Interview with Michael Martin, VP at DHL

Michael Page Logistics’ Chris Madine talks to Michael Martin, Vice President AIL Business Development & New Sectors at DHL about what it takes to grow a career in the logistics industry.

What attracted you to logistics?

The variety of work initially attracted me to logistics. There are many different aspects to supply chain and different sectors, such as manufacturing, retail, consumer etc. It’s an industry where very early on in your career you are empowered to come up with ideas and to influence business.

Tell us a bit about your career up until you were placed as VP at DHL.

I joined the NFC Graduate Training Scheme after university and then moved into the parcels sector with Lynx which was very competitive and fast moving. I gained useful experience within a cost-conscious and service-driven environment. I continued in the automotive business units, working for Gefco, CEVA Logistics and now DHL.

What advice would you give to someone as they progress in the logistics industry?

Try and keep your customer’s interests at heart, always try to provide solutions that benefit your client in the long term rather than your own short term objectives. Be honest; your reputation is everything in logistics. Your values, integrity and trustworthiness should drive you to provide the right solution for your client while at the same time turning a profit for the business.

How do you measure the success of your team?

By setting clear objectives and then benchmarking. Objectives need to be realistic and set with the current climate in mind. We identify new markets and services that we can provide solutions for and work as a team to ensure we achieve objectives and hit targets together.

What leadership qualities do you look for when hiring people in third party logistics?

I look for people with expertise who are not afraid to have an opinion. It is important that they have the ability to reflect on their actions and learn from them instead of just playing it safe. I like people who have the courage of their convictions and at the same time are emotionally intelligent enough to work in a team environment.

How do you attract candidates to your team and how do you keep them engaged throughout an interview process?

I try to understand candidate’s passions outside work and how they link into the job they are applying for. We are only here once so why do something you don’t enjoy, it’s unlikely to work out. I also like to spend time talking about the company culture and be clear about the expectations of the role.

How important are academic qualifications in Logistics?

Academic qualifications do show a propensity to take on ideas and knowledge but they are no substitute for passion, energy, drive and focus.
Attrition levels tend to rise as confidence returns to an economy, what can employers do to improve staff retention?
Reward people with the right type of job and career challenges. If people look around the business and see a lack of opportunity, they feel limited. It’s good to provide options and create excitement.

What has been the biggest challenge in your career?

To ensure that in a challenging economy you continue to motivate your teams to achieve their objectives and succeed.
For any logistics recruitment needs, contact Chris Madine, business manager at Michael Page Logistics.
T: +44 121 230 9441