Collaborate with who?

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It is becoming clear that the industry is starting to come to terms with the changing market conditions and companies are adjusting their strategies to match.

And nowhere is this better illustrated than at Deutsche Post, which last month renamed itself Deutsche Post DHL, restructured its businesses and set out plans for additional cost savings of a billion euros.

But what really catches the eye is the focus on collaboration. This has been a hot topic for some time as companies look for ways to add value by working more closely with suppliers and customers.

However, for Deutsche Post, the priority is improving collaboration between its three DHL divisions – forwarding, express and logistics.

Chief financial officer John Allan said that each DHL business unit in itself should be in a position to run profitably on its own. “That covers about 80 per cent of DHL’s business efforts. The remaining 20 per cent should be based on collaboration – solutions that only DHL can offer because of the unique mixture of different services.”

Allan argues that this will also help the group develop solutions for special target sectors such as life science, technology or automotive.

It is a salutary thought that this is just the latest iteration in a process of restructuring that Deutsche Post has gone through to integrate the various businesses that it has bought over the past few years.

But it also poses questions for the rest of us. Is too much of the focus going on building collaborative relationships with outside organisations – some of which might be unready or unwilling to go down that route? Are we still too focused on our own little silos?

And, could it be that the person with whom we most need to collaborate is actually sitting in an office just down the corridor?

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