A globally connected supply chain powered by a locally connected workforce

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A globally connected supply chain powered by a locally connected workforce

Maha Al Qattan |

As a global logistics business, we have more than 50,000 employees from 103+ countries. A workforce as complex as ours means that the day of an office worker in Australia looks quite different to a Terminal operator’s in Dubai, or a logistics manager’s in Rwanda.

In the broadest terms, our people are ‘connected’. They keep trade flowing across an increasingly connected world, providing services that cover vast distances and complex processes across all kinds of supply chains. What happens at point A of a supply chain in South America has direct influence on what happens at point Z in Europe.

I am equally committed to ensuring that all my colleagues feel the benefits of enhanced connectivity, not just the cargo we move.

But people, unlike cargo, are not moved across the supply chain. The truly ‘global’ scale of what we do at DP World is made up of all our individual contributions, meaning different things to different people.

Our people – both when they’re on the job and in their wider daily lives – represent an enormous spectrum of local and regional backgrounds, cultural sensitivities, languages, education levels, priorities, value-sets, access to goods, and work practices. And more recently, the coronavirus pandemic has presented unique challenges to us all depending on where we are in the world.

Our regional leaders play a critical role in understanding and reacting to these specific needs. They have a closer proximity to their teams and help ensure that our measures and initiatives are meaningful, agile, and fit for purpose, rather than being a generic global initiative that is super-imposed. It’s just as important that our people feel connected to the colleagues in their office, or on the port, or in the terminal, or in the storage facilities – wherever they work – as they do to our wider business mission.

I am inspired by the diverse values and perspectives that our regional leaders bring. We partnered with Rizwan , CEO of our SubContinent region to understand the skill sets of our workforce in India so that he could lead our business transformation in the region, now recognized as a “Great Place to Work”. Likewise, I am always amazed by Rashid Abdulla’s commitment to skills development in Europe, from talent development to succession planning. And Glen Hilton has truly connected our Australia business to the operations and culture of the wider group. These are just a few examples of our leaders in action.

I have seen first-hand the benefits of regional leaders who know their regions well, and act on that knowledge for the benefit our people and our customers. And I am proud that they are not just office figureheads: they visit sites, contribute to our community service initiatives, and are on-the-ground with their teams.

Through our regional leaders, individuals can feel part of a more local mission, as well as a wider global vision as set out by our global matrix structure, Chairman’s vision, and Founders Principles, which I will talk about in more detail later this month. Globally seamless supply chains are dependent on the contributions of each person, no matter what stage they’re working at. It’s critical, especially as we emerge from this pandemic, that they feel connected and understood too.