At the same time because our customers want to use this information for their own systems, we work with them to integrate their systems and the data.
3) What challenges do you face when you have to look after two big regions?
Sometimes we take for granted places like Asia where we are pampered and live in luxury. When I visited Nigeria for the first time in 2003, I can't even get a dialing tone nine out of 10 times I try to make a call, because the infrastructure was so bad. But the interesting thing is that several years later, the whole landscape changed because technology moved so quickly. Instead of fixed lines, they use mobiles instead.
So I think part of the challenge as well as the satisfaction is that you get a chance to contribute in building up an infrastructure that helps the business. At the same time, you can see the evolution of the old landscape in terms of growth and development.
Also, we have conference calls, morning, afternoon and night. When I used to work in Europe, by the time I woke up in the morning, it would already be mid-afternoon in Asia. So the only chance I got to speak to my teams from this region was the morning drive to work. And when I was in the office, I started my calls to the teams from the Middle East.
4) Please describe some of the projects your teams are involved in.
In July this year, we opened the North Asia Hub at the Shanghai Pudong International Airport. It is the largest express hub in Asia. Covering a land area of 88,000 sq m (roughly equivalent to 13 football pitches), DHL Express' North Asia Hub can process up to 20,000 documents and 20,000 parcels an hour.
Where IT comes in is the automated sortation system, what happens is that the system processes the information on the packages, and then automatically sorts them into shoots, so that they then get subsequently loaded onto the containers on the flights that they board.
It's very similar to luggage handling in the airports so what you want to do is to have a very efficient high performance hub so that you can maximise the throughput, otherwise manually sorting today will not work for the kind of volumes that they handle. The system is also designed to automatically detect components that are not in use and switches them to an energy-saving 'sleep' mode until they are needed again.
Another area IT is involved in is the Quality Control Centers. They monitor flight uplift/landing in real time, enabling DHL to proactively notify customers in the event of flight delays or cancellations. There are at present 18 such centres across Asia Pacific.
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