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Find out how DHL’s new boss in Singapore plans to drive an ‘insanely customer centric culture’

Frank Uwe Ungerer assumes managing director in the city.

International express service provider, DHL Express, is off to a new start in its Asian operations with reshuffling of top executive lineup. On the first day of the year, Frank Uwe Ungerer succeeds Herbert Vongpusanachai as the managing director of Singapore office as the latter assumes the position of senior vice president of the Hong Kong & Macau office. Both report to Ken Lee, who serves as the CEO of DHL Express Asia Pacific.

Frank has 25 years of multicultural experience having worked in logistics across countries including Germany, Russia, China and Greece. He joined DHL in 2003 as Country Manager of DHL Express Russia and has since held various positions, most recently as Country Manager of DHL Express in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) where he was in charge of day-to-day regional operations for close to six years.

Singapore Business Review caught up with Frank to talk about his new role and his plans to sustain DHL’s business growth in Singapore. Below is the transcript of the interview with Frank:

SBR: What makes you excited about your new position?

FRANK: Singapore is a vibrant economy one of the most open in the world. It is a diverse society where “East meets West”. A young nation turning all but 51 this year, it took just one generation to propel itself from a Third World country to arguably one of the most successful societies in the world.

This would not have been possible without its hardworking people, whom I now have the privilege to work with.

For DHL, Singapore plays a critical role towards our growth in Asia Pacific. Our South Asia Hub is located here, reinforcing our global multi-hub strategy by leveraging the unmatched regional connectivity provided by Singapore.

Being in a new market with new people and an amazing city with great food - it is an exciting market to lead and grow.

SBR: What three goals are you focused on?

FRANK: I am focused on strengthening our position as Employer of Choice, Provider of Choice and Investment of Choice, which are the three bottom lines of DHL.

In DHL, we continuously drive an “Insanely Customer Centric Culture”, ensuring that our employees are highly motivated, well trained and emotionally engaged, so that they can consistently deliver great service quality, leading to loyal customers and a profitable network.

These four pillars of Motivated People, Great Service Quality, Loyal Customers and Profitable Network are what we continue to build on through our award-winning Certified International Specialist programme.

SBR: What will you do differently in this position?

FRANK: I have worked and lived in Germany, Russia, China, Greece, the UAE and now Singapore.
Singapore is one of the most competitive markets I have seen.

Customer expectations are extremely high so we need to further strengthen the fundamentals of the business to create a positive experience for our customers every time.

Speed, passion, a can-do attitude and doing things right first time are the key DHL employee attributes that will make a huge difference.

By following world-class processes, using world-class facilities and first-class tools, we work towards our vision of building the greatest international express company in the world.

SBR: What changes are you planning for?

FRANK: Each market is unique and different in its own way, so I will first need to learn, then adapt.

E-commerce, Internet of Things and “Fair and Responsible Business” are key trends that are bringing changes to the logistics industry. DHL has released trend reports such as “Global E-tailing 2025”, “Internet of Things in Logistics” and “Fair and Responsible Logistics” to explore the potential and possible application of these trends within the industry.

We are gearing up to meet these waves of change.

SBR: What are your key business philosophies?

FRANK: Customer is King. In DHL, we strive for an “Insanely Customer Centric Culture” in which delivering outstanding customer service is at the heart of everything we do.

Our approach is simple: to be knowledgeable, polite and helpful in every customer interaction.

SBR: What previous positions prepared you for this one and how?

The experience of growing the DHL business in several other markets helped me appreciate the strength of our network and learn to always see things with a pair of fresh eyes.

My career with DHL spans over 13 years. I first joined DHL in 2003 as the Country Manager of DHL Express Russia, then that of DHL Express Greece. I went on to head DHL Express in the United Arab Emirates (UAE), where I was for the last six years.

During my tenure, DHL UAE experienced exceptional and exponential growth year after year. As the market leader, DHL UAE registered strong revenue growth, gained service leadership and significantly increased its market share.

Before joining DHL, I managed a startup airport joint venture in St Petersburg, Russia, after having spent twelve years with Lufthansa Cargo in Germany, Russia and China. These early years in logistics provided valuable lessons that I can draw upon on when faced with new challenges.

SBR: Anything else you'd like to add?

FRANK: I find the people in Singapore warm, polite and professional, despite it being a fast-paced economy. It is a mature market that is well-positioned for exciting opportunities ahead in a vibrant region with fast-developing emerging markets such as Vietnam and Myanmar.

I am looking forward to the completion of the DHL Express South Asia Hub in 2016, as Singapore will become an even more important gateway to us.

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