Examining a Business Failure: DHL

Essay by mrh6504University, Master'sB-, June 2009

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AbstractDHL, a parcel delivery service, is popular in the global market for being a leader in international express and air freight. The company also is the world's number 1 in ocean freight and contract logistics. In 2003, DHL acquired Airborne express, in an attempt to capture a portion of the United States (US) market. Soon after in 2008 the company announced the suspension of its US operations and layoffs totaling 9,500 workers. Management and leadership issues can be attributed to the failure of this venture. The following will identify the management and leadership failures which led to the DHL failure, as well as how these failures could have been predicted. In addition, the following will also show how proper organizational behavior of management and leadership could have impacted the structure of DHL in a positive manner (Ewing 2008).

DHL, controlled since 2003 by the privatized German postal service known as Deutsche Post World Net had a simple objective.

The objective was to become a viable alternative in the US to industry leaders, Federal Express (Fed Ex) and United Parcel Service (UPS). Combined UPS and Fed Ex enjoy a total of 78% of the US market. DHL has had success overseas, controlling 40% of the European market and 40% of the Asian market. In an effort to build its presence in the US the corporation expanded its trucking routes, created air hubs, and developed a $150 million advertising campaign. DHL focused on aspects of the freight business in which the company felt were overlooked. The company focused on improving customer service while molding employees into more of a customer-friendly workforce (Ewing 2008).

DHL FailsIn the five years since DHL purchased Airborne it has lost an estimated $10 billion. The company set modest goals hoping to capture 10-12% of the...