Over the past year, a surge of mergers and acquisitions reshaped the logistics and transportation industry. Companies that first came to the fore in the early 1980s by taking advantage of deregulation now themselves face challenges from upstarts seeking to use technological innovations to squeeze greater efficiencies out of operations and keep up with rising customer expectations. This flurry of activity comes from “the maturing of the industry and faith in the future,” said Lana Batts, partner in a firm specializing in transporation mergers and acquitisions, in a recent interview with Heavy Duty Trucking.
Consolidation increased in 2017 following a slow 2016 dominated by uncertainty. In North America, the merger of Knight Transportation and Swift Transportation will, pending SEC approval, create the largest truckload operation in the United States. The combined companies will provide considerable cross-border business in Canada and Mexico. Accuride, a global supplier of commercial vehicle components based in Indiana, announced that it entered into an agreement to acquire Mefro Wheels, a privately-owned German-based supplier of steel wheels for commercial vehicles, in a bid to extend its market reach to Europe and Asia. Plenty of other transnational deals large and small are on the table.
These actives reflect two clear trends: insuregent scale up and challenge for market share; incumbent shopping for startups to help jumpstart innovation in areas like data analytics, Internet of Things and other new technologies with disruptive potential. Meanwhile financial stakeholders push for consolidation on a worldwide basis, and demand fast results from merged entities.
Mergers challenge organizations under the best of conditions. Companies with different cultures, different areas of expertise and different approaches to the market need to learn to work together around common goals. A language gap in the workforce only magnifies those challenges.
Think of all the ways that language skills determine success in the logistics and transporation industries. Customer service and other staff regularly interact with customers, often on urgent matters where misunderstandings between the parties can be costly. Same with sales teams who need to exchange notes on customers to keep sales cylces on track and capitalize on new opportunities. Within the internal management structure of the company, operational executives and decision-makers need to communicate and collaborate closely with teams developing new technologies and systems. And every member of the global organization needs to be conversant in regulatory and safety issues.
That’s why the first step to a successful international merger or acquisition often begins with standardizing on a common language: Business English. Over 1.75 billion people worldwide communicate via Business English, heading toward two billion by 2020 according to the British Council, and a majority of those are not native speakers.
The ability for an entire organization to communicate effectively and efficiently impacts competitiveness, revenue, market share, profitability and innovation.
- Online education is proven to increase knowledge retention by 25-60%
- Corporations save 50-70% when they replace or augment instructor-based training with eLearning
When leading mail and logistics company, Deutsche Post DHL Group (DPDHL), headquartered in Bonn, Germany, wanted to strengthen best-practice sharing and interoperability across its 510,000 employees in 220 countries, they turned to GlobalEnglish to help provide a infrastructure solution to their Business English needs.
DPDHL required a learning solution designed for a highly-decentralized organization with multiple independent corporate divisions. They integrated Global English’s SaaS-based Business English products into their environment so employees could learn how to apply English to their work in the context of the work itself.
The GlobalEnglish solution combines language assessments, self-learning programs, personal coaching and group learning with program management tools to accelerate individual learning and optimize global deployments.
Various programs, like virtual demo sessions conducted with local HR administrators, were put in place to secure employee buy-in to the learning offering. GlobalEnglish and Deutsche Post DHL Group worked closely together in the design and implement of the Business English learning strategy.
“In conversations with customers my enriched vocabulary is a great asset, with more professional and technical terms.”
Eva Pauly, VP Group Talent & HR Platform Management, Deutsche Post DHL Group
“The GlobalEnglish program is a great tool to teach business English and reach our employees across business units and countries. The main challenge faced by Deutsche Post DHL Group was the deployment of a learning solution across a highly-decentralized organization. And we have found a great solution.”
Peter Schoof, SVP HR Processes and Platform Management, Deutsche Post DHL Group
Capturing and developing the opportunities that are presented in a rapidly changing landscape, and embracing those lessons will be the key to future successes. Other benefits include:
- Improved employee productivity
- More effective global collaboration
- More impactful customer service
- The development of stronger leaders