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Like many industries, the supply chain and logistics sector is undergoing a period of significant change, with new technology, political and economic uncertainty and shifting attitudes towards the workplace having a profound impact on business as usual.
Our Frankfurt-based Senior Consultant at Morgan Philips Executive Search, Qais Felix El-Chami, caught up with some of his contacts at the multi-national postal delivery and supply chain management firm, UPS, to find out how the industry is adapting to change.
This included Frank Sportolari, the Managing Director for UPS Germany (who also holds the position of President of the American Chamber of Commerce in Germany) and HR Director Germany, Britta Weber.

Watch the video below for the full conversation:

Here’s some of the many interesting topics they covered off:

What’s UPS’s secret to retaining top talent?
In today’s talent market, employee retention has evolved from a nice-to-have to a necessity.
At UPS, the average retention rate for a delivery driver sits at an impressive 14 years. What’s the secret behind this success?
“Our broad culture and the familiar atmosphere we have with each other,” says Britta, who stressed that management’s hands-on approach to leadership has had a positive impact on engagement and loyalty.

What are the key characteristics of an effective leader?
Having joined the business back in 1986 – a time where the Soviet Union was dissolving and UPS’s business was doubling almost every year – Frank has plenty of experience working at an organisation undergoing rapid change and development.
Nowadays, Frank is accountable for more than 20,000 Germany-based employees – accounting to almost half of the organisation’s 45,000+ team. Qais asks him the winning question: What makes an effective leader?
“Integrity,” says Frank. “You need to live what you expect others to do. And you need to be able to communicate a vision.”
Britta also added a valuable insight from a HR perspective: “The most important skill of a great leader is the ability to inspire others,” she says.
According to Britta, this enables people to “grow, and to learn more, and to dream bigger, which results in career opportunities which some people don’t see they are able to perform and able to grow into.”

Technology and talent: what will UPS need going forward?
“The shortage of skilled labour” is one of the most pressing bottlenecks facing recruitment, says Britta, emphasising that a generation of workers will soon retire leaving a large gap in the talent market.
But Britta believes that talent and technology can work hand-in-hand to help overcome this problem and others: “It’s really about having a qualified workforce and retaining that workforce.”
Talking about technology’s role in their future operations, Frank says: “Our priorities are not set by what technologies are available. They’re set by what we’re trying to do as a company, which is to connect intelligent networks throughout the world.”
He also highlighted the growing role big data and analytics are playing in providing a better service to customers and keeping their people safe.

For more trends and insights into the supply chain and logistics sector, get in touch with Qais Felix El-Chami on qelchami@morganphilips.com

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