net zero by 2050.DHL has available the largest logistics capacities for delivering packages as express shipments around the world. To what extent has efficiency increased in previous years thanks to the use of new technologies?

– In our 2020 Strategy we have defined our vision as being “The logistics company for the world”, stating that our mission is “Excellence. Simply delivered”. Innovation is alive and well in Deutsche Post DHL. Our two innovation centres, in Germany and Singapore, are places where customers, academics, partners and logistics experts meet to discuss the future of transportation and logistics, inspired by visions and the latest trends, combining ideas and new technologies to service the growing needs of our customers. And their need is efficiency and cost control, incorporated with excellent quality of service. We are in the service industry and without solutions to satisfy the demands from various industries we will not realise our strategy. For example, in supply chain and logistics we are looking into how we can find the best use of IOT, robotics and drones for timecritical deliveries, “smart glasses” for warehouse assembly-lines and product picking. DHL has invested a great deal of time and money into the development of delivery drones, and over the last few years has run several trials targeting isolated communities on small islands and in mountainous regions. Its latest autonomous effort involves not a flying machine, but rather a ground-based robot by the name of PostBOT. If you’re a mail delivery worker, the good news is that PostBOT isn’t out to replace you, rather it wants to act as your buddy, accompanying you on your rounds, carrying all the mail and, importantly, freeing up your hands so you can more easily deal with letters and packages on the move. In Germany we already have ‘packstations’ to simplify our customers’ lives. We have looked beyond efficiency and set clear strategic goals in corporate social responsibility.

The two DHL innovation centres, in Germany and Singapore, are places where the future of transportation and logistics are discussed, inspired by visions and the latest trends, combining ideas and new technologies to service the growing needs of our customers

Is Serbia in a position, in terms of its infrastructure, to be able to keep pace with DHL’s standards and procedures worldwide?

– DHL in Serbia is integrated into DHL’s network, systems and procedures. When a new product is introduced, it is our duty to our customers to deploy it locally. Our customers are aware of our capabilities worldwide, browsing the internet or using the service abroad, so their obvious question is “When can I use this benefit in Serbia?”. For us, this is a matter of complying with local legislation and having the resources and infrastructure on our market to introduce the latest transport and logistics developments. The best example is the e-commerce revolution that is taking place all around the world. Consumers in Serbia are not observers, but rather active participants, both as buyers and sellers.

How significant is e-Commerce to your operations?

– Whenever discussion turns to the involvement of the internet or digitisation in the lives of Serbian citizens, I can only think of the hundreds of daily shipments that are imported with goods bought online. E-commerce increased our inbound volumes in Serbia by 30 per cent last year and contributes 25 per cent of our total outbound parcel business. Our sales reps are talking to customers all around Serbia on a daily basis, helping them set up their online shops for international shipping. Such is the demand from SMEs in Serbia that we are planning educational workshops for e-commerce in many Serbian cities, together with the Ministry of Trade, Tourism and Telecommunications and the Chamber of Commerce & Industry of Serbia. Entrepreneurs want and need this sales channel.

DHL

With all the transformation of work caused by the implementation of technological innovations, we will still need people. And we need to educate them – both our employees and our customers

World trends support the claim that new technologies and responsibility towards clients will be decisive factors in the growth of your sector. What is DHL doing on that front?

– The answer to this question is education. We have developed a learning and development programme for our employees that enables every single employee to perform as a Certified International Specialist. This knowledge platform, incorporated in our Focus 2020 strategy, has done wonders in terms of motivating DHL staff and embedding our customer-centric culture. More than 100,000 employees of DHL Express worldwide have been trained over the years, which enabled staff empowerment through knowledge. I am really excited about this programme, as I was one of the first managers to attend training sessions in the UK and I witnessed the positive effect on the daily work of our employees in both the EU and Serbia.

The Serbian Government has announced that digitisation and e-Commerce will be priorities in the period ahead. What are the high priority economic sectors from your perspective and where do you see DHL in that?

– Implementation is the key word. There is demand with entrepreneurs, both small and medium-sized, on this subject, and we see that the Government has recognised it and is ready to act. Digitisation will definitely have a positive impact on our business. Digitisation and e-commerce will impact on all segments of industry. Look at the numbers of social media users and their understanding of the positive impacts of real time two-way communication. The Millennials are known for their increased use and familiarity with digital technologies and contemporary communication tools. If companies are not prepared to engage in these conversations, well they are in for a surprise. Not only will they fail in terms of revenue and profit, but their reputation will also come into question. DHL in Serbia looks into these subjects very seriously.

DHL Serbia marked 25 years of operations in the country last year. You deserve great recognition not only for achieving this anniversary, but also for persisting in fighting for DHL, despite objective and subjective difficulties, to achieve the status it has today. Which stages of DHL Serbia’s development proved decisive?

– The transport and logistics industry is challenging and rewarding. An individual player without a team is unthinkable in our line of work. The success of DHL in Serbia is a result achieved by all employees that have been and remain part of our success story. I am sincerely thankful to all of them for their high motivation to make our company in Serbia what it is today.