Leaders in Supply Chain and Logistics

#74: Ken Allen Board Member of Deutsche Post and CEO of DHL eCommerce

March 18, 2020 Alcott Global Season 1 Episode 74
Leaders in Supply Chain and Logistics
#74: Ken Allen Board Member of Deutsche Post and CEO of DHL eCommerce
Chapters
Leaders in Supply Chain and Logistics
#74: Ken Allen Board Member of Deutsche Post and CEO of DHL eCommerce
Mar 18, 2020 Season 1 Episode 74
Alcott Global

Ken has been with the DP DHL group for 35 years, in various roles and capacities.

HE is well known in the industry for the turn around he achieved as global CEO of DHL Express - under his leadership between 2009 to 2018, the company reversed over a decade of poor financial performance and declining market share to become one of the most profitable transportation units in the world.

Discover more details here.

Some of the highlights of the episode:

  • Dhl Express turn around from losing 2.2 billion euro in 2008 and making 2 billion euro in 2018. 
  • What does being insanely customer-centric mean for DHL Express
  • How to become one of the worlds best places to work
  • Key leadership principles from Ken book "Radical simplicity"
  • Using music as a leadership style
  • “Business is a sport, not a war.”

Follow us on:
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Twitter: http://bit.ly/2WeulzX
Linkedin: http://bit.ly/2w9YSQX
Facebook: http://bit.ly/2HtryLd

Show Notes Transcript

Ken has been with the DP DHL group for 35 years, in various roles and capacities.

HE is well known in the industry for the turn around he achieved as global CEO of DHL Express - under his leadership between 2009 to 2018, the company reversed over a decade of poor financial performance and declining market share to become one of the most profitable transportation units in the world.

Discover more details here.

Some of the highlights of the episode:

  • Dhl Express turn around from losing 2.2 billion euro in 2008 and making 2 billion euro in 2018. 
  • What does being insanely customer-centric mean for DHL Express
  • How to become one of the worlds best places to work
  • Key leadership principles from Ken book "Radical simplicity"
  • Using music as a leadership style
  • “Business is a sport, not a war.”

Follow us on:
Instagram: http://bit.ly/2Wba8v7
Twitter: http://bit.ly/2WeulzX
Linkedin: http://bit.ly/2w9YSQX
Facebook: http://bit.ly/2HtryLd

Radu Palamariu:   0:00
Hello and welcome to the leaders in supply chain podcast. I am your host Rod a problem. Are you managing director off Elkhart Global? Our mission is to connect the supply chain ecosystem by bringing forward the most interesting leaders in the industry. And it's my great pleasure to have with us today. Can Ellen, board member of Deutsche Post's and CEO of D H L E Commerce. Ken has been with D. P D H L Group for 35 years in various roles and capacities and is well known in the industry for the For the turnaround, he achieved its global CEO, Teacher Express. Under his leadership between 2009 to 2018 the company reversed over a decade of poor financial performance and declaim declining market share to become one of the most profitable transportation units in the world. For his work, he was named Germany's number one turner on them, manager by them by a number of business magazines in Germany as well as by 80 Cure Nick Consulting firm. The whole journey of the turnaround can be read in Ken's book. Radical Simplicity, which is available worldwide, can also ran the most international company in the world as Digital Express. Hire people from courtroom for virtually all countries in the world. And also during his tenure, the Ancient Express was voted consecutive years among the world's best places to work by Fortune magazine. So can I really, really appreciate you taking the time and thanks for joining us today.

Ken Allen:   1:22
Thank you. Reggie was a great pleasure to be here with you.

Radu Palamariu:   1:24
Super. So   let's let's maybe start by asking you a bit. On the personal side, you've been with DPD. It'll group for a long, long time. 35 years career. It's a hard question, but tell us you're in a nutshell, right? How did you end up there? And then also, you know, how is it after 35 years with the group?

Ken Allen:   1:44
Yeah, well, just just very quickly, I left. I left school with 16 but I was back in 1971 on denies working in a number of local companies in the UK But then in 1918 when I joined an international company called Alberta Bella, I worked in various locations Sudan, Kuwait, rain, Jamaica, which is recognized Canary Islands, Monaco. And during that time, remember this this is quite some tactical. Uh, it was not the use of communication there is today. We weigh always used D h l or one of its competitors, Thio to send our financial results into London. And I got to know in a couple of those locations that be a chill, guys. It was always a very friendly culture. And then I got told that there was some opportunities coming up. I was qualified financial guy by that time. And therefore I joined the HL in Middle East in 1985 when I started in Saudi Arabia, moved to Egypt and then came to Bahrain, is the regional finance manager. Um, A couple of years later, I became the regional manager and my boss moved on and I became a regional manager. So it was quite a quick promotion in in those days. There was a lot of fast expansion and a lot of movement within the organization. And then in the 1998 there was the Asian, the global sort of financial crisis, right? Especially down in in Asia. And I moved into Singapore. What? I spent six, six great years, and it was at the time you know when all the problems going on, especially in Thailand, Indonesia, and was quite interesting point as well, because that really sort of helped cement my view on pricing issues. You know, the currencies and some of those countries dropped by so much, you know, you couldn't cost reduce your way out of the problem. You have to be quite discipline them on and aggressive on the on the pricing front. So six years looking after the whole of Asia back in a financial. And then in 2004 I was asked to go to be country CEO of Canada, which had just acquired a domestic company and running into problems, which was to become a bit of a story of my time in D Ed Shell. So we rapidly turned that situation around. When I got that in 2004 it was losing 45 million. When I left in 2006 it was making 12 so that was really all about service quality, making sure that we're giving the customer what he was paying for. There's a lot of churn at that time, and I even said, you know, let's let's be clear here. Let's not sell until the service quality Littles are where they should be. After that, I went to Belgium in Europe to run in 2006 to Rome. It was called India, Eastern Europe, Middle Eastern Africa to the big region, 88 countries, 12 time zones, but a riel entrepreneurial spirit. Revenue growth was very strong on bond be bid was one of the best in the organization and in that time we continued to grow revenue by 12 to 15% and we almost doubled the immediate margin in that time. So that was quite a great successful period for me. And then I got the call to go to the United States, where again we've done a really big domestic opposition that didn't work properly. Um, when I get I got there, we were losing over 100 month, which is quite something. In fact, you know, one of the stories I tell us that the one month would we'd lost about 100 and 60 million on the finance guy told me Well, it was four million better than forecasts or doesn't help. It's too much on then 2000. I fixed a lot of that. We have to close the look of the domestic business down, which was quite a dramatic experience, actually, one that I wouldn't want to go through again. But the turnaround was done. And then 2009 my boss, Frank Apple, asked me to become the CEO of the Express division, which I did from 2009 to 2018 and that's a big part of my book. Radical simplicity. Just showing, um, in there. The balanced scorecard is to how we improved on all metrics. You know, our people engagement went up. Our service quality went up. Our market share went up on our profitability. Went from losing 2.2 brilliant in 2008 making just about two brilliant in 2018. Spot turn around. And then from 2019 to date, I've been running what we call e Commerce Solutions, which is a number of big businesses. It turns over about four billion the whole division outside of Germany. So that's it, in a nutshell. Very quickly,

Radu Palamariu:   7:17
yeah, 35 35 years. It's it's it's quite a quite It's quite a period, and I wanted to I wanted to go a little bit deeper into the story of the turnaround. You did a digital express because we have some younger people, younger industry professionals that are listening to the to the polka. So I just wanted maybe to first ask you a little bit to set the context on. You mentioned there was some some fairly big losses that were happening when you took over the company. But I just wanted to let's start first in setting the context. So where it was when you when you took took charge of the company and what was some of the challenges? And from there, we, you know, we go into the story around how you did the change.

Ken Allen:   8:01
Yeah. Um, well, first thing I'd like to say to everybody, you know, is that the turnaround artist? And, you know, I've done quite a few turnarounds, especially then d h l that they get a lot of the publicity in the kudos, right? But the real heroes in business people that you know, grow their businesses every year. Very careful about the risk they take on, provide a very solid, um, profitably growing business. Uh, which it was my intention. I should. You know what? When I took over, because unless you're growing profitably, a lot of the good things can't be done. So just like very quick history of be a general. It was founded in 1969. It was very entrepreneurial. It was what we call today a disrupter. Lots of legal cases against them with the post offices around the world in the early days. But like all new comm, Mr Shocked, as if it grew very rapidly. Um, but again, like some of the companies today, it never really made a lot of money. It was all about expansion building the brand name. I don't think they really thought of that time about selling out, but they were trying to grow the business. But by 2000 and it started to really started to lose money on 2002 Dodger Post stepped in and bordered a time when it was losing about 100 50 1,000,000 a year. So even when Dr Poor struck over and thank God that torture posted to the worst, you know, it might have gone bankrupt. It, um it wasn't making any money. And then the idea was to try and make it more efficient by linking it with a number of domestic businesses around the world, particularly in the U. S. But the i t the cultural aspects on dhe basically the business models from domestic to international is so different. But he started to compound the losses. And I say that, you know, the worst case was in the United States, where, you know, we were losing, um, over a 1,000,000,000 a year. So we have to get out of some of it. Wasn't just United States. It was friends. It was the U. K. My point was, look, way we were still at that time just about world leader in the business that we had invented, which is the international express business. My idea was to get everybody focused on being the absolute quality leader in International Express. So that's what happened. Um, where when I took over so way got everybody reflux, and I think it's important that, you know, from focus does come growth. If you keep looking at what you're really good at, you'll always find growth opportunity around it.

Radu Palamariu:   10:57
I just wanted to to ask you in that moment, so I imagine you know you coming in, Frank Apple asked you to look. Look into them into this challenge business. I think you're mentioning it was losing two billion. Plus, that that point in time. What was your mom for? The audience that might be putting the similar scenario. Maybe not the same scale. But, you know, you have to do a turn around. You have to change something about the business. You have to think differently. What went through your mind? So Okay, um, I'm going into this business that is losing two billion plus at that crossroad moment off. Okay, We need to do something different. But it was your process, right? How did you think about the problem? I think that's although the challenge that's that that could provide a lot of value to the audience.

Ken Allen:   11:42
Yeah, well, I think you go. Like I said, you have to look up. What is your profitable call? What? What really drives your economic engine? What do you What do you best in class? Best in the world at what drives your economic engine. You know what? What are your people really grounded in? And as I say in our case, that being a lot of domestic acquisitions that the US being the biggest and the and at least successful. So it was a matter of cleaning up some of the loss making businesses around the core. So the United States was a big part of it. UK, France or part of it. China domestic. So it was all about refocusing the business on the piece that we could be the best in the world. Up as I say, we were still the market leader in the international timeto definite industry, you know, and it's a big segment. It says we turn over 15 billion. The total markets, probably 40 billion s. So it's it's something that if you are efficient, if you are the best thing in the world, did it, then you should build to make a good, profitable return on it. And I think you know, I come from a finance background, and I always say to people, You know, revenue is vanity. A lot of people are trying to grow the business for the sake of growth. Now, when you when you're a young start up, you're trying to attract capital than revenue. Growth is very important, but I think in a more established business, revenue can be vanity. And you see people chasing revenue for the rum wrong reasons. You know anybody sanity and cash flow is reality. So you gotta make sure that the cash that you're investing is going to give you that kind of return. Also, in your core business, if you are excellent quality, really good quality than you can charge a bit of the premium. I'm not talking 10 15% premiums, but you can charge a bit of a premium on your product. And that's what funds the ability to, you know, make a reasonable margin. So, you know, we went from losing morning in 2000 and eight to making a imagine of over 12% in 2018 which I think is, uh, kind of target that you should be looking for. And then I think the people that work for you, they also know what you can be good at. And therefore, you know, as I traveled around pretty extensive, another and I was in the fort in a fortunate position as well, because by the time I became CEO, you know, I draw on Eastern Europe middle Eastern Africa from the U. S. Did run Canada. So you know, not being to virtually every region over 112 countries around the world, so people knew me. But when people know where you're going and they know that they're excited with the international express business and they could see some of the mistakes that we've made, it's amazing how people pull together and really start to drive you towards your goals and that that's a big part of what I say in my book. Radical simplicity, simplicity. It doesn't being easy. Simplicity means that you know you know your business intimately. You're an expert in it and therefore you ca n't tell everybody within the organization in a quite a straightforward way. Whether it's a courier or a country manager, you know exactly what we tried to achieve exactly where we want to get to on DDE. That brings a lot of people along with you.

Radu Palamariu:   15:26
And I

Ken Allen:   15:26
also just said one thing. There's also in those domestic businesses, most of them which would acquired We didn't have the right kind of skill sets, you know, it was like a lot of acquisitions assumes you acquired the company the management left. It's very difficult, honestly, to integrate I t systems and cultures, especially if they're quite sizable companies and therefore people who who are working. They realize that the management doesn't have that that level of expertise and that guy's Noah Crane motivated for people When when they when they know that you are really laying out what you're going to do and they know that you can achieve it, um, they all come on side and motivated people is the biggest driver of great service quality and loyal customers.

Radu Palamariu:   16:22
Yes, yes, for sure. And I think you you specifically have this. I think you you devote a chapter and, um, need states. Ultimately, at the heart of every business people is they are the heart of her patients. So you say people drive profit and then also you I know that you invested in your people and that paid off big time. By all the key metrics that you mentioned market share EBITA customers the inspection, and then also a very, very good indicator. And maybe the best indicator is employeessatisfaction right? Because that has consistently increased and I've seen reports over the last 10 years in India Chilled Express. And that's why I also you've Bean awarded all those great awards in terms of great place to places to work. Tell us a little bit more about about that. I know that you also created certain training that everybody indeed should express went through. So maybe maybe if you can expand a little bit about yourself. Process, Run.

Ken Allen:   17:17
Yeah, Yeah, I think just just let me make a point about to get into the people, right? I mean, to get people rallied around. It's not just gonna be a rap profit, right? I mean, everybody wants to make profit right, because they know that that's it. That's the way forward. But the big rebellion cried. That we always have is around customer. I think it's very, very important that people are customer centric when, when I goto a town hall anywhere within Duhl, I asked a question. Who here is in sales? And I asked the question until everybody in the room puts a hand right, because at the end of the day, the purpose of a business is to create and keep a customer. And if you can get everybody in the organization to realize that that you know, we here too fulfill customer needs. And if we do that, you know then will grow and grow profitably. It's a much better rallying cold than the profitability or even to an extent in service quality. You know, we want the service quality. So again, in my book, I talk about a lot of things that all the theory on dhe information that you need is already out there. And I worked on the basis of what was called the service Profit chain on. In our example, we broke it out into four killers, motivated people to live a great service quality which results in loyal customers. Loyal customers are your best source of profit and marketing and everything else and that that comes to a profitable network. I mean, when you got to profit, you've got a lot more to reinvest and we put the biggest reinvestment into into our people. We relaunch the thing called 35 international specialist, because I wanted to get out of the domestic businesses that were we weren't good at and concentrated on the thing that we were best in the world out, which is international express. I wanted everybody to be a certified international specialist. This was in you know what? The beginning of the turnaround in 2009. 10 end of nine beginning of 10 where we were still marginally profitable on this thing. You know, it was gonna cost us over over 100 million of the investment, But I just thought it was so important to reinvigorate the culture. Get everybody behind the vision on, then move it all along. Yeah, In  my book, I put in there that the balanced scorecard and you're just a couple of examples on the motivated people from employee engagement from 63% to 88%. I'm one of the things that I was really proud of us. That the knowledge of strategy went from 50 Cent for 88 cents a swell, which is very unusual in the business like ours, where we have a lot of from line blue color workers. In 2018 we were six. Best place to work by 19 gun up to four. Great service quality. Our transit time achievement, all false, went from 94 to 90 sticks. We went over 200 customer service awards than our market share from 29 2 38 and profit increases, I think profit. Obviously you keep it in the back of your mind at all times. But profit comes from doing all the other thinking so absolutely the right way. And I think just it's a great thing for anybody. You know, the service profit chain. It's so easy to explain to everybody in simplicity off, you know, motivated people delivering great service quality, motivated people that the great service quality for two reasons and these are not always obvious. Number one is that they motivated people followed process. They follow a process because because they know systemically the network works. You're gonna put a shipment into the network in Singapore, and it's gonna come out in Mont of the day or Uruguay, right? So everything's going to be right. The and export documentation, customer contact, details and everything. That's so they know that if they follow process, it's going to give the customer what he wants on those rare occasions where things sometimes go wrong. You know, motivated people have such empathy for the customer that they want to work together as best they can to fix that problem immediately, then this gives his great feedback to in improve the so this quality a CZ we go along. So these are the things that really contribute and loyal customers. As I say they're your best marketing and that your best route to profitability where I always say, is you need to look in every business that you go into at all your customers and look at what we call customer churn Wyatt customers leaving you right, you know, on Everybody's trying to get more customers coming in to cover any tune that they have. But the most important thing in the service business is to look at why any of your customers are turning. Never leave, never lose a customer unless you you're absolutely understand the reasons why. Because when you start to dig into that and you speak to your customer service people, you find those elements of your of your business that you can improve concerts that they make better but that in fact, in D h r. We coined a phrase insanely customer centric because we wanted t make people realize how important customers and then you know, to really feel upset if we ever disappointed or or let down and customer and uh, all that end when when people start to feel like that, it's almost like a virtuous cycle on one of the things when you talk about great places to work that wasn't something that was launched from the center. That was the number of individual countries saying, You know, while we really believe now there are processes, our commitment to people, the things that we do you know, we have appreciation weeks and play of the year like everybody just but that we have GH l's go Ellen GH l's got hot basic to themselves, right? You know, we should, you know, we can put ourselves up against the best, not just in the industry, but the best in class in any country. And that's how we started winning three hr awards and he was the same in customer service. We have a great customer service lady and she works out of Singapore Court on Do you know what? When she came to to us, you know, she took us to American Express. They just BC to see what they're called census looked like. And eventually over time, the power process has improved to an extent that they said that the company CEOs we started applying for external worlds to judge ourselves in each country against the best in class and in 2001 over 200 wars. And again, that's not builds on the the motivated people aspect really makes a difference. I think when you talk about becoming world class, it's when the great people in your organizations that feel so confident about what they're doing that you know, they're preparing themselves for those kind of awards and really believing that we've got best in class systems and processes

Radu Palamariu:   24:43
and wanted to because one of the indeed incredible, in my opinion, and I think a lot of people that are listening would agree. It's incredible that in a business like yours, where you indeed have you No Eun did have quite a few blue collar career time off work force. The fact that almost 90% of the workforce would declare that they have a very clear understanding of division that speaks massively about what she wants, the book is all about right. It's it's radical simplicity because in reality we both know a lot of lawlessness You know, a lot of companies are out there, and even if you look at their values and mission and vision and sometimes on the walls, you you're kind of scratching your head. Like what? What does it mean? Because it's so complex, is so complicated. A lot of change management initiatives and processes in a lot of times failures, you know, because it's basically people cannot follow. What are we trying to do? Is not simple enough, right? If it is, I actually said if you if you can't explain simply, you don't understand it. So I wanted to go to ask you a little bit. Remember this If there's some tips and tricks, or I mean is that I know that you you basically encouraged people to do not to do lists, right? How to make sure that you keep it. You know, you keep it simple. I mean, I know it can be a very weird question in some ways now that I'm asking it. But you know, there's some tips off. You know, if you were to coach some people like, you know, how do you make sure that it's very simple and easy to isn't to relate.

Ken Allen:   26:14
Yeah, well, yeah, I I think in my book radical simplest E. I make I make the point that who wants to pay for simple advice, you know, is a consult. What income really going to say? Well, this is simple and pretty forward because a lot of people talk about strategy, but actually, in reality, a lot of strategy is the same. I saw some documentation once said that within an industry, you know, 86% of the strategy is the same. So, you know, you sort of, you know, we rise to say we've got a strategic plan. It's called doing things right, because most strategy is about execution. 90% of strategies execution and 90% of execution is people. So once you know where you're going and you've laid it all out to nothing again, that's one of the big things that we did. You know, we wrote down our plans for for five years. I know everybody is a five year one, but they don't always publish. But then how did you make that strategy and that execution relevant to all the people in the organization? Just one big tip is you know, don't change your strategy on a regular basis because it takes a year for the strategy to get through each level of the organization. So if there's five levels between myself on this customer service agent, it could take four or five years before they fully understand what's going on. Then the secondly is to speak a language that reflects all the things that people talk about in strategy but really is very close to you. So I always say, Look, let's look ATT What binds us together is human beings. And in our industry, I would say, You know, it's music sport, You know, everybody has a favorite team, love. Everybody wants a partner and logistics, right? So that there are things. And then to get the message over to to it everybody, um, we start talking about things like insanely customer centric culture at the Big Yellow Machine, which is the operation system that we used, you know, best day, every day instead of continuous improvement. This trying to get those words that when people hear that you know the relevant to everybody's on dhe, you know, they know that it's come from from from from D h l you know, for us, right? First time everyone's a sales person. Um, the age knowledgeable, polite and helpful. So these are things that we try to use tooted to get these messages across on Dhe. As I say, the four pillars motivated people create service quality, low customers, probably network. It's an easy concept to understand them. One of you know, one of the big abortions I had when we first launched the certified international specialist was a courier in South Africa or just rattled off the four pillars and explained, You know how he is a motivated courier? Um, could you don't really help the company to get where it wants to go. The other thing that we did this private certified international specialists and again it's in the book is we gave everybody a passport, recorded the passport success because, you know, International Certified International International triple requires cast off, and this became quite a fool for building a sort of family spirit. So everybody gets a passport to success when they come in. When they when they do the induction and when they do all the training, they get a sticker which is supposed to be a visa at the equivalent of the visa in the passport. But the other thing that it's done is it's really helped to bind and everybody together. You know, everybody's got a certified passport and this really phase to everybody. Like, you know, we don't care about race, religion, color, sexual orientation or anything else like that. If you carry the passport and you really care deeply about our customers and you care deeply about your colleagues that you work for, you know, and that's a great statement to the to the whole world. Some of the things that we we like to say is, you know, we want D H L to be the best in the world of what we what we do. But we also want the intel to be an example of the world at its best, that all of us can get along together that, you know, there is no political boundaries between human beings. We're more alike than we different, and I think that when you are successful, you get this kind of has a set of virtuous cycle where people are comfortable in their jobs. They know they've got a future and then they start to want to do more for society in general. So I think that's a big part of how this thing became so successful.

Radu Palamariu:   31:14
And I wanted to specifically ask you on the piece on music. You said music is what What binds us. I know. And I've read several pieces that you're a big music fan. And I also know that, uh, you like to blend it in your leadership style. I also read that you're an excellent car. Okay, Singer. Eso eso tell us a little bit. Also about about that You know what kind of obviously songs are good To keep things simple, right and transmit a message So maybe maybe share with the audience a little bit how you use music in your leadership.

Ken Allen:   31:51
I guess it's the same thing, you know. So inn express division, you know, we were over 100,000 people and a good 90,000 plus of those people are real from mine people working in the hubs customer service courier on dhe, enjoyable for us as well. So for each killer, we just wanted to try and get the message across in a different way. So we had a lot of old advertising campaigns that use music as well. So the one that detail was really well known for, especially in the eighties was Ain't No Mountain high Enough and oh, that that's some was almost written for for a company like the D A child, you know, if you need me, call me no matter where you are. No matter how far I'll be there in a hurry on that, you can depend on never worry because, baby, there ain't no mountain high enough. What he said to every everybody was. You know, this is that this is the thing for motivated people. There's no mountain high enough. There's nothing that we won't do to satisfy our customers and keep them loyal. And then we had another advertising campaign which love, which is the love sweet love so great service quality. What the world needs now is love, sweet love, because I think again it sounds a bit cheesy in a way, but it's it's very powerful, you know, we said to everybody that you know, we want people to feel that affinity with which customer we don't want anything to go wrong. And even if you're in customer service on dso You speaking on the phone? The customer knows where the you Karen and having that love for our customers is something that's gonna set us apart. Then for loyal customers, there was a great son came out cold simplicity. Our our our quality program is called First Choice. It was all about making life simple for our customers. Andi, Um, there's a great song called Simplicity. It works for me, keeps me running hard and smart and true. I focused on the basic stuff, and pretty soon I'm coming up from you. So that was all about focus and making sure that we give the customer the service every wants and then on again, this is an interesting story. So on profitable network I even got a call from a guy in our I T department. Actually said Ken got a great great song for Profitable Network and it was the troubles. McCoy, Bruno, Mars. Some want to be a deal yet and so freaking bears. Then we added UPS and FedEx will be sad. Further old Forbes magazine. TNT is never to be seen and you know, hopefully still here you'll see a lot of people know those songs and sing along with them And also really things that really moved me once. I was coming home on the flight and I saw Lady Gaga in concert of Medicine Square Garden. You know, when she was younger, you know, she she she was a little bit of abusive May be the wrong word, right? But people never thought she'd made it. Nobody really supported her. And then she was. She'd sold out Madison Square Garden and she turned to the audience and she said, Don't let anybody tell you you're not good enough. You're not smart enough. You can't sing well enough. You can't answer that. You just tell them you're the god damn superstar and you were born this way. And I think she's right. I think in every person does that ability to be a superstar. And also from our perspective, what I told all my managers is Look, if we want to be the best in the world in our business, everybody who works for us, that's got to be a superstar in our industry. So our Korea is gonna be the best international express career in the world. Are customer service agent was gonna be the best international customer service agent that there is. And when you start to think about people, is being superstars, then the whole way that you managed changes. You know, the days of commanding control are gone. And it's all about educating our people developing than spending time with making sure that they've got all the tools on the capability and the great certified international training to be absolutely the best. And I tell all my managers and it's written down in the documentation and everything else, 70% of your time out in the field visiting customers or motivating our people

Radu Palamariu:   36:36
and wanted to ask you and the dead, then by and by the way, I I love the songs and I'll check out the one that the edited version that you just mentioned. I think I should be able to find it on your trip. That's very creative, you know? Sure that maybe the companies you mentioned may not may or may not have liked it, But the ending Listen, one thing

Ken Allen:   36:58
that we're not think got safety. Everybody is well, this in my mind, business is a sport nor the war. You know

Radu Palamariu:   37:05
it's a sport.

Ken Allen:   37:06
You know what we want to win. We want to be best in class. And you know what? You know, we, uh we get on well together. We learn from each other islands a lot from FedEx and ups for sure. All of the great company. Still nothing. Most people see that in the spirit that it's meant.

Radu Palamariu:   37:24
Yes, yes. On DSO I wantedto ask you on the topic of leadership, but I think it's a It's a big word. It's ah, it's a possible that this well, it's a or that means many things for many people in Yeah, but what does it mean to you? And I know that that's that's also part of the framework that you highlights. And in the book, what does it mean to you leadership and to be and to make a great leader? Yeah, I know

Ken Allen:   37:49
this is my view. Right side, so different Goodman of different years. But I really believe that festival leader that's gonna be an expert in his field. What's an expert? An expert is a is an ordinary person who decides to, you know, become an expert, really learn about things. So in business. If you want to be an expert in International Express or in hotel industry, then you've really got to get in there on dhe. Really learn about your particular industry. So first of all, leaders got to really understand all the elements. You know, the key triggers to pole, um, in his business. So that's I think that's this number one. And I think more and more today you gotta have your gonna combine that then with great people skills and those people skills will be different for each individual. You know, there's no point trying to copy necessary somebody else's style. But you've gotta have an affinity with people, especially in the service business. Like like the just sixes. Um, you gotta go and convey your message to them. Let them see where you're going, but also listen to them as well. And then, sure, people that you can get things done that urine execute er I mean, a lot of times the ideas Ah, right on DDE. Easy to see, but ah, lot of times in life there's not a lot of people that can actually execute and get things done. So I think on your way to becoming a leader, you have to take on a number of roles that show to everybody what you can do. So, for example, when I move from Singapore is a regional finance person of a big region to Canada is a country manage it in certain ways. It was a it was a lateral move, but it helped me, too. Show my ability to execute in a pretty sizable country and get things done on that. There's also a lot of people involvement there. Vory unionized environment when I was in Canada, so we had to get around and we have to talk to, uh, you know, a lot of people as well. So I think, first of all, as a say again, be an expert, develop those people skills on dhe show that you can execute leaders, get things done at the end of the day.

Radu Palamariu:   40:22
Mmm, Yes, wanted also to ask you on the industry a little bit because you know the express in the stream. Nowadays you have a little bit of a different playing field, almost developing right with with people, not with some players not playing by the normal rules. And when I say that I mean, the Alibaba and the Amazon. And this is huge market place in any commerce giants. How do you see the express industry moving forward in the next years to come? Brought, you know, more from a you know more from the next to 3 to 5 years. Perspective. What's your thoughts on it?

Ken Allen:   41:00
That's a great question. Madness raised a number of times. So festival When I when I think about Amazon Ali Baba, right? People say, you know, they're actually big customers of Alice is well, right. So the first thing I always say is, where would the parcel industry be today without Amazon and Alibaba? Right? So first of all, you know, they have really, um how revolutionized the change in the retail industry. Not necessarily believe logistics indebted to start with right. But, you know, they really pushed that change in the retail industry. And they've created this demand for, you know, so many more parcels and deliveries than the industry. The old industry would ever created itself. So when you look at them, have a look at the positive aspects and the other thing is that not led to the growth of e tailers, you know, like you know, H and M a sauce. All the other people that sprang up to, you know, to sell online, and then on top of that, if if they won't say force partner, they've encouraged just about every single brick and mortar read retailer as well to create an online presence to, you know, to have things delivered online. So, you know, Harrods and Saints Prison. All these big companies. Now, you know, they have an online presence, you know, so that they don't lose out too much to these companies. They they've created the grey JJ environment for the logistics companies to step up. Now, uh, the difficult the difficulty is on, you know, you saw it in particular with Amazon. But you know, they have these massive peaks on dhe is difficult for a traditional player to be able to deliver some of those peaks to the, um, service levels that are required on also, economically, you can. You can't build your network to the level of your biggest day of the year of a passion beyond the capacity for for all of the time. So I think there's a symbiotic relationship there that you know a Mazon, Alibaba, JD Logistics. All the others right there work together with the traditional place, and then they'll do some areas that they think they can do better themselves. But this There's gonna be enough business for everybody because that you know that they're creating a transformation from people going to retail outlets to people got more moral lines. So the volumes that be generated, they're going to go up on DL. The established plays should built it, compete in that market. But that's not the only business is that we have. So we've got a base load of business, plus the e commerce stuff that's coming in. The other thing is, well, this is that e commerce is not just a to see phenomenon. It's not just tow individual consumer. A lot of business to business now is being transacted online on DSO. That generates an opportunity as well. I think overall it's gonna continued to grow, maybe even at one point exponentially because if you look at the moment, especially on the international market, a lot of it is relatively law. Wait relatively low value as people become Maur used to shopping online, the bigger the biggest stuff. More valuable stuff will start to move onto online as well, because you know, the service quality and the efficiencies there, therefore, for logistics companies is going to continue. Thio the girl at the end of the day, Understand? In Ali Baba is still very much especially any bother. You know, in this sort of market place, brokerage, type of type of environment, I think we have to make sure that our digitalization and service quality is right up there on we get our our fair share of continued growth in. If I look at my previous role in International Express, I think it would be a long time before any of those marketplaces of a global network of any size Yes, they could do maybe China to Hong Kong, Taiwan and a couple of other places. But have a global logistics network like the H L FedEx ups off, take a long time on a lot of investment. You know, there's a lot of dedicated airline relationships with all the customs authorities around the world, so on that piece is growing faster than the domestic commerce. So I think for the next 56 years, we've got a good growth trajectory.

Radu Palamariu:   46:02
Mmm. Final question from from me can and it's it's It's something that I like to ask for for the maybe the students that are coming up and looking forward to a longer than is very successful career in logistics like yourself. What would be some of the key pieces of advice that you would tell them that would help them a lot in there in their career. You mentioned you mentioned on the leadership piece on the so scarce piece. But maybe, maybe if you have some other nuggets of wisdom, let's say that that you would give

Ken Allen:   46:35
my number my number one thing to everybody I'm gonna look at when I look back nearly my career, especially a za fixer. What? I didn't pay enough attention to him. What I came to realize later on is I just realized that total importance of customers. So whatever functional role you're in realized, you know those immortal words. Um, the purpose of a business is to create in keep customer, and I think so often, when you when you're in a functional role or even in a general role, sometimes you you know, you obviously keep in the back of your mind about customer. But you gotta build this situation when you realize that your growth, your profitability, everything is dependent on the customers and therefore early in your career just make sure that no matter what business you're in that you take time on you ask your your boss the weather to link you to a customer tip. You have to give you responsibility for any of them, no matter what their size, so that you keep close to them and what's going on in the market. Because that's gonna be the whole basis of your success and growth going forward. And then, um, yeah, I'll come back on that motivated people think just just again. Whatever business you're in takes takes some time, whether it whether it's once or twice 1/4 that's enough to be a regular basis. But go out on Dhe, sit down with frontline people. So, like for my business, you know, going out with the Korea, Just sure she's so much sitting down with the customer service agents and listening to the kind of calls it the going just tells you so much that you know you don't see from a from A P and l account off from general discussions. So I think that they're the two biggest things, you know. So, you know, obviously find a professional discipline that you're really interested in, whether it's i t fine on sales and marketing operations, right? Get get your professional discipline established, then find in an industry or the company that you really like that you like the cultural because you don't you know you don't want to go into a company you don't fit into. And believe me, you'll never built to change the culture of a company. Even a CEO struggles to do that. You know, when I look a culture, I look at what, what's good about what we're doing and trying to build it open, emphasize it, not trying to change it. Hey, so that those are the three things. If you know what I might check, Mark is as well is. Get out with a customer, look at what the front line's doing and then obviously get yourself a professional discipline with its operations, cells or whatever on trying pull those things together.

Radu Palamariu:   49:33
No great great point, their skin in great summary and thanks a lot for the time, and I really encourage our our audience to find Kens book. You can. You can find it online. You can find it in bookstores. Also go to Kim's website because I know that you share a few nuggets and a few feet years and more, you know, management tips and and obviously it's free of charge and, you know, 35 years of experience in 23 minutes bites. It's very good. I want myself if and yeah, look many, many things for joining us for joining a skin and at great sharing session.

Ken Allen:   50:14
Many thanks to you radio And, as I say like it by my New Year's resolutions, you know, keep healthy, keep happy. Keep in touch. Right. So thank you very much,

Radu Palamariu:   50:23
sir. Thank you. Can thank you for listening if you like what you heard, we should to go to www dot elka global dot com. Intrigued the podcast button for all the show. Notes of the interview Also subscribe to our mailing list to get our latest updates First. If you're listening through a streaming platform like iTunes Spotify arts teacher, we would appreciate a kind with you five star works best keep us going and our production team happy and, of course, share it with your friends. I most active Arlington, so do feel free to follow me. And if you have any suggestions on what what to do and hooting by next, don't hesitate to drop me a note. And if you're looking to hire top executives in supply chain or transform your business, of course, contact us as well to find out how we can help.