Awards for Africa
The Frost & Sullivan Award for Market Penetration in Sub-Saharan Africa, presented to DHL Express, brings the total number of external honours received by the company, since January 2013, to more than 20.
These awards have been won across numerous functions; from customer service, operational quality and marketing efforts, to social impact in local communities.
“I love my people and the great work that they do,” states Charles Brewer, managing director for DHL Express sub-Saharan Africa. “These awards are a testament to their passion, speed, can-do attitude and team work.”
He adds: “An award in Mozambique, Uganda or Gabon is not just significant for that particular market. We hope that this sends out a message to our customers about our commitment to Africa and the service excellence that we have built over the last 35 years.”
Cornelis van der Waal, Frost & Sullivan business unit leader for Energy and Environment, points out: “When researching the logistics and express sector, it was obvious that DHL was making major progress in Africa through its aggressive expansion programme.”
The main driver behind DHL’s growth has been its foray into the informal retail market. Instead of establishing more of its own stores at exorbitant costs, the company sought to mimic the strategy of successful telecommunications companies and approach informal outlets that sell airtime, clothing or anything that is relevant to the market.
Starting with one store in Nairobi, it signed up over 1 800 partners across Africa and branded them as DHL outlets; training their staff and promoting them to the communities they serve. This increased the company’s footprint and acted as a key investment into these markets, thereby contributing to local economic development.
However, this unique approach is mimicked in other areas of DHL’s business, as the courier company uses innovative methods to expand and adapt …
“For example, in 12 countries DHL Express has motorbikes in its fleet for better navigation through traffic and potholed roads to improve delivery times,” Van der Waal explains. “Similarly, the company uses boat transport in countries such as the Democratic Republic of Congo, Nigeria and Tanzania to facilitate the speedy movement of shipments. It also uses walking couriers in cities such as Cape Town due to heavy traffic and to reduce its carbon footprint.”
He concludes: “DHL’s foray into the informal retail market and its partnership with postal operators has seen the company more than quadruple its retail outlets across the continent in just a few months. It is an impressive story, and one that needed to be recognised.”