DHL to Boost Head­count by 15% to Take on Ecomm Ri­vals

Lo­gis­tics ma­jor to also set up new ser­vice cen­tres and in­vest in in­fra­struc­ture here

The Economic Times - - Companies - Anir­ban.Chowd­hury@ times­group.com

Mum­bai: The DHL group plans to in­crease its In­dia head­count by 15% to take on ag­gres­sive ri­vals in the ecom­merce space such as Flip­kart and Ama­zon. DHL em­ploys about 21,000 em­ploy­ees in its four di­vi­sions DHL Ex­press, DHL Global For­ward­ing, DHL Sup­ply Chain and Blue Dart in In­dia. The group glob­ally em­ployes 500,000 peo­ple.

“Glob­ally, we have the fourth largest num­ber of em­ploy­ees in In­dia. We are start­ing new ser­vice cen­tres and are in­vest­ing in our in­fra­struc­ture heav­ily. Of course we are very heav­ily in­vest­ing in our peo­ple. It’s a very dy­namic labour mar­ket and you have to have a very strong brand as an em­ployer if you want to at­tract peo­ple,” Me­lanie Kreis, cor­po­rate board mem­ber HR, Deutsche Post DHL told ET in an in­ter­view.

It has in­creased its col­lec­tive staff strength by 25% in the last two years, she added. In In­dia, the big­gest chunk of DHL’s staff is em­ployed with Blue Dart. The com­pany has ex­pan­sion plans which in­cludes in­creas­ing its air­craft fleet size and set­ting up ware­houses.

In the last two years, ecom­merce play­ers such as Flip­kart, Ama­zon and Snapdeal, have ag­gres­sively ex­panded their busi­nesses in In­dia, set­ting up lo­gis­tics arms and com- pet­ing with tra­di­tional play­ers. Flip­kart, for in­stance, has a staff strength of more than 30,000 of which it em­ploys about 20,000 in its lo­gis­tics unit EKart.

Kreis said the com­pa­nies make con­stant ef­forts to poach from the likes of DHL.

“From the HR per­spec­tive, In­dia is a fan­tas­tic op­por­tu­nity but there are also some chal­lenges, it makes us a hunt­ing ground for other com­pa­nies. It makes us work on top­ics such as em­ployee en­gage­ment even more than in the past,” she said.

“Ama­zon said they would in­vest $1 bil­lion into In­dia. There are new ecom­merce play­ers that are look­ing at how best to po­si­tion them­selves in the lo­gis­tics mar­ket. That is some­thing we fol­low very closely in our com­pany. And when you are a new ecom­merce lo­gis­tics player who is look­ing to start oper­a­tions in In­dia, it’s prob­a­bly a safer bet to hire peo­ple who al­ready know how to do it. And we know many of our peo­ple are ap­proached. Clearly, with the en­try of new play­ers funded with a lot of pri­vate equity money, just com­pet­ing on the salary pack­age is not go­ing to do the trick,” she added.

DHL has in the past in­vested over $100 mil­lion into a pro­gramme called Cer­ti­fied In­ter­na­tional Spe­cial­ist un­der which its courier em­ploy­ees are taught they are part of a global value chain, said Kreis. Un­der another pro­gramme called ‘Umang’, it pro­vides dis­tance learn­ing courses and cer­tifi­cates to its em­ploy­ees. DHL has var­i­ous shared ser­vices pro­grammes through which its out­sources sev­eral func­tions specif­i­cally to In­dia.

“If you look at ac­count­ing pro­cesses, this is some­thing in which In­dia has had a very strong po­si­tion for a very long time,” said Kreis.

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