Interview with Mr. Imran Shaikh Managing Director, DHL Global Forwarding Pakistan
Tell us something about your professional background?
I was born and brought up in Karachi and then went to America for further education. I did my undergraduate studies from California State University in Southern California. Two weeks before graduation, a local job fare was held where I was hired by Expediters; a Freight forwarding American based company. I worked there for almost 5 years and after that I went to Exel which was later on acquired by DHL. My professional background is entirely associated with the logistic industry.
What are your responsibilities in DHL?
DHL is part of Deutsche Post DHL. Globally DHL has 3 business units in which the first unit is DHL express which is the courier division. The second business unit is DHL global forwarding; the global leader in air and ocean freight markets. We transport goods and merchandise to an agreed destination, at a customer specific agreed delivery time and price, providing customized solutions for major logistics projects, as well as comprehensive customs services. The third and last unit is DHL supply chain which is primarily warehousing distribution. I am heading the DHL global forwarding unit and the supply chain which also comes under DHL global forwarding in Pakistan.
What does DHL stands for and how did the company start?
DHL is a Deutsche Post company founded in 1969 by Adrian Dalsey, Larry Hillblom, and Robert Lynn; named after the initials D, H & L of the founders’ last names. Today, it stands tall as the global market leader of the international express and logistics industry. Presently, DHL provides international shipping of documents and freight as well as contract logistics and also offers a full range of customized solutions.
What are the strengths of the company?
Today, DHL’s international network links more than 220 countries and territories worldwide. DHL offers unparalleled expertise in express, air and ocean freight, overland transport, contract logistics solutions as well as international mail services. We provide courier and express services to business and private customers. DHL offers integrated services and tailored, customer-focused solutions for managing and transporting letters, goods and information. Quality supply chain services around the world make DHL a global market leader. More than 500,000 employees operating in more than 200 countries send samples, finished product and sales support materials daily.
How do you compare or differentiate yourself with your competitors?
We are number 1 in the world. The parameters which differentiate us from the rest are the number of tons and the number of containers we move and the number of square footage of warehousing space that we have and operate, which can only be achieved because of our un-parallel services & satisfaction.
What is the present situation of logistic industry in Pakistan?
Even during this period of crisis, it is still the best time to function. We take it as an opportunity and at the same time we are helping the economy, the country, the exporters and the importers by assisting them in their respective trades. It can be anyone from an importer who is operating from a small factory or a warehouse to a large manufacturer who imports or exports on a huge scale.
What are the major problems faced by this industry?
The major challenges of the logistics industry include infrastructural problems and equipment issues which include the number of trucks available in the market, the road infrastructure etc. These issues however, are also present in other countries.
How do you see the future of DHL (global forwarding) in Pakistan?
The future of this unit is extremely bright. The reason why I believe this is because our success depends on our customers. The forecasting is normally done according to what they tell us. If they see prosperous opportunities for their exports and the imports on their raw material then this also influences our success rate. We have invested immensely in our offices and warehouse infrastructures due to this reason. These are all long term investments. Our CEOs who were visiting a couple of months ago announced a large investment in Pakistan. There is plenty of growth in the country and we are here to help facilitate both medium enterprises and large industries.
Why should a local company choose DHL for its shipments?
A local company should choose DHL because of our reach and network. Our shipment services are spread across New York, London, Shanghai, and Hong Kong and also to areas like Congo. We have the infrastructure, the people and the network. From 1969 till date, the approach and dedication has remained the same. Our success has always been linked with providing excellent services to our customers.
What is the target audience of DHL in Pakistan?
Our target audience includes small business enterprises to large companies, corporations whether they are multinational companies known as global giants or local companies. All these are our targets whether they ship 1 kilo or 1000 kilos of freight. Our network has all the required support. Before and after support i.e. before you ship or after you ship is also a part of our services. This is the reason why we have the largest market share globally. We are the leaders because our service makes all the difference.
How much work force you have in Pakistan and what are the facilities given to the employees?
We have 400-450 employees working for DHL Global Forwarding in Pakistan. We have great health coverage for our employees. We also have general mechanism and policies in place which are according to the regional and global guidelines employed in Singapore and Karachi. DHL has become a brand acknowledged for personal commitment, proactive solutions and local strength. At the heart of DHL’s success are its employees who focus on the customer’s needs and provide individually customized solutions.
Who are your chief auditors and what was your annual revenue last year?
Our chief auditors are Ferguson. In 2009, the DHL generated revenue was more than 46 billion Euros. We are a publically traded company & details of our finances are available on our website.
What are the major problems you are facing from the government or the regulatory authorities?
We provide services to the Government of Pakistan which makes them one of our pioneer customers. At times, they also help us facilitate our business and we find them very cooperative. We play our role and fulfill our responsibilities and the Government does the same. We have a great business relationship with the Government of Pakistan.
Do you think that Pakistani companies prefer using DHL over other companies which are cheaper?
Just like any other business, this is also a competitive field. Our rates and services are very viable. We also have competitors who provide great services so basically it depends upon the customers and shippers to choose us or our competitors. Of course, we want to be an organization that achieves success by delivering excellent services to our customers.
What business opportunities DHL provides to young entrepreneurs or investors in Pakistan?
Our services and products are tailored for both a shipper that may ship 100 containers a month or import or export one container per month. If the customer wants to ship something which is less than a container like a pallet, our network helps them reach their customers anywhere around the globe. We offer services both for a new investor who has just started a business two weeks before or an entrepreneur who has been in the business for about 50 years.
What is your future plan and vision?
Firstly, I want DHL to be the employer of choice in Pakistan. We are making further progress and are also adding to the community we live in. We are committed in using our core strengths in such a way that local communities and societies benefit from our activities. The protection of our environment is another key part of our corporate strategy. We also have plans to open additional offices in the coming months.