As the leading global brand in the logistics industry, DHL offers a comprehensive portfolio of services all over the world, international and domestic parcel delivery, e-commerce shipping and fulfillment solutions, international express, road, air and ocean transport and industrial supply chain management.
DHL is doing all kinds of innovative things when it comes to shipping packages and logistics so that their customers have the most seamless, efficient experience possible.
Enna Zarate, chief information officer (CIO) of DHL Express U.S., knows that to have the best customer experiences, innovation starts with your own employees and processes.
We spoke with Zarate by phone from her office in Plantation, Florida, about drones, augmented reality, and the importance of user experience for the company’s customers and own employees.
Skuid: Could you walk me through some of the ways that technology is keeping DHL ahead of your competitors?
We are constantly focused on improving all the experiences that our customers have with us. For example, we now have what we call On Demand Delivery, which improves our commercial customer’s experience.
Customers can tell us where they want to have the package delivered, for instance, at a neighbor’s house, and on what day. They can authorize us to leave the package without getting a signature.
If they ask us to hold the delivery while they are on vacation, we will do that. If they want us to deliver it to a nearby DHL service center, we can do that, too.
In fact, recipients have up to six delivery options to choose from.We are also improving the customer experience with an updated version of our My DHL web-based application that will be live in the next couple of months.
We reached out to our customers to learn more about their current interaction with DHL on the site. Based on that feedback, we made some significant improvements to My DHL.
We are simplifying the user experience so customers will have an all-in-one login for scheduling pickups, creating waybills, printing export documents, coordinating imports and tracking shipments. It’s all an effort to simplify the way our customers are using our tools.
Skuid: It definitely seems like user experience is a really big topic right now for a lot of companies. I'm interested to learn more about the interaction that you have with customers as far as the types of things that they're looking for.
When we interact with our customers, we try to understand their needs. It's basically about how you can simplify the process. For new customers, if they don’t know anything about how to ship to Afghanistan, to China, to Australia or wherever it may be, we can assist them in the export process.
We strive to make the process as simple as possible, with the most flexibility for the customer, while giving them as much information as possible.In other cases, the focus is on how we can be seamlessly integrated into their process, or how we can help them to reshape the process and improve it.
Skuid: Can you talk about some of the other things that DHL is known for around the world?
We are very focused on international express services. We currently have about 350,000 employees in more than 220 countries and territories worldwide.
We have another division focused on supply chain, and we also have a new division called the eCommerce division, which is working very closely with all sizes of business and all types of eCommerce trends.
Overall, DHL is focused on new improvements and customer innovations, like our global augmented reality program for DHL supply chain. DHL Express launched its first drone research project in 2013, and we are now in the third version of our Parcelcopter.
You can see this at work at the German and Austrian border. We are addressing the urgent medical needs of our customers by using drones to deliver critical medicines in remote areas. It’s saving time and money, and ultimately might be saving lives.
We have performed 130 autonomous drone deliveries there. It's been a successful pilot, and we are now looking at how we can expand our Parcelcopter services.
Skuid: What kind of role does technology play with your own employees as far as user experience, and trying to make employees of DHL more efficient with their time?
Technology plays a big role in our success. Because we are a global organization with thousands of employees, technology helps us work efficiently and consistently, so that our customers have a seamless experience.
We have Innovation Centers in Germany and Singapore, and will have a new center soon in the Americas, where we are focused on driving discussions with customers on future trends and challenges in their specific industries.
On the IT side, we are forming a new forum of innovation and digital business initiatives that will allow us to deploy new ideas, and then come back with more solutions, in a highly agile way.
Skuid: Can you talk about the role of design when it comes to the tools that you use internally and externally for your customers? I imagine it plays a pretty big role within your company as well, just to make things easier to use, more efficient. If it looks good and it works well, so that it's intuitive, then it's easier for your employees to do their jobs, and it's easier for your customers to get the info they need.
That’s right. For My DHL, for example, we've put a lot of emphasis on the user experience. It’s designed with a more intuitive interface with fewer interactions, making it easier and faster to complete a shipment. We really listened to our customers, and they’ll have a new experience shipping with DHL.
Skuid: It sounds like you’ve figured out some innovative ways to make technology work for you.
Technology has a huge impact on the day-to-day logistics market. Our customers’ expectations continue to shift. We know that we must keep disrupting ourselves so that we can continue to meet those expectations and to shape logistics of the future. It’s all part of the DHL commitment to be Insanely Customer Centric.