Deutsche Post DHL Group launched its Group-wide service offensive First Choice at the beginning of 2006. The goal: to create organic growth through strong customer loyalty. The name of the program says it all: Being the first choice of every customer is more, to us, than just token lip service.
First Choice is the worldwide Deutsche Post DHL Group’s the continuous improvement practice. The aim of First Choice is to provide our customers with service excellence that lasts, thereby becoming (or remaining) their first choice among service providers and becoming the “Quality Leader” in the industry. The thrust of First Choice is to create greater customer focus among employees and within business processes in order to provide customers with absolutely unbeatable service. Our services should make the lives of our customers easier, giving them more time to focus on their core business.
The First Choice makes use of various tools borrowed from the Six Sigma and Lean methodologies (for e.g. Performance Dialogs, Gemba, Problem Solving Techniques, DMAIC, etc.).The so-called DMAIC cycle (Define, Measure, Analyze, Improve and Control) is one of the techniques used with the guidance of our Six Sigma experts. Using all these methods and techniques, we have been able to improve our service performance significantly in a highly structured and systematic way.
The focus of First Choice is putting customers first. We've developed processes to help us better understand the needs of our customers and we've implemented measures to increase and improve the level of customer focus within our company. Here are some of the most significant benefits for our customers:
The goal of First Choice is to become the "first choice" for our customers worldwide. We want to make our customers' lives easier, and in order to do this, Deutsche Post DHL Group must provide top-notch service in all segments of its business. With First Choice and its tried-and-true methods (for e.g. Performance Dialogs, Gemba, Problem Solving Techniques, DMAIC, etc.), improvement potential - whether in business processes or customer projects - is identified and subsequent measures are developed and implemented.
The Group's employees are encouraged to become part of the process, receiving the support and tools they need to introduce continuous improvements directly into their own work environments and sharpen their customer focus. This leads to a company, which, together with its services, is in greater alignment with its customers' needs and expectations.
The success of First Choice hinges on the involvement of each and every employee at Deutsche Post DHL Group. Approximately 510,000 employees must be encouraged to develop and implement continuous improvement measures in their particular lines of work each and every day. They bring valuable front-line experience and insight to the table. To support them in the continuous improvement processes, First Choice provides employees with tried-and-true methods (for e.g. Performance Dialogs, Gemba, Problem Solving Techniques, DMAIC, etc.) for identifying problem areas and developing solutions to right them. This includes specially designed tools and formats.
Each and every employee at Deutsche Post DHL Group, from the members of the Board of Management to the company's managers and employees, is asked to take an active part in the First Choice program and to do their bit in ensuring that “Everybody, Everyday and Everywhere get a little better”. The company has already trained more than 33,000 managers and employees in the application of the First Choice methodology.
What drives First Choice forward is the vast experience of its people and their commitment to their work. To harness this potential, Deutsche Post DHL Group has made a variety of tools and materials available to them for use in their First Choice activities.
The program commenced in the year 2006. Since then, First Choice has been introduced as a long-term initiative in more than 220 of Deutsche Post DHL Group's country organizations. By conducting over 170 customer satisfaction surveys, we've been able to gain a clear picture of just what our customers expect of us.
The company has already trained more than 33,000 managers and employees in the application of the First Choice methodology. Over 28,000 projects have been successfully implemented and more than 140,000 employees are involved in Performance Dialogs discussions regularly. The results confirm First Choice's role in improving customer satisfaction and increasing the number of loyal customers worldwide, while being the quality leader in the industry.
Deutsche Post DHL Group is the biggest logistics company in the world. With markets becoming increasingly more competitive, we need to be able to adjust to shifting market demands and the ever-changing needs of our customers, hence continuous improvement becomes the norm and not a luxury. First Choice helps us enhance and hone our efforts in improving the customer experience at Deutsche Post DHL Group, in motivating our employee to focus even more on the customer and in maintaining business process excellence and paving our way to being a quality leader. First Choice is therefore a key to the success of our company.
In these difficult economic times, our customers' needs and requirements are constantly changing. With First Choice, we are making sure that we can respond in step with such changes and continuously improve to adjust the processes as required. This makes us the kind of reliable partner our customers need in times like these.
First Choice supports DPDHL’s aspiration of quality leadership. The program helps us create and promote services that make life easier for our customers and make it easier to work with us as their service provider and business partner. This ensures that we are extremely customer-centric in all we do.
First Choice assures that continual improvement, as a business objective, actually happens. It is a core instrument for reaching our goal of becoming the provider of choice for our customers and to the aspect of becoming a quality leader in our industry.
First Choice has a direct impact on nearly all aspects of the company - its employees, its business processes and its customers - and therefore contributes to Strategy 2020 is many ways. A few examples:
We first took a look at companies that had already had success with similar initiatives, such as General Electric, Ritz Carlton and IBM. We analyzed the success factors and determined the elements needed to improve satisfaction among Deutsche Post DHL Group customers: a management team with role-model quality, committed and motivated employees, a systematic and continuous method for continuous improvement, customized support material and training formats as well as clearly defined areas of focus. This provided us with a foundation for the First Choice program.
First Choice is a systematic approach that allows us to continuously improve our business processes and services and increase customer satisfaction levels over the long term. It is based on the Six Sigma and Lean methodologies (for e.g. Performance Dialogs, Gemba, Problem Solving Techniques, DMAIC, etc.). Performance Dialog ensures that everyone’s performance measures are transparent and discussed in real time – where any deviation from objectives can be identified and course corrected, at the earliest. Gemba is a method for managers to spend most of their time adding efficiency, at the shop floor, where the action happens and value for the customer is created. Problem Solving is a technique used by all employees to identify the root cause of a business problem, deep dive to analyse the root cause and finally take corrective and preventive action – so that the recurrence of the problem is prevented. DMAIC, an acronym for the five steps comprising in the process (Define, Measure, Analyze, Improve and Control), is designed to optimize the business processes that impact customers directly by eliminating errors and inefficiencies.
Whereas Six Sigma and other strategic management tools, such as Kaizen or the Toyota Production System, focus primarily on the manufacturing industries, Deutsche Post DHL Group's First Choice is a standardized approach for continuous improvement in the area of logistics, making it applicable to the entire service industry. First Choice makes continuous improvement an all-inclusive endeavour by actively involving every single one of the company's employees to ensure that Everybody, Everyday and Everywhere get a little bit better to serve our customer.