Change Management for a logistics giant – A global deployment


Deutsche Post World Net – DPWN is a post and telegraph (P&T) company in Germany that went through the metamorphosis from being a P&T company to one of the World’s leading logistics service providers. This was accomplished within a decade of commencing in the year 1990; they had completed their acquisitions by 2001. From 1990 till 1997, it concentrated on consolidation of the parent company, before it commenced its acquisition in 1997 and completed them in 2001. Any ambitious and cash-rich company will choose inorganic growth by acquiring companies in the similar field and DPWN is no exception to this approach. In the process of acquisition, DPWN acquired one of the World’s largest logistic companies DHL and rebranded itself as DP DHL.


One of the major issues faced by many multi-nationals while growing inorganically through acquisition is the integration of diverse processes and culture across the various companies.  The complex multi-cultural and multi-lingual environment of a multinational with diverse systems, processes and technologies leads to poor customer services; thus seriously affecting the brand image and future growth prospects of the company. DP DHL’s customers were no exception to this and they also faced the same problems; due to multi-cultural nature of the new organization. Certain Key Performance Indicators trigger CEOs to initiate Change Management campaigns in their organization to bring about a dynamic shift in the attitudes of the resources. Also, in the case of DP DHL, the management was concerned about the poor organic growth. If the organization grows at a rate less than that of the market, it means that their market share is being eroded by their competitors. The following diagram summarizes the background.















Business Case


Having identified the high-level boardroom concerns, the next logical step is to identify the strategic themes with data, and to communicate the same from top downwards to enroll participation of the people at all levels in the organization. DP DHL did a Worldwide Dipstick customer survey to identify the customer preference for their services as compared to that of the other competitors’ services. After studying the customer touch point experiences, DP DHL decided to achieve the highest customer loyalty in the logistics business. The Leadership of any corporate always looks out for a trigger that will drive excellence through Change Management. This is a good enough reason to initiate a companywide change process, as customer always has the final word and his satisfaction is the ultimate goal. And his satisfaction will be the result of an efficient business process capability and an organization’s mind-set towards its customers. One single objective across organizations initiating change management is “How can we delight our customers?”


Approach Methodology


DP DHL set the following objectives to drive excellence across 220 countries in the World, where they are present.


The excellence programme was branded as the ‘FIRST CHOICE’, as the aim of this programme was to become customer’s ‘FIRST CHOICE’ and for this the following objectives were set:


  • To become the first choice of customers worldwide in the fast growing logistics industry.
  • To engage close to 500,000 employees to improve quality and productivity and gradually move towards world class performance
  • To support in achieving the financial targets of the company


The three strategic levers chosen for the ‘FIRST CHOICE’ programme were:


  1. Superior customer experience
  2. Customer focused Process Optimization by applying lean six sigma methodology
  3. Engagement of people at all levels for excellence.


The figure below illustrates this approach:


















A 5-phase implementation plan was made which is briefly illustrated below:


Phase – 1: Identification of Improvement areas


The customer touch point perceptions for DP DHL were systematically identified and were mapped against that of competitors’ performance and customer importance rating. Through this prioritization approach, high importance and lower performance areas were identified.



Phase-2: Generation of Improvement Initiatives


After identifying the prioritized customer touch point issues, the related DP DHL processes were chosen for study and improvement. This was done applying root-cause analysis through group discussions by asking questions like “Why the customer is not satisfied in this touch point?”


Phase-3: Prioritization of Initiatives


In this phase, the laundry list of improvement areas was shortlisted, based on their impact and probability of success. These were converted into projects and assigned to a multi-disciplinary team with the appropriate domain knowledge.


Phase-4: Implementation of Improvement Initiatives 


The selected team members were trained in Lean six-sigma DMAIC approach to systematically analyze the root causes for poor process performance and to re-engineer them for better performance. The DMAIC curriculum was specifically developed for DP DHL process study application, keeping only the relevant statistical and analytical tools.


Phase-5: Controlling of Impact and re-iteration


In this phase, the benefits and the impacts on customer were measured and assessed; for evaluating whether the project met its objectives. Efforts were taken to institutionalize the process and manage the knowledge in a way that could be applied for long-term sustenance of the improvements.


Global Roll out:


Rath & Strong LLC, a Business Consulting Organization based in US, supported this Global roll out and SSA Business Solutions Pvt. Ltd., their associates, supported the Asia Pacific regional deployment of First Choice in 11 countries.
This case study was presented by DHL at SSA Convention.






About the author

Ganesh Iyer is a graduate in Chemical Engineering from Bombay University. He brings with him over 14 years of experience in the IT industry working for companies like Tata Infotech, Infosys and Bearing Point in the US. Ganesh is a Certified Project Management Professional (PMP), Six Sigma Black Belt from American Society for Quality, and a certified Lead Auditor for Information Security Management System (ISMS). He has led a number of Change Management initiatives for clients across Asia Pacific and has trained more than 500 Lean Six Sigma Belts worldwide and coached over 300 breakthrough improvement projects. He is a certified assessor for Business Excellence conforming to EFQM model and a Certified Internal Auditor for TS 16949:2002 standard.View LinkedIn Profile

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Prove that you are not a bot. * Time limit is exhausted. Please reload the CAPTCHA.