The Business Year

Donovan Leigh James

JAMAICA - Transport

World-class Logistics Services

General Manager, DHL Jamaica


Donovan Leigh James is the General Manager of DHL Jamaica, the largest subsidiary for DHL in the Caribbean. He is also on the board at the Jamaica Chamber of Commerce. He is a doctoral candidate at the Mona School of Business.

Through aggressive e-commerce pricing, strong retail presence, and key partnerships, DHL confirming its status as the best logistics company and one of the best employers, globally.

How have your operations evolved since 2017?

We increased our retail footprint island wide from 75 to 135 drop points and with retail being a significant part of our 2020 growth strategy, we surpassed our expectations and grew revenue by 19% and shipment volumes by 33% YoY. We also learnt through an independent market intelligence study that we are the market leaders with 66% market share and the largest international express door-to-door logistics company in Jamaica. Continued investment in our people, equipment, and retail facilities to meet the continued demands of our customers have been key contributors to our success. As DHL Jamaica adopts a “people first” culture, it continues to ensure that its staff remains motivated and engaged. We are pleased to learn that we were accredited by the international Top Employer Institute as Top Employer 2018 for the third consecutive year.

How will DHL take advantage of free trade zones?

With the explosion of retail and e-commerce globally and growing customer demands, there will be several opportunities for warehousing/fulfillment centers and shipping companies, and economic zones will be ideal for this. This will offer many benefits to DHL, enabling it to establish a presence in these zones and be closer to its clients; the retail and e-commerce segments are main strategic drivers of our 2020 growth initiative. In this space, we will offer aggressive e-commerce pricing, strong retail presence, better aviation capabilities, and state-of-the-art logistics services.

What are your strategies for innovation and digitalization?

DHL has always been strong in terms of innovation, and it is currently doing what is known as clearance in the air (CIA), where we provide all the invoices and shipping manifest before the plane arrives in the country. This means customs will already have started processing everything before the plane lands, leading to faster clearances and on-time deliveries for our customers. Our scanners have allowed us to eliminate paperwork and allow for information storage, GPS capabilities, and call capabilities. Customers can pick up a package anywhere and not go through a third party. As well, we offer on-demand delivery (ODD), which allows our customers to receive a text asking where they would like the package to be left just prior to the delivery. We are also expanding our online presence with our web platform, called My DHL +, which has transitioned our website from just being a standard website to integrating many different tools. Moving forward, we will continue listening to our customers and innovate new ways to meet their demands and exceed their expectations.

How is DHL working to increase its market share?

We look to continue expanding our retail footprint to get closer to our customers, form more partnerships with government agencies to assist them in serving their customers more efficiently, and continue helping SMEs that want to enter the international market. In October, we started a series of workshops that we held in collaboration with the Jamaica Chamber of Commerce (JCC), called Growing Beyond Borders, aimed at spreading knowledge about expanding businesses globally.

What are your goals for 2019?

Performance management will be the key for us. At DHL, we believe in first motivating our staff, who if engaged will take care of the customers, the customers in turn will take care of us, and as a result, revenue, profits, and market share will grow. We also seek to continue growing our retail business, which will remain dominant in 2019. The key here is not just growth, but growth with quality, opening up new points that make sense in the right locations, with the right partners. We also want to grow our SMEs and work with initiatives such as Growing Beyond Borders, as well as more strategic pricing. Thus, we will work on social media, where a great deal of e-commerce is based. As well, we want to approach different kinds of sectors and show them how we can be of value. Finally, we also want to continue to be the top employer. Globally, DHL is the only logistics company to be on the list of top employers and is ranked sixth.



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