Case study: DHL

September 10, 2014
Global
Company profile: DHL Express has been operating in Africa since 1978. Most of its Africa business comes from small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), the majority of which are located outside the metropolitan areas

Executive: Charles Brewer, managing director, sub-Saharan Africa

Big decision: Forming strategic partnerships

Africa is a very fluid and dynamic market. Management often has to second-guess where the next growth area will be, as there is scant reliable information to base projections on. “We try and drive decision making as local as possible,” says Mr Brewer. “We support and encourage experimentation. We want people to take the chance, take the opportunity, and operate with their heart and their guts as much as their head.”

When Mr Brewer became managing director, DHL had 350 outlets to service a population of 900m. Two months into the job, after a walk around downtown Nairobi, Kenya, Mr Brewer realised that it could take around three hours – through notoriously bad traffic – for an SME to reach the DHL terminal in Kenya’s capital city. He took the decision to form partnerships with local shop owners, enabling them to resell the company’s services. This decision increased the company’s footprint in Africa from 350 to 2,500 service points, boosting growth in the SMEs business from low single digits to high double digits.

 

Primary Industry

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