“This group offers healthy synergy”
What makes bpost group unique?
Dirk Tirez, Chief Executive Officer a.i.: We are evolving into a strategic holding company with diverse activities on different continents. The group consists of various companies, each with their own characteristics and commercial offer. What connects the group are the people, the values, the financial and strategic orientations and the talent management.
Kathleen Van Beveren, CEO Parcels & Logistics Europe & Asia: United, the companies in our group have much more leverage than if they were to operate individually. We make optimal use of all our capacities. And we do it by asking ourselves what competencies we have in-house, and how we can combine them into a one of a kind, complete offer?
Dan Klenkar, Head of Sales at Radial: An organization only exists according to the needs of the customer. We keep that in mind in everything we do. Thanks to the bpost group, Radial has grown even more into a leading omni-commerce company, and as bpost group we can help our customers scale around the world better than ever. By bringing together knowledge and experience, you achieve real synergy. And a meaningful differentiation in the market.
Is bpost group more of an ecosystem than a single, large organization?
Klenkar: All the individual companies are free to follow their own course, but we also want to avoid having to reinvent the wheel over and over again. Where possible, we look for synergy. This can be about how we approach customers or how we optimize our processes, but also about shared technology or a bundled purchasing strategy. As long as we all benefit from it, collaboration is relevant.
Van Beveren: We see that our customers – especially in e-commerce – are increasingly active worldwide. So, within the group, we work closely together, in order to push boundaries. And in order to serve our customers even better.
Klenkar: We are increasingly asking ourselves: who are we as part of the bpost group? I think we have already broken down quite a few silos. And by communicating with each other and getting to know each other, we realize that together we can add massive value.
“Autonomy is necessary to achieve long-term financial and strategic goals. What is unifying in the group are not the activities, which are sometimes very diverse, but the noble goal, the universal values and the group’s talent pool.”
How do you collaborate today?
Van Beveren: Parcels & Logistics are present in the US, Europe and Asia. We work closely together with and within these entities on topics like offer, sales and operations, but also on engineering and legal themes.
Tirez: A good example is our global legal team that develops compliant business solutions for all logistics services in e-commerce. We efficiently share the knowledge and experience within the group for the benefit of our customers.
Is there an overarching culture?
Sybille van Steenberghe, Programme Manager Culture, Values and Leadership: The values in the different entities are quite close. So we have to actually define those group values and leadership behaviours and implement them in the entire organization, e.g. by developing a common leadership program. Values are the DNA of our organization, it is what makes us unique and will help us to stimulate, retain and attract talent, but also to build trust towards our stakeholders.
Tirez: We appreciate the various strategic initiatives in different countries. Autonomy is necessary to achieve long-term financial and strategic goals. What is unifying in the group are not the activities, which are sometimes very diverse, but the noble goal, the universal values and the group’s talent pool.
“Standardization should not be an end in itself. You have to look at the whole process, end to end. The goal is to support our customers as well and as efficiently as possible.”
What about talent development in bpost group?
Yves Henet, Career Management Director: Although we are all in different businesses, synergy is possible. What unites us is that talent makes the difference everywhere. We have a total of 2,700 managers. We want this group to grow and evolve by offering career and development opportunities. It is also important for us to always have the right person in the right place.
Van Beveren: Employees who start at a subsidiary immediately know that they are part of a group. And that, in the future, they can evolve to another organization within the group. That is precisely the advantage: there are so many opportunities to grow. It is a perspective that we want to use even more.
Henet: With our group career management policy, we want to become a breeding ground for talent. It is important to match our employees’ ambitions with those of our companies and provide opportunities for growth. We need to know what kind of talent we have at our disposal and prepare people for the next step. It does not mean that we want to impose our career management approach, but we provide guidelines and processes that are helpful.
Tirez: One of our values is inclusion. We know that people get the best out of themselves when they can be their authentic selves. We go for diversity and inclusion. An important value for bpost leadership, wherever it is active, is empathy, with human interaction and helping employees achieve their ambition.
“As bpost group, we can help our customers scale around the world better than ever and more efficiently and effectively than our competitors.”
What can bpost group do for customers?
Van Beveren: We do everything we can to make our customers succeed. Separately or together. And always according to their needs. We want to create added value with our internal partnerships and coordination.
Klenkar: Our customers’ needs are changing rapidly. Radial has always been a leader to help our clients grow by offering leading edge solutions that they may not even be aware of. Optimizing our omnichannel solutions during the corona pandemic is another example of this. The great advantage of our synergy is that we adapt quickly, inspire each other and together make our customers more successful.
Tirez: Our group’s impact grows when we show that we can optimally help our customers to grow. We can do this by sharing our knowledge, experience and skills around the world. Then we are a valuable logistics service provider in e-commerce solutions.
What is the impact of this on the organization of bpost group?
Van Beveren: There is a strong coordination that benefits our customers. But it also benefits the group, because we share knowledge which makes us perform better together. We use the group’s experiences to inspire and grow. And we do that at different levels. We have identified 15 areas in which we can work together. We always aim for a good collaboration and knowledge sharing, and avoid complex and suffocating structures.
van Steenberghe: This collaboration is also growing organically. Our international leadership program will enable us to boost that exchange. It is an opportunity to recognize similarities, to be open to the differences and at the same time to learn much from each other.
“Values are the DNA of our organization, it is what connects us and makes us unique as a group.”
Is it also about sharing technology?
Van Beveren: We try to share as much technology as possible and will do so even more strongly in the future. Although, sometimes, there are good reasons to choose a different technology, such as local differences or different customer needs.
Klenkar: There have been significant advances is fulfilment automation over the past 10 years, and as labour costs increase these solutions become more and more viable for third party operators. While each of our clients’ operating parameters are unique, we can leverage the experiences and expertise across each of our operating units to offer the most appropriate solutions for our clients. The key is to collaborate the learnings of each organization and find synergies and commonalities across businesses and regions. Additionally, having a common technology platform that our clients can leverage to enable their global expansion provides us with a unique competitive advantage versus our competition.
Van Beveren: Standardization should not be an end in itself. You have to look at the whole process, end to end. The goal is to support our customers as well and as efficiently as possible.
“What unites us is that talent makes the difference everywhere. We want the group to grow and evolve by offering career and development opportunities.”
What are the major challenges for bpost group?
van Steenberghe: To let the talent in our organizations grow and develop even better, offer opportunities and space for diversity. Those are major challenges.
Tirez: For the sake of group benefits, we share infrastructure, development and architecture in terms of technology. But there is a great deal of local autonomy for the commercialization of software services in e-commerce to best serve the customers.
Van Beveren: The speed at which we can grow is the biggest challenge. To support that, we must deploy the right resources, people and technology. We will make more and more use of the synergy that arises in this group. There is a major pitfall on both sides of the spectrum: if we let go of each other completely, we miss synergy and if we create a monster-like organization, we stifle creativity and autonomy. I believe we will maintain a healthy balance.