Passion for people spells success for this CEO

Nuryahati “Yati” Abdullah, country manager, DHL Express Philippines

Nurhayati “Yati” Abdullah, country manager, DHL Express Philippines

It was a big day for DHL Express Philippines. Nurhayati “Yati” Abdullah, country manager for DHL Express Philippines, was all smiles as she proudly announced that their company will be investing P30 million in a new DHL Express Clark Service Center facility in the former US military base located in the province of Pampanga.

According to her, the move is part of their plans to expand DHL’s network and cater to the growing logistics demands of the region. Citing figures from the Bases Conversion Development Authority (BCDA), Clark is the Philippines’ second biggest metropolis, with a population of over 11 million, and contributing about 10 percent to the national economy.

DHL is the global market leader in the logistics and transportation industry, with expertise in international express, national and international parcel delivery, air and ocean freight, road and rail transportation, as well as contract and e-commerce related solutions along the entire supply chain. It is located in more than 220 countries and territories, with around 315,000 employees worldwide. DHL is part of Deutsche Post DHL, with combined revenues of more than 55 billion euros in 2013.

In the Philippines, DHL Express operates as a subsidiary of DHL Worldwide Express, Inc. The company was founded in 1971, with its corporate headquarters located in Makati City. Abdullah says they are the pioneers in the express industry, and the Philippines is the second location outside of the US and the first in Asia. According to the company’s website, 2015 will be a banner year for them, as they see the culmination of their goals, laid out in 2009, for what they termed as Strategy 2015.

Abdullah says the Clark Service Center Facility will be the first investment of DHL Express in the Philippines for 2015, with other plans to open other facilities in key provinces and cities located in the Visayas-Mindanao (Vismin) region, Calabarzon and North Luzon.

The lady chief executive stresses they see a lot of potential in Clark, saying that “the recent announcement that Clark will be one of the (country’s) international gateways and Clark’s continuous development,” as well as growing demand from their customers in the region, are among the primary reasons why they decided to put up the facility in Central Luzon.

She adds: “We have this objective to be closer to markets, so wherever our customers are expanding and growing, we want to make sure that we invest ahead of the curve, to be there to support their growth.”

Looking toward the medium term, Abdullah says they have crafted their new Strategy 2020 launched by their global CEO, where the Philippines was mentioned as one their growth markets that the group would like to look at. She said DHL Express Philippines felt strongly encouraged by this. That is why it is very important for them to have a clear plan not just for the short term but also for the medium-term, which she says is two-fold: to invest and grow in the Philippines, and to make sure they are there for their customers.

Abdullah says in the Philippines, the key growth driver for them continue to be the small and medium enterprises or SMEs. That is the reason, she says, that over the last two years they have strengthened their partnership with the non-government organization “Go Negosyo” to be able to reach out to more SMEs, not just in the national capital region (NCR) area, but throughout the Philippines as well. More importantly, she says, they want to be the thought leader when it comes to giving information about international shipping, bring their business to the world for them and support their empowerment through DHL’s small and medium business solutions found in the DHL website.

Abdullah came on board as country manager for the Philippines only in April 2012, but she says she is really no stranger to the Philippines, having been previously the Philippines National Global Multinational Companies (GMNC) manager from 2005 to 2007. She says: “People are my passion and that’s my leadership style, so the moment I got the opportunity to come back to the Philippines, the Filipino people were first on my mind.” She explains that she’s a firm believer of the saying that “when you have great people, you have great success and business will come.”

She recalls that the first time she worked in the country, she was quite impressed with the passion and dedication of the people she had worked with, so she knew the success of her endeavors as DHL country manager would also be dependent on getting the right people. And judging from the way her company is expanding and growing rapidly, it seems she has gotten the success formula just right.


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