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An Over View ON THE DHL Company

DHL has had the opportunity to make a strong image with the public through an intensive occurrence on the streets and a daring and smart brand. This has meant that image has been maintained with reduced advertising, as DHL are advertising themselves and new services when the public see their fleet of vehicles on the road. Together with brilliant sponsorship of events such as Method 1, this has resulted in the general public belief of DHL being truly a brand that is strong and reliable - two essential traits in the logistics industry.

However, there are still some areas for DHL to boost its communication strategy. By perhaps communicating employees a concept of the success of the service centre they work in, they could have a greater sense of belonging to DHL. Also, there might perhaps be more opportunity for DHL staff to communicate to higher degrees of management if there is a need to, alternatively than going right through various degrees of the hierarchy. The revamping of the business magazine has been a method that DHL has combated this, by taking the ideas of those towards the top of the hierarchy with those in the bottom. However, using this method in a more work-related manner, communication may be increased.

DHL Express

DHL is a courier service that happens to be dynamic in more than 220 countries round the world and utilizes some 300, 000 employees. Therefore good and clear communication throughout the organisation is essential. DHL's success can only just be achieved if a consistent communication is shipped throughout the whole company. By aligning the concept given internally to the meaning it conveys to its different external stakeholders, DHL has built a brand that is solid, respectable, and steady. This is all the more impressive given that DHL has been taken over by another organisation-Deutsche Post - in the past 10 ten years.

DHL's mission assertion has four main themes which contribute towards reaching the 'DHL Vision'. This perspective is that the company is respected by customers as "the preferred global exhibit and logistics spouse, leading the industry in conditions of quality, success and market share". The four main parts of the mission statement cover issues such as product quality, quality of staff, returns of the business enterprise (again the three relate with different stakeholders), and lastly DHL's role as a dependable corporate citizen. Argenti (2003) argues that "businesses need to consider their commercial communication effort as manifested in the company's vision and mission declaration". Therefore, chances are these goals are in the centre of how DHL organises its marketing communications effort. For instance, DHL items towards its multi-cultural heritage and the power of the company to find alternatives at all levels of the business enterprise process. They are undeniably important possessions to the business but are only useful if indeed they can be incorporated into an efficient communication model.

Internal Communication

Given the type of the logistics industry, there is a need for a precise route for text messages to be delivered promptly. It comes as no surprise to see DHL's UK hierarchy is one that is well-balanced and clear. Ken McCall, the MD of DHL Express UK sits atop the hierarchy. Next there is the board of nine Directors, who are reported to immediately by the procedures field director. He profits his information from the top of every of the 39 service centres in the UK. Inside the service centre, the hierarchy has five levels, but cross-communication is much easier, especially amongst the bottom three levels. There is a mind of the service centre, who manages a supervisor. Then there are the office personnel and the sales team. You will find then older couriers before the lowest level made up of couriers and warehouse personnel.

At the top of the hierarchy, DHL Express is defined out similar to a pyramid network, for the reason that the 39 different service centres each are accountable to the same person. However, after breaking this network down, each service centre seems closer to resembling a chain network. Argenti (2003) is convinced that part of the situation in many companies is the fact that "senior professionals simply do not entail lower-level employees generally in most decisions. " This is a challenge when discussing the complete of DHL Exhibit, as goals and strategies are imposed upon service centres. However, where DHL excels, is the close connections and communication between professionals and employees within the service centres. Within the warehouse floor, professionals, couriers, and operatives are all in continuous communication. Whether it's casual or formal, this communication is constantly building romantic relationships and trust. This may be helped by the idea of DHL adopting the 'carrot rule', that involves giving staff constant praise to encourage them. Although there has only been limited research on this concept, from my experience, the administrator always tries to provide some compliment when speaking with you, even when letting you know that something is incorrect, he will reassure you after, and this does indeed aid how much attention personnel pay to managers. It is obvious from the way that individuals converse from the working environment e. g. in the canteen, that personnel trust managers and speak to them the same as they would to other couriers for example. Although on the warehouse floor communication pertaining to work is generally one-way, managers usually do not use authoritarian language. They will phrase instructions in such a way that it seems they are asking visitors to do things somewhat than telling them to. This ensures for the simple running of the business from an everyday perspective. Cell phones are an essential tool employed by managers and couriers to assist this, as it allows for more direct communication and gives couriers the capability to have the ability to find solutions to problems quicker, by contacting managers.

When discussing furthering the goals of the company and not simply increasing the working atmosphere, Argenti (2003) argues that "communication must be considered a way two-way process". Top management introduced the thought of "Business Tuesdays" into the warehouse at DHL around a year earlier. At each warehouse, an employee consultant (generally a mature courier) heads meetings with any employees who want to discuss issues within the work area. Any issues are then dealt with between management and the worker representative. Although this is not technically immediate face-to-face communication it offers employees a normal meeting where they can speak confidently, and associations with managers are not harmed. The regular nature of the conferences means that communication is ongoing meaning employees can get updates at subsequent meetings concerning how their ideas have been considered on. Although feedback on this activity has been positive, there are still some employees who feel detached from mature management.

Nearer the very best of the hierarchy, a member of the plank aims to visit the centre at least once a month to be able to gain an update on performance. This 'hands-on' procedure can give employees perspective about how a centre works with into the national hierarchy. Also, it means that the director strengthens the ties between the centre and the panel, as he/she is no more only a face on the wallchart. That is important because there is not necessarily much scope for communication across service centres. When problems happen communication must travel up-wards before being fed back down. Therefore it is up to the table to act as the hyperlink between centres. It appears that this authoritarian procedure slows down the procedure of rectifying problems.

One method advised by Argenti (2003) to improve internal marketing communications is through inner branding. It is especially relevant given that Argenti believes inner branding to be "critical when an organisation is considering changes such as a merger. " In 2001, DHL was taken over by Deutsche Post. However, given the effectiveness of the DHL brand, it was preserved. However, top strategic decisions made by Deutsche Post now influence DHL. For example, the "First Choice" programme applied by Deutsche Post was made to make DHL the public's first choice courier. Posters about the programme adorn the wall space at work and canteen, and on them, is the Deutsche Post custom logo. These posters highlight just how employees should operate and what attributes they should show and point out to employees the role that they can play in making DHL first choice. This may instil a sense of satisfaction and belonging into employees regarding DHL's principal position in the market. Methods like this help to strengthen the position between how employees operate and the visions of your company's CEO.

A further way DHL make an effort to align the behaviour of employees to the company's goals, is by promoting the 'seven key ideals' that employees should take into account. These values are influenced into employees during training even though in work - even showing up on screensavers on company personal computers. This comprehensive strategy ensures that these are taken take note of. However, the impression I acquired is that these values only appear to maintain place to give DHL a personality for employees to align themselves with.

One informal way DHL communicates with the whole hierarchy is through bi-monthly magazine "Over the dot". Recently the mag has been revamped to focus more on lower level employees, for example, their pastimes unemployed, in order to try and improve a sense of a 'DHL community'. It has introduced a new feature whereby a worker has the chance to interview a Director. Also, the new feature carries a regular column from Ken McCall, allowing him to talk right to all employees. The mag also stimulates employees to contribute to the magazine. This could allow more senior management direct perception into a general sense of how employees experience DHL.

External Communications

The two most important functions for a corporation to consider when thinking of external communications will be the image these are portraying, and the identification that they want to create for themselves. There are obvious differences between your two. Regarding to Argenti (2003), "A company's individuality is the visual manifestation of the company's actuality as conveyed through the organization's name, emblem and all other tangible pieces of information created by the organisation and communicated to a number of constituencies". Out of this, the constituencies of the organisation then form a graphic of what they perceive the company to be about. Creating a solid image through branding can eliminate the dependence on advertising heavily, thus saving money. DHL do that very well. The essential design of their company logo and bold colorings imply that the DHL brand is very recognisable. DHL have made their vehicles recognisable by painting them in the 'DHL yellow'. The huge level of DHL vehicles on the highway means that there must be great familiarity between the public and the company. DHL have realised this and required the decision not to advertise on tv set. Instead, they have publicized new services on the trunk with their vans. This is a means of attaining free publicity because of this service, and which makes it eye finding and catching as it varies from the usual yellowish covering of the vans (the back of the vehicle is focused on advertising).

The DHL website is incredibly successful in guiding people to specific services. Customers can even check how much a product will be to ship without having to contact anybody, saving time for both the customer and DHL. The web site also gives a range of ways to contact DHL and clear guidelines to each service centre. The website supplements DHL's selection of advertising well, and holds through the brand image by being set out in the strong yellowish and red associated with DHL.

One way to exercise some control over the way people perceive a brandname is through sponsorship. Companies may become synonymous with certain happenings through sponsorship and concentrate on certain marketplaces. DHL's decision to sponsor Formula 1 is a clever one for the reason that it is a worldwide event. Wolfgang Giehl (Director of Corporate Advertising and Branding) said, "You want to show that you will be fast only when performance, strength, and dependability are finely tuned and all team members yank together". The sponsorship had not been only successful from an external point of view, but also internally. It led to the release of the 'Pole Position' campaign. This promoted to internal staff that DHL were "at the front of the grid", but that this hard work needed to be carried on to stay ahead of competitors. This targeted to ensure that team members worked well mutually. This strengthened the uniformity of messages running right through DHL both internally and externally - something that Munter, Aristotle, and Argenti all imagine to be vital to effective corporate communications.

Each service centre has a sales force whose job includes cold calling clients and maintaining human relationships with existing clients. Although a difficult way to primarily attract custom, the small size of the sales team mean that interactions are designed with clients, as it is the same person ringing each time. Which means that there is generally one channel of communication linking DHL and clients. Therefore, there must be no distortion of the note conveyed as the same person is both delivering, and obtaining information from the client.

Conclusions and Recommendations

The manner in which DHL's hierarchy is defined out is suited to the type of the logistics industry. Information can be cascaded down quickly and proficiently, before eventually slipping in to the hands of these to whom it is pertinent, saving time. For example, it is not a use for the sales team to be briefed on a big shipment coming. Internally, mobile phones act as a good link between managers in the warehouse and couriers. These work very well as drivers are able to be redirected when managers know there's a problem. One point that might be improved however is designed for couriers to contact each other so they do not have to go through the manager. Cell phones also allow for the couriers to get hold of managers to alert of any uncharacteristically large pick-ups, therefore the warehouse staff may then make room to them. In offices, the utilization of an internal e-mail system means that any employee can be searched for in a corporation address book. This allows for users to quickly find an address for a person they have to contact in order to save time. The opinions I've gained is that system is effective and is simple to use. Also, this ensures that there is no mistranslation of the initial message as there might be if phones needed to be used. However, there is absolutely no way to e-mail more than one level up the hierarchy, something that might be looked at.

One way that inner communications could perhaps be improved, is for lower degrees of staff to get more information on how the service centre is operating. Despite being given plenty of information on schemes employed by DHL on the canteen wall and on the board, performance figures aren't openly published. Personnel may feel more immersed in the company, feel a sense of delight, and moreover, trust the particular professionals are doing if they had such understanding.

Externally, DHL have found an extremely cost-efficient way to advertise. Despite FedEx working regular TV campaigns, DHL are probably as well known a corporation (in Europe) and they use this brand awareness to their benefits. Although effective, this method does not give DHL much of a personality. Folks are well aware of the brand, but might not have much idea of what it means. On the other hand however, this lack of personality could work to DHL's advantage as there is no scope for just about any message the business transmits to be distorted. The adverts on the vans only summarize services and can't be perceived in various ways by different people. DHL have used sponsorship cleverly to cover for this insufficient personality, as they have got been able to regulate the image portrayed by them, using the occurrences they sponsor.

Overall, DHL Express has an extremely successful and well-run hierarchy, with clear pathways for messages to run through. The text messages and images promoted internally and externally are incredibly strongly aligned. DHL has prevailed in creating an identity that is used in a open public image. This is undoubtedly a significant reason for their success on the market.

Appendix 1 Pyramid Network of DHL hiearchy

Board of Directors (nine associates)

Operations Field Director

Service Centre 3

Service Centre 1

Service Centre 2

Service Centre 39

Ken McCall

MD DHL Exhibit UK

Leading to chain network of individual service centre lay out in Appendix 2

Appendix 2

Centre Manager

Centre Supervisor

Courier Manager

Warehouse Manager

Office Staff

Sales Team

Senior Couriers


Warehouse Staff

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