TARGETjobs black logo

DHL Supply Chain

Employee profile

Kate Millican

First Year Graduate on the Future Leaders Programme

Hello, my name is Kate and I am a first year on the DHL Future Leaders graduate scheme. I graduate from the University of Stirling with a BA in Marketing and Psychology. Prior to joining DHL I have worked in retail and a small consulting firm. In my spare time I enjoy travelling, sports, being outdoors and reading along with spending time with my family at our home in Scotland and keeping up with current affairs.

What is your role and how long have you been at DHL?

I have been with DHL for approaching 12 months now. I have been fortunate enough to have held two main roles in my first year placement both within the Network Logistics & transport sector. From September to January I was in a business support role, and since then I have been supporting a different customer as a Quality Lead.

What first inspired you to apply for a role with DHL?

Initially I was drawn towards DHL because of the global scale of the company. My degree is relatively broad and I wanted to join a large company where I could experience a huge variety roles and develop my strengths in different areas. DHL is such a large company within the U.K. and across the globe the diversity in the contracts and customers we work with is remarkable. In my first year alone I have already benefitted from working with two international customers and gained an insight into their unique approaches to supply chain logistics.

Tell us the top three skills you have learnt during your time at DHL and why you need them in your role.

I believe listening is the most important skill I continue to develop here at DHL, and one that I feel we should all actively practice on a daily basis. We come into contact with many people each day ranging from colleagues to managers and customers to contractors, all of whom have different priorities and may require different support. When I actively listen to them and understand their needs then I am more able to help and hopefully in doing so I can build strong relationships with those around me and in my wider network.

Furthermore, if we want people to listen to us, and do as we ask, we must communicate clearly with them. Clear communication is the second skill I have honed during my first year. Many of the people in my team are exceedingly busy and may have hundreds of emails a day, and don’t always have the time to read through a big email and pull out the key information. To make life easier for them I try to communicate in a clear concise manner by following the Context, Trigger, Question approach. This allows team members to understand what and why I am asking them and what actions I need them to take. I make a huge effort to echo this is all my communication verbal written or when I am presenting.

Lastly, a positive attitude. I believe this trumps any technical skill or experience you may or may not have. By showing enthusiasm and the willingness to do my best and have a go, I have learnt a vast amount and been able to build relationships with my team members.

What kind of training have you received? How has this helped your professional development? (Think about training, support, coaching and the experts you work with internally and at clients)

DHL’s approach to training follows the 70, 20, 10 rule, whereby 70% of training is done on the job, 20% near the job and 10% off the job, and so far my training has followed this pattern. My first piece of off the job training was CSCS (Chartered Supply Chain Specialist). The aim of this course is to understand all about DHL in the UK&I, and around the world. This gave me a solid introduction to DHL, and how each of the business units interact. 20% of my training comes from the feedback and networking that I get from my colleagues and the customer I have worked with. The vast majority and most important learning I have done has been in on the job training. This has included very basic training like Manual Handling, all the way to learning how TUPE works. This on the job training has given me a holistic view of how operations and processes work, and in future will give me a deeper understanding of the needs of my team.

What excites you about the work you are doing? (Is it the scale of activities you carry out, the global nature of the company, the impact you make on your team etc?

What excites me about the work I am doing and DHL as a whole is that our successful moments are often silent and simple. There is a quiet satisfaction when I know, because we have done a great job, somewhere someone’s day was a little easier. When I began with DHL, I heard a lot of people say ‘An essential part of everyday life’, and I wondered to what extent that was true, but over this past year I have learned just how true it is. Oftentimes, the end customers don’t know we were involved at all, but without us, there would be no products on shelves, or car parts, or medicines, or flights. A quote from Lichtenstein says ‘Don’t strive to make your presence noticed, just make your absence felt’ and I think this sums up how essential we are.

What do you find most interesting with the sector/industry you’re in?

The Network Logistics & Transport sector is experience a quiet revolution that will change the industry forever- the convergence of automotive and technology.  There is the rise of the mega-supplier, these suppliers are getting much bigger. Suppliers are establishing global manufacturing cluster around OEM platforms. Further, cars are now being viewed as technology on wheels, and DHL’s challenge is to be at the forefront in available solutions to help our customers better serve their own.

What is the company culture like?

Though DHL is one of the largest employers around the world, at every site I have visited and every team I have been in there has been a keen sense of kinship. Alongside this, I have noticed that the vast majority of people are very proud to work for DHL and will actively demonstrate their passion and can do attitude day in day out. This has rubbed off on me, I feel immensely proud and privileged to work for a globally renowned company, and I believe this stems from the kind and honest people I have met along my journey so far.

How has this role and the experiences you’ve gained set you up for future career progression and success?

This year has been great for me because I feel that I have been exposed to lots of different parts of the business. This has enabled me to feel more comfortable and confident the next time I engage with those different areas, sites, people, or tasks. I have been able to learn where my areas of strength and development are within a relatively safe setting, and I now feel confident to move forward into more challenging environment. Having experience two different sites I have been parts of different teams. This has enabled me to learn about other people’s journeys and career paths and consider my own.

Has anything surprised you since you started at DHL?

The true extent of how much people are willing to help and push you to succeed. The line managers I have had have really fought my corner to make sure I am involved in everything that will help my development. I was also surprised at vibrant continuous improvement spirit throughout the different sites I have been at. The managers have really encouraged me to be involved in making changes and finding out what we can do better, I didn’t expect a first year grad to be that involved with making changes.

Finally, any tips for members wanting to apply to DHL?

Be yourself. Be honest. Be humble. Be willing to get involved. Listen to others. You can learn something from everyone.