The world of international commerce is a bustling one, with businesses constantly striving to stay connected with their customers across borders. In order to do this, they need to be able to deliver products quickly and reliably. This can be a challenge, as there are many factors that can affect the speed and reliability of international shipping, such as customs clearance, transit times and weather conditions.
To deliver consistently great customer service, businesses need to have an expansive knowledge of their product, believe in the product, be able to discuss features and use cases in an insightful way and show the customers how the product can benefit them. They also need to respond quickly to customer queries. Also, businesses need to adapt their products to cultural differences, linguistic particularities, local expectations, purchasing power and habits and legal requirements to make their product accessible to people across markets.
Transportation, logistics, supply chain and storage are all critical components of international commerce. Businesses need to be able to deliver products quickly and reliably to stay connected with their customers across borders.
In this fast-paced environment where change is constant, Chitra Shinde stands at the forefront of driving transportation, logistics, supply chain and storage solutions for a global company DHL Express as the Vice President of Operations. As a trailblazer in the industry, Chitra spearheads efforts to continuously improve businesses’ operations, delivering efficient and seamless solutions that help them thrive in today’s competitive marketplace.
At DHL Express, the commitment to customer success is unwavering. They believe in providing businesses with innovative ways to enhance its operations, whether it’s streamlining shipping processes, optimizing supply chain efficiency, or exploring new markets for expansion. With decades of experience in shipping, logistics and eCommerce, DHL Express has built a vast international network covering more than 220 countries and territories worldwide.
Chitra’s expertise and visionary approach play a crucial role in maintaining DHL Express’s position as a global leader in transportation and logistics. She understands the dynamic nature of the industry and is constantly exploring cutting-edge technologies and solutions to keep businesses connected and competitive.
As an industry thought leader, Chitra is committed to DHL Express’s privacy obligations of the highest standards, fostering trust and confidence in the customers. With a customer-centric mindset, she and her team work tirelessly to provide seamless and reliable solutions for businesses.
In a world where time and efficiency are paramount, Chitra Shinde and DHL Express are the driving force behind businesses’ success, connecting them with customers quickly, efficiently and with utmost reliability. With her dynamic leadership and passion for excellence, Chitra continues to shape the future of transportation, logistics, supply chain and storage services, enabling businesses to thrive in the global marketplace.
Let’s delve into how Chitra embarked on an Unstoppable Journey and discover the Future of Logistics at DHL Express!
Charting Uncharted Waters
Chitra’s exciting journey began right after she completed her education. Eager to explore new horizons, she made the bold move to Bombay, the bustling metropolis. Her first step into the professional world led her to DHL Express, where she started as a Trainee in the logistics industry.
At that time, the logistics sector was undergoing a remarkable transformation with the advent of automation, scalable software and cutting-edge processes. Chitra was fortunate enough to be at the forefront of this rapid growth, witnessing firsthand the innovations that were shaping the industry.
Over the next fifteen years, Chitra’s career took her across five different countries, offering her a truly global experience. She ventured into the terrains of Papua New Guinea, Fiji, Australia, and New Zealand. Immersed in diverse cultures and work environments, Chitra gained invaluable experience, which would later prove instrumental in her career.
After her enriching stint overseas, Chitra felt the call to return to her homeland, India, to be closer to her parents. She joined Gati Limited and took on key roles, where she proved her mettle as Chief Business Chain Officer, Chief Operating Officer, and President and Board member for Gati – KWE.
However, Chitra’s heart was drawn back to the international stage, and she was thrilled to rejoin the esteemed DHL Express, renowned globally as the No. 1 Great Place to Work. Embracing a new opportunity, she stepped into the position of Customer Operations Group Manager and later Senior Director Gateways in Australia where she continued to excel.
With her unwavering dedication and perseverance, Chitra rose to her current role as Vice President of Operations in New Zealand. Throughout her journey, DHL’s exceptional training and development program coupled with a culture of feedback, played a crucial role in honing her skills and confidence, enabling her to flourish in her current position.
Chitra’s career choices were not always directed solely towards vertical growth. She made mindful decisions to explore various roles and locations, which exposed her to a myriad of opportunities and cultures. This approach instilled in her a sense of humility and a balanced perspective on her career, personal responsibilities, parenting and living a fulfilling life.
Through her experiences, Chitra learned the value of collaboration and surrounded herself with brilliant minds, enriching her professional acumen. With a holistic approach to life, she embraced the challenges and rewards that came her way, growing both as a professional and as an individual.
Igniting the Spark
When Chitra joined DHL Express as a trainee, her knowledge of the supply chain was limited to sales and distribution management, particularly in the traditional FMCG industry’s (she mentions it traditional non-technical way) methods of reaching remote corners of rural India. However, her role at DHL provided her with a unique opportunity to delve deep into the world of express distribution. Chitra gained a comprehensive understanding of the entire supply chain, from demand planning to last-mile delivery and reverse logistics. Explaining the same, she says, “From demand planning through to last mile and reverse logistics.” The world of operations fascinated her with its dynamic nature, involving design, motion, location, cost optimization, and strategic planning.
Over time, supply chain has evolved significantly, progressing from ancient trade routes that took months to modern engineering, transportation, technology, JIT Manufacturing, Automation, Blockchain, AI, Robotics and Big Data analytics. The ever-changing landscape of the industry intrigued Chitra and she relished the challenges it presented.
With determination, Chitra learned to plan, organize and execute effectively. Embracing the value of teamwork, she leveraged the strengths of those around her and developed her skills in collaborative settings. She mentions, “I was mobile and loved to travel and with DHL being present in 220 countries & territories-this was the drawcard.” This love for travel found a perfect match with DHL’s global presence, which further enriched her experience by exposing her to different cultures.
Chitra’s dedication and hard work did not go unnoticed. She actively sought out opportunities and volunteered to lead projects, investing in her personal development. As she grew in competence, the organization entrusted her with higher responsibilities, which sometimes pushed her out of her comfort zone. To this, she states, “Sometimes I found myself stretched and other times I felt I was in my comfort zone.” It was during these challenging moments that Chitra realized true growth comes from embracing discomfort and maintaining a positive attitude.
She mentions, “I faced tough situations that molded me into the person I am today.” Reflecting on her adventure, she recognized the guidance and trust she received from incredible mentors and leaders who provided valuable feedback and invested in her growth and her as a person.
In hindsight, Chitra’s career path has been nothing short of remarkable. She cherishes the great adventure she embarked on and her experiences have shaped her into a capable and resilient professional. Chitra remains grateful for the support and encouragement she received from exceptional individuals who played a vital role in her journey of growth and success.
Turning Mountains into Molehills
The recent global pandemic and the unexpected blockage of the Suez Canal exposed the vulnerabilities of supply chains on an unprecedented scale. Chitra, working at DHL Express, witnessed firsthand the challenges that arose during this crisis. Businesses struggled to source the products, faced extensive delays and dealt with soaring costs.
At DHL Express, the pandemic posed a significant obstacle as they lost access to passenger flights almost overnight, which played a crucial role in the Oceania network. In response, the company quickly chartered several passenger flights while rerouting and repositioning its network. Additionally, they had recently added more B777 aircraft to their fleet, which allowed for alternative routing to feed into an expanded intercontinental network. This adaptation ensured that DHL Express could continue to keep the world connected by transporting urgent medical supplies, lifesaving equipment and vaccines during a time of heightened demand.
She mentions, “This lack of air capacity resulted in unprecedented demand. Locally we were able to leverage the strengths of our DHL group companies DHL Supply Chain and DHL Forwarding to provide us access to their networks and seamlessly cater to this additional demand so we could flex upward and retract when the demand tapered off.”
In New Zealand, the challenges were further compounded as the domestic commercial passenger air network was also disrupted. DHL Express made bold investments and introduced its own flight to connect the South Island to Auckland. From these major hubs, they were able to use road networks to reach all domestic locations, maintaining vital connections.
Chitra also says, “From Auckland and Christchurch, we could connect to all domestic locations via Road. It was an intense time of unprecedented change, creativity and innovation to ensure that our customers were not impacted and could rely on us for their own business continuity.”
Throughout these trying times, the DHL Express operations teams remained resilient as an essential service provider. Despite the hardships of lockdowns, they worked diligently while adhering to physical distancing measures, staying true to the DHL Group’s purpose of ‘Connecting People, Improving Lives.’ Remarkably, DHL Express in New Zealand managed to avoid any COVID-19 cases until the emergence of the Omicron variant in early 2022.
Earlier this year, Chitra and her team faced devastating floods that affected parts of the country. Roads were washed away, cutting off access to certain areas. In response, DHL Express quickly found alternative routes to reach its personnel, restore connectivity and provide essential supplies. They prioritized resuming operations swiftly, being the first to reopen its operations.
In one instance during the Auckland floods, DHL made quick decisions to divert its flight operations from CHC to Australia to restrict the impact to the North Island and maintain connections to the South Island. The whole process required swift coordination among multiple players and external providers, and communication was done primarily through group chats to expedite decision-making.
Amidst these challenges, her team demonstrated remarkable resilience, creativity and innovation to ensure the customers were not adversely affected and could rely on DHL Express for business continuity. The ability to adapt, think on the feet and swiftly implement solutions has been a testament to its commitment to excellence and customer service.
Weaving the Threads of Efficiency
As the head of operations at DHL Express, Chitra’s role revolves around executing the company’s Global Strategy at the local level. Her primary focus is on motivating and developing a team of certified international specialists who are dedicated to delivering the best service to customers. Chitra strongly believes in fostering a culture of inclusivity and collaboration, making DHL Express a Great Place to Work for all employees. To ensure the success of its operations, she actively seeks input from various stakeholders, including the workforce, leaders, the voice of the business and most importantly, the voice of its customers.
One of Chitra’s key responsibilities is to make strategic decisions related to the design of its network and infrastructure. To do this effectively, she analyzes projected growth and emerging trends that may impact local operations over the next decade. For instance, she is keen on expanding DHL’s network reach into regional areas, harnessing global initiatives in Digitalization and machine learning technology to improve scalability and efficiency.
As a market leader, DHL Express takes its responsibility in environmental, social, compliance and governance matters seriously. The company has set ambitious goals, including achieving Zero Carbon Emissions by 2050 and having 60% electric vehicles in the first and last-mile operations by 2030. Chitra is confident that they will surpass this aspiration. To reduce its carbon footprint, DHL Express has already invested in more fuel-efficient aircraft like B777s and is purchasing Sustainable Aviation Fuel (SAF). She is particularly enthusiastic about the prospects of electric light aircraft, like the Alice model, for shorter distances and payload, given New Zealand’s green energy advantage.
In line with the environmental commitment, DHL Express has converted to LED lighting for energy consumption reduction. Going a step further, all new buildings will be powered by 100% solar energy, allowing them not only to save energy but also to generate their own. With the expected increase in demand for electricity as more companies and individuals adopt electric vehicles, self-sufficiency in energy generation becomes crucial. Chitra acknowledges the challenge of converting existing buildings to solar energy, but she believes it is achievable.
Looking into the future, Chitra is optimistic about advancements in technology that will make renewable energy more affordable and accessible. Building-integrated photovoltaics (BIPV) and solar Photovoltaics elements used in windows and roofs are expected to improve overall energy efficiency. Additionally, developments in battery technology will enable economical and effective storage of solar-generated energy, reducing dependence on the power grid. DHL Express aims to be at the forefront of these advancements along with continuously making small incremental changes to reduce its carbon footprint and make a positive impact on sustainability.
With a commitment to sustainability, DHL Express also offers green carbon offset and inset products to its customers. It has increased internal reporting and visibility of its carbon footprint, enabling the company to make informed decisions to drive sustainability efforts. Chitra hopes that her experiences and DHL’s initiatives will inspire other companies in the industry and communities to embrace sustainability practices. She reviews internal best demonstrated practises and external case studies such as being inspired by one in Bangladesh where an entire village functions on affordable solar panels, with excess energy being shared within the community to generate income. We are Stronger Together.
The Ace up the Sleeve
During the pandemic, Chitra faced unprecedented challenges as the volume of shipments at DHL Express surged dramatically due to prolonged movement restrictions in and out of Auckland. Overnight, the volume doubled, exceeding the company’s then capacity and requiring them to extend into after-hours delivery, a common practice during peak periods.
To cope with the sudden increase in volume, her team swiftly built data integration with a sister company within a week. This integration allowed DHL Express to tap into its sister company’s network, which could flex additional capacity. In the express delivery business, data visibility of shipment movement is as crucial as the actual delivery itself, as everything is time-sensitive. The IT teams worked diligently to provide a solution that would typically take months, showcasing dedication and efficiency.
Furthermore, the pandemic led to a significant increase in clearance requirements. Fortunately, another sister company had the capability to scale up clearance through its network, which DHL Express could leverage. This collaboration not only provided the much-needed scale at short notice but also kept the additional expenses within the DHL group, resulting in a win-win situation.
Chitra’s approach to problem-solving is straightforward but effective. When presented with an idea or a challenge from someone on her team, she strives to find a compelling reason to say yes. She encourages an environment where team members feel confident sharing ideas, knowing that Chitra will consider them seriously. Actively listening and looking out for ideas, especially from the frontline, leaders, peers, managers, customers, and her own team, have led to the discovery of many great solutions. Although implementing some of these solutions can take months or even years, Chitra values and hangs onto good ideas.
To ensure successful problem-solving, Chitra links solutions to customer experience, seeking ways to make it a better experience for those who drive customer satisfaction. She avoids wasting time on critiquing ideas and instead encourages others to challenge and scrutinize them. The goal is to avoid mistakes and thoroughly test the ideas before implementation. Chitra often asks questions like, ‘Why might this fail?’ and encourages her team to share individual perspectives and identify potential blind spots.
Through her thoughtful and inclusive problem-solving approach, Chitra empowers her team to think creatively, fosters a culture of innovation and ensures that DHL Express can adapt swiftly to unexpected challenges and changing circumstances.
Building Bridges to Tomorrow
Within the company, Chitra is a strong advocate for fostering innovation at multiple levels. She recognizes that innovation can emerge from different sources, including bottom-up initiatives from employees through campfires and suggestions to improve processes or experiences. Additionally, top-down innovation occurs through enhancements in software and the adoption of available technologies. Furthermore, external factors can also drive the need for innovation within the company. All three approaches are equally vital and contribute to the culture of innovation at DHL.
Chitra is particularly passionate about continuous improvement, appreciating the sense of control it provides. She believes that both internal and external innovation can complement this approach, leading to the creation of best practices. By embracing continuous improvement, DHL fosters a culture of elevating a great team to even greater heights, a concept they refer to as ‘First Choice.’ This structured methodology is based on Sigma and Lean principles and empowers DHL employees to drive sustainable improvements using various tools.
Some of the tools employed by Chitra and her team include DMAIC (Define, Measure, Analyse, Improve, and Control), PDCA (Plan Do Check Act), APW (Action Plan Worksheet), ImpAct (Improvement Action), SIPOC (Supplier Input Process Output Customer mapping), Effort Benefit Matrix, Fishbone, 5S, GEMBA, Performance Dialogue, Stakeholder mapping, AS is and TO BE Backward imaging, and Stop Start Continue and a strong Communications Plan. These tools facilitate a systematic and inclusive problem-solving process, encouraging multiple team members to collaborate in finding the best solutions and, more importantly, sustaining them over time.
Chitra’s dedication to continuous improvement is evident through her pursuit of certifications within DHL’s program. She takes pride in being a Master Gold, Advisor Bronze and Accelerated Change and Transition (ACT) Bronze. She is actively working towards achieving additional certifications, such as Advisor Silver, and ACT Silver. By acquiring these certifications, Chitra exemplifies the importance of structured and inclusive problem-solving methodologies, where multiple team members are involved in the decision-making and execution process.
As a leader, Chitra relies heavily on data analysis to prioritize problems and identify clear priorities. She understands that not every issue carries the same level of importance and data analysis helps her allocate resources and efforts effectively.
By championing innovation and continuous improvement, Chitra contributes significantly to the growth and success of DHL Express, ensuring that the company remains at the forefront of excellence and efficiency in the logistics industry.
Taking the Bull by the Horns
In the logistics industry, the issue of carbon emissions has garnered significant attention due to the inherent nature of the services provided. As sustainability becomes a paramount concern, Chitra recognizes the importance of striving for carbon neutrality not only for DHL Express but also for the benefit of other industries. She believes that government mandates and subsidies will play a crucial role in determining the pace of this transition, especially for smaller companies. Embracing technology, AI, automation and robotics will be vital in driving efficiencies and reducing the industry’s carbon footprint.
Chitra envisions a future where transparency and visibility across the entire logistics value chain will improve, benefiting multiple stakeholders. With the right technological advancements, collaboration on environmental matters will increase, allowing for more sustainable practices. Security and protection of individual information privacy will remain a priority, even as information access and collaboration are enhanced.
As the world’s population is projected to reach 8.5 billion by 2030, the urbanization of tier 2 and 3 cities could be a consequence of the challenges faced by overcrowded, larger cities. Logistics will play a critical role in connecting and facilitating transportation to and from these emerging cities, contributing to their growth and development.
The workforce landscape is also expected to undergo significant changes. By 2030, Gen Z will dominate the workforce and influence the way businesses operate. Chitra recognizes that this generation is more attuned to sustainability, diversity, equity and inclusion. Consequently, upskilling and inducting new team members will be essential and needs to be done at a faster pace. Training and development programs will need to teach skills quickly and ensure practical application even. Future of work will evolve through their need to change industries or vocations, choose employers and their own availability for work to be based on their other interests at the time.
In this evolving landscape, Chitra remains committed to ensuring that DHL Express is easy to work with, flexible, trustworthy and genuinely cares about its people and the communities it serves. By embracing sustainability and technological advancements, the company aims to be at the forefront of industry leaders, providing efficient and environmentally conscious logistics solutions. As a visionary leader, she remains dedicated to positioning DHL Express for success in a rapidly changing world, driven by the values of sustainability, inclusivity and innovation.
The Gold Standard
Safety First, Quality and Compliance is deeply ingrained in Chitra’s mindset and the culture she fosters within DHL Express. For her, it is a non-negotiable aspect of the company’s operations. Chitra firmly believes in accepting nothing but the best, and she endeavors to instill this culture throughout the organization. When these are in our DNA, the people naturally do not compromise on it. It becomes the guiding principle that influences every aspect of work.
Operational efficiency is another crucial focus for Chitra and her team. They continuously strive to improve processes, seeking ways to do things better and faster. The goal is to remain competitive in pricing and, more importantly, deliver enhanced benefits to its customers. Chitra emphasizes that operational efficiency is not merely about incremental improvement; it often requires doing things differently to achieve significant gains in productivity. This might involve changing processes, eliminating unnecessary activities, reducing waste, or embracing automation.
To achieve true optimization, her team make it a priority to make the best possible use of available resources. When faced with multiple options, they carefully evaluate each one to select the approach that yields the best outcomes and positive gains. Standardization plays a significant role in ensuring consistent quality across DHL’s operations. Having set optimal methods and work rates for tasks, the company employs expert verification processes to validate and maintain quality standards.
Chitra recognizes the importance of understanding processes thoroughly. Without a deep understanding, it becomes challenging to identify areas for improvement and remove non-value-adding elements. Observation based methods evaluation can lead to discovering additional training needs, which helps the team grow and perform more efficiently.
At DHL Express, teamwork and collective results are highly valued. Chitra emphasizes that individual capabilities may differ, but the focus remains on achieving success through teamwork and collaborative efforts. Anticipating customer demand and staying one step ahead of it is a key strategy for DHL. Proactive planning ensures they are well-prepared to meet customer expectations and deliver exceptional service.
Through her commitment to quality, operational efficiency and optimization, Chitra leads by example, setting high standards for DHL Express. Her visionary approach and dedication to continuous improvement contribute to the company’s success as a leader in the logistics industry.
Greening the Path
Sustainability is at the forefront of Chitra’s priorities at DHL Express. The company recently introduced its innovative GoGreen Plus service, setting a milestone as the first global express courier to offer customers the option to use Sustainable Aviation Fuel (SAF) to reduce emissions. When customers select GoGreen Plus, DHL Express takes action to reduce transport-related carbon emissions for that shipment by investing in SAF, effectively lowering the greenhouse gas emissions associated with its shipments.
In addition to the SAF initiative, DHL Express is actively working on other sustainability projects. They will increase local E-vehicles for last-mile delivery. Furthermore, the company has committed to constructing Green buildings in the new Christchurch Gateway by 2025, and they have several pipeline infrastructure projects in Auckland and Wellington
To reduce power consumption and promote sustainability within its operations, DHL Express has adopted LED lighting technology. The company also prioritizes educating its employees on sustainability and how as individuals we can contribute to these efforts. The company actively engages with the community through initiatives such as tree planting, community clean-ups and recycling waste, including repurposing uniforms and fabrics.
Chitra and DHL Express actively seek partnerships with companies that have a positive social impact on sustainability in local communities. By engaging its employees through education, practice and certification programs, DHL Express encourages a collective effort toward sustainability. Chitra takes pride in her personal commitment to the cause, having made significant changes in her consumption habits over the past four years. She views sustainability as a continuous journey and goals we can set to reduce our negative impact on the planet.
With Chitra’s leadership and DHL Express’ dedication to sustainability, the company is making significant strides in reducing its environmental impact and setting an example for the logistics industry.
By embracing sustainability as a core value, DHL Express is contributing to a better and more sustainable future for the planet and the communities it serves.
Chitra and the team at DHL Express have harnessed the power of technology to proactively monitor its shipments and improve customer experience. They use innovative solutions, including machine learning-based systems, to automatically notify customers to choose their OnDemand delivery options and some types of delays related to customs clearance. This enables customers to provide the necessary information and, if required, seek assistance from DHL. They are starting to see a gradual shift in preference from customers using chat bot and digital assistant and email over calling.
To drive continuous innovation and improvement, DHL Express has dedicated innovation centers and collaborates with external experts in various fields such as mechanical and process automation, software development and research and development. By partnering with experts, they ensure that the solutions they create are tailored to the specific needs and challenges.
The company primarily relies on its standard suite of applications to implement these innovative solutions. However, when addressing local needs, they adopt the ‘campfire method,’ exploring existing solutions that have successfully solved similar challenges and replicating them if applicable. In cases where no existing solution fits, they may seek external solutions or develop in-house changes to meet the requirements.
Training and coaching are essential components of these deployments, as they empower employees to effectively use the new technologies and processes. The feedback and change requests received from users play a vital role in the continuous evolution of DHL Express’s applications, ensuring that they remain responsive to the dynamic needs of the customers and operations.
With a combined proactive approach to technology and innovation, DHL Express continue to set industry standards in logistics, delivering efficient and customer-centric services through the strategic use of technology and continuous improvement.
From Seed to Blossom
Chitra and DHL Express are committed to developing talent from within the organization, making significant investments in training and development. They foster a culture that emphasizes both motivational feedbacks to build confidence and developmental feedback to enhance competence. To ensure a strong foundation of knowledge, all employees undergo the Certified International Specialist Foundation program, which familiarizes them with the company and its respective functions.
Leaders at DHL Express are provided with specialized training, such as the Successful 21st Century Manager program and Coaching program. Supervisors, too, benefit from the Certified Supervisory program. Chitra and other senior leaders take an active role in nurturing upcoming leaders, personally conducting training sessions that span 2-3 days and can extend from 18 months to 2 years. This investment in leadership development reinforces a culture of teamwork and high performance within the organization.
The company places great emphasis on internal mobility, offering employees opportunities to apply for roles within the organization. The goal is to have at least three strong internal candidates ready for each position. If specific specialist skills are not locally available, they leverage talent from other countries or group companies. DHL Express also runs graduate and undergraduate intake programs in various countries, attracting fresh talent to contribute to its future success.
Individual Development Plans (IDPs) play a pivotal role in employee growth. These plans are carefully crafted based on assessment centers, development centers, leadership attributes, competency assessments, 360-degree feedback, and self-identified skills or training needs. The organization reviews succession plans annually for each role, identifying potential successors to ensure a strong pipeline of leaders for the future.
DHL Express provides a range of learning opportunities, including access to online learning platforms, company-sponsored tertiary educational programs and mentoring initiatives. They encourage employees to take on short-term assignments or secondment opportunities to gain valuable experiences and exposure.
Globally, DHL Express is continually exploring ways to leverage technology to modernize and tailor individual development needs, striving to create an even better employee experience. With a strategic and intentional approach to talent development, they ensure a pool of skilled and capable leaders not only for the company but also for the broader logistics industry.
Outpacing the Rest
Chitra understands that the foundation of DHL Express’s success lies in its people. The company places a significant emphasis on investing in the motivation and development of its workforce, recognizing that they are the driving force behind the delivery of exceptional service quality. This customer-centric approach fosters loyalty among customers, resulting in sustained profitability for the company.
With a continuous improvement mindset, DHL Express continually evaluates its performance and identifies opportunities for enhancement. By proactively preparing and investing in the network, affectionately referred to as the ‘big yellow machine,’ they create a competitive advantage in the market. Being open and approachable to customer feedback is a key aspect of the service philosophy. Customer input is valued and used as a means to improve its operations continually.
The company has established a robust customer services team, recognized with awards for excellence, which sets a standard of exceptional service delivery. This commitment to excellence resonates throughout DHL Express, making it a leading player in the logistics industry.
DHL Express pride themselves on living and embodying the principles of excellence in every aspect of its operations. By continually striving to deliver the best service possible, they ensure that its customers’ needs are met and expectations exceeded. The company’s unwavering focus on people, network investment and customer-centric approach serves as the foundation for its success as they remain dedicated to its motto of ‘Excellence. Simply delivered.’
Leaping into the Future
In the fast-paced world of information overload and time demands, Chitra takes a proactive approach to staying informed and continuously learning. As a practice, she diligently reads internal communications, paying particular attention to messages from global and regional leadership. This ensures that she stays up-to-date with the latest developments and strategies within the company.
In addition to internal communications, Chitra also keeps herself abreast of industry trends and topics. Her regional operations head shares key media topics related to the logistics industry, allowing her to gain insights into broader industry happenings.
To further expand her knowledge and insights, Chitra makes use of valuable resources available to her. She regularly reads book summaries on leadership and management developments from reputable sources such as getAbstract, Wharton and Harvard Business Review. By leveraging these summaries, she can stay informed about the latest ideas and best practices in leadership and management.
Furthermore, Chitra actively seeks inspiration from successful leaders whom she can learn from. By following their achievements and experiences, she gains valuable perspectives and insights that contribute to her own growth as a leader.
Chitra also believes in the importance of learning from colleagues and customers. Engaging with them allows her to understand different industries, gain valuable feedback and identify potential opportunities for improvement or innovation.
By staying well-informed and continuously learning from diverse sources, Chitra ensures that she remains agile, adaptable and well-equipped to navigate the dynamic landscape of the logistics industry. Her commitment to ongoing learning is a testament to her dedication to personal and professional growth, making her a valuable asset to DHL Express and a role model for her team.
A New Dawn in Logistics
Chitra says, “I would not call myself an alchemist.” humbly describing herself as a “Student of supply chain”, constantly seeking to expand her knowledge and leverage the information she possesses in her current role while preparing for more complex challenges ahead.
Recognizing the importance of supply chain expertise across the group companies, she values how it aids interactions with customers and regulators, ultimately contributing to keeping the world connected through efficient logistics.
Chitra is passionate about attracting talent to the field of supply chain and highlighting the excitement and significance of being part of a process that ensures timely and reliable deliveries. She acknowledges the vast efforts that happen behind the scenes to deliver shipments intact and with a smile, underscoring the critical role supply chain professionals play in keeping global commerce flowing.
Anticipating the changing landscape of the workforce, Chitra is proactive in preparing for the next generation’s preferences and expectations. Chitra says, “I think there is going to be a big shift in the next-gen coming through and how they will want to work. We need to prepare for such a shift.” She envisions a shift in how they approach work, possibly seeking more flexibility and a different ‘life-work’ approach.
As a leader, she emphasizes the need to adapt to these changes, developing the skills required to be emotionally aware, culturally aware on a global scale, humble, curious, tech-savvy, open-minded, and constantly learning.
Chitra advocates Safety first, embracing uncertainty, taking calculated risks and learning from mistakes as vital components of leadership in the ever-changing world of supply chain management. Her forward-thinking approach ensures that she and her team are equipped to navigate the challenges and opportunities that lie ahead in the industry.
As a dynamic leader, Chitra is committed to building an inclusive, dynamic and agile workforce that can drive the future of supply chain logistics with confidence.