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DHL’s ‘Strategy 2025’ will be delivered by a digital workforce

Rob Rosenberg, EVP HR and strategy at DHL Supply Chain, talks about the competitive advantage that can be delivered by a digital workforce, and how this is reflected in the company’s ‘Strategy 2025’.

The war for talent is becoming increasingly fierce. The logistics recruitment market is driven by the employee, so it is important that any logistics provider is attracting the right new people and upskilling existing employees effectively in order to develop their expertise and allow them to progress within the business.

When hiring to support digital transformation it’s important for logistics businesses to remember that the preferences of those entering the workforce today have changed, and so have the recruitment practices. Logistics businesses have a fairly unique challenge in that the workforce spans a large age range, and so the recruiting practices need to be varied enough to reflect this.

If you want to recruit a digitally literate candidate, then consider using digital channels and social networks to advertise any relevant job postings. At DHL, we source new talent in a number of ways and through a number of channels, depending on the requirement. This multi-tier approach allows us to account for different candidate personas, demographics and labour markets. It forms part of prospective employee mapping whereby, with each job posting, we articulate what the role means for the employee.

Alongside a change in the workforce, the industry itself is changing and creating new and varied opportunities which logistics companies need to effectively communicate to job seekers to attract. In particular, there is a perception that supply chain roles are largely analogue however in reality there are so many more aspects to the industry, for example we have roles in data analytics, robotics and anti-counterfeiting, to name a few.

In the UK our Talent Acquisition team has mapped out and changed the way we acquire and attract new colleagues based on candidate experience. For the Future Leaders Graduate Scheme, it is now advertised on a variety of channels relevant to a younger audience, helping to drive broader awareness. In addition, we’ve enhanced the recruitment process, making it easier to use and we’ve adopted a persona-based application process which simulates a ‘day in the life’ on the job so that candidates instantly experience what it’s like to work for DHL. This brings the role to life and has helped improve talent retention.

DIGITAL TRANSFORMATION TRAINING

The skillsets required in logistics are changing as digitalisation progresses, and a core part of responding to this challenge is ensuring that existing employees are given the opportunity and tools to upskill. In the past, digitalisation – and in particular the adoption of robotics and AI – has had its fair share of negative publicity in relation to its impact on the workforce but the reality is new technology will likely create just as many, if not more jobs, than it will eliminate. In logistics in particular digitalisation is taking away many of the physical challenges from the workforce as well as taking on some of the more menial, repetitive tasks, allowing colleagues to focus on work that is more stimulating.

Competitive advantage in the digital age lies not solely in securing the best technology or hiring digitally savvy talent but also in managing and developing existing talent to develop as the technology in the industry does. That’s why we are ensuring that our colleagues have training and development plans in place to meet our digital goals.

LOOKING AHEAD TO 2025

In October 2019, we announced a €2bn investment in digital transformation as part of our Strategy 2025 – to deliver excellence in this increasingly digital world. A large part of this is continuing our customer-centric approach to innovation which allows us to convert ideas into scalable and commercially viable products.

Key to this is our Technology Campus in Beringe, Netherlands. We call it one of our innovation lighthouses. It’s a smart warehouse which serves customers across Europe with highly automated and digitalised contract logistics solutions. The site relies on a variety of specialised tools such as processing and sorting machines, augmented reality technology, robotic arms, indoor robotic transport, and the next generation of scanning mobile devices. Our aim is to deploy smart solutions which create immediate value for the customer and for our employees.

Looking to the future, our industry will be increasingly defined by the digital landscape. Preparing for this requires an agile response and a blend of investment in technology, a modern approach to recruitment and continual investment in skills. By staying one step ahead of the needs of our customers, we can equip our workforce to succeed.

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