Shanghai is the largest city of the People’s Republic of China – and is also where DSV has the largest portion of its business.
DSV’s offices in North and East China are preparing for the future: a future with a more structured direction for the development of the Solutions division, which, after being spun off from the DSV Air & Sea division last year, has been upgraded by adding new warehouses, new products and a reinforced management team that is preparing for Solutions 2.0.
We doubled our Solutions activities from 2013 to 2016 by being creative and seizing the opportunities and chances that emerged. At first, it was just a matter of surviving, but once you attain a certain size, you get to determine your own developmental direction,
says Guillaume Burette, Director, who, together with Ralf Bekink and Peter Zhou, has been in charge of developing DSV Solutions’ activities in China from 2013.
Now, the Solutions division for North and East China – having achieved a position as the eighth biggest country within DSV Solutions – has grown to where it can indulge in the luxury of getting to decide which path to take. In that connection, Guillaume entrusted a strong new team with the day-to-day management, and they are brimming with refreshing and enterprising ideas:
"New blood means fresh ideas and enthusiasm, and these are necessary for the journey we’re embarking on," Guillaume says, who will continue to head up Solutions activities in APAC.
Among the best
Solutions North and East China aims to become one of the top five Solutions businesses in DSV. The new management team aims to renew focus on HR (staff recruitment and retention), to develop the business to include new markets and products, and, not least, to intensify focus on quality, service and operational optimisation. Initially, the goal is to achieve the same standard of execution as in DSV’s European organisations.
"We need to become more efficient and outperform our customers’ expectations," says Dominique Vinet, General Manager, DSV Solutions, North and East China. Dominique started working for DSV in January, leading a refreshed team of 15–20 managers who must jointly boost China’s Solutions division into the premier league. He looks forward to taking on this assignment together with, among others, Peter Zhou, Deputy General Manager, who has been with DSV China for the past 12 years. This was back when DSV Air & Sea, under the leadership of Claus Thomsen, initially established outright Solutions activities in the country.
"As a seasoned member of the team, Peter Zhou is responsible for continuity on this new journey," says Dominique, whose previous positions were with a major car manufacturer and a French logistics provider in China.
A team of new and seasoned employees are charged with carrying on the growth in China.
China’s economy will set the standard
"China still has low labour costs which is why we haven’t achieved the same degree of automation here yet. But our customers are global and expect the same level of service here as elsewhere, and we intend to achieve this within a short time frame," Dominique says. He is convinced that China will be setting the standards in a wide variety of areas by 2025.
"Just look at the development of apps, smartphones, social media, electric vehicles and electric scooters – China leads the world in many different areas. Payment in China is primarily done via smartphones, and China is the world leader in terms of E-business. In 2016, the Chinese were responsible for half of the world’s E-business trade," Dominique says and predicts that China’s Solutions organisation will also be setting the standard within ten years in some areas.
"China probably has the highest growth rate in the world, also when it comes to DSV. Becoming one of the top five biggest Solutions businesses in DSV will be hard – as there is a wide gap to make up for – but we have the potential to get there," he says.
Retaining staff is a big challenge in China
Customers’ expectations will be met by focusing on quality and services through standardised processes and the DSV Sigma programme. Another step for the new Chinese management team will be to recruit and retain staff at the 30 sites in China. One of the aims of the HR department is to increase recruitment as well as to organise the training of both management and staff. And it will renew its focus on promotions and internal job changes.
"Retaining staff poses great challenges to us. Twenty-five percent of our employees leave us each year," Dominique says, adding that this is not unusual in China.
"Loyalty is lower here and the market is much more dynamic, so we’re on the lookout for new talents all the time. But it is also an area where time is on our side as more and more people gradually acquire the right skill-sets and the interest in working for global multinationals increases," he says.
The new head of sales for Solutions North and East China is Remco Enders, who, like Dominique, began working for DSV in January. For the past decade, Remco has been involved in sales in the area of storage logistics and boils down his experience to the following: "To me, it’s a matter of providing helpful expertise and generating value for customers." But, first and foremost, Remco highlights the 15–20 new employees in the division's next layer of management who will be responsible for the actual renewal process in the division:
"This development cannot be ensured by just a handful of top executives. The changes will be created by a brand-new approach," he says, mentioning the imminent enlargement of the commercial potential.
Everywhere in China, the organisation is preparing for growth and retaining staff is one of the biggest challenges.
Focus on transport management and cooperation with Air & Sea
Whereas almost 80% of Solutions' activities is currently concentrated in and around Shanghai, developments going forward will move northward by increasing the level of activity in Beijing and Tianjin as a first step. At the same time, the Shanghai district will be enlarged to include the cities of Suzhou, Wuxi and Ningbo, to create a wider geographical dispersion of the activities. The way to achieve this is by intensifying focus on transport management, which only constitutes 20% of total revenue currently and to increase vertical focus on the automotive, food and high-tech industries.
Although North and East China’s Solutions division was spun off from the Air & Sea division last year, these developments will take place in close cooperation with their colleagues in the sister division:
"The only way we can succeed is by outwardly acting as one company, and by both divisions joining forces to reach customers. Naturally, this goes both ways," Remco Enders says.
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