GOING PLACES

UAE, Dubai 2013 | TRANSPORT & LOGISTICS | INTERVIEW

TBY talks to David J. Ross, Senior Vice-President of Middle East, Indian Subcontinent, & Africa Operations (MEIA), FedEx, on Vision 2020, Dubai as a hub, and retaining talent.

David J. Ross
BIOGRAPHY
David J. Ross began his career with FedEx Express in Sydney, Australia in 1992, managing the company’s Ground Operations until he was promoted to Managing Director of Australasia and Pacific Islands in 1993. In 1994, Indonesia was added to his scope of responsibilities. In 1995, he took up the position of Managing Director of Hong Kong before being appointed Vice-President of the North Pacific Region in 1998. He was gradually promoted and moved around the Pacific area before becoming Senior Vice-President of FedEx Express Middle East, Indian Subcontinent & Africa Operations (MEIA) in 2011.

How will Dubai's Vision 2020 impact the logistics industry?

Dubai's Vision 2020 aims to build on the economic and social progress of the city. Winning the World Expo 2020 bid, an integral part of the 2020 Vision, will have a tremendous impact on Dubai and the UAE's economy. Businesses of all sizes, from both the public and private sectors, will be involved in one form or the other, fuelling growth across all major industries in the country, including logistics. We expect demand for international and domestic shipping to increase as the country prepares to host the World Expo. This will be an exciting time for FedEx and the logistics industry in Dubai. The economic impact after the World Expo takes place will reinforce Dubai's position as a key economic and trade hub, attracting more SMEs and large corporations to set up their businesses in the city, which, in return, will sustain the need for express shipping and logistic solutions.

What is the significance of Dubai as a hub for FedEx?

Dubai is one of the largest trade hubs in the world, and the largest re-export hub in the region. With its excellent infrastructure facilities, Dubai plays an important role for FedEx's operations in the Middle East, Indian subcontinent, and Africa region. The city's access to large regional and global markets, its open trade and investment policies, transparent global business practices, as well as its strong macroeconomic environment are some of the reasons that make the Emirate a preferred business destination. It is also why FedEx chose Dubai as its regional headquarters in 1989. Dubai invests in its world-class infrastructure, such as global air connectivity, and creating a friendly business climate with the establishment of free zones such as Dubai Airport Freezone and Jebel Ali. Today, key sectors, such as oil and gas, engineering goods, food, metals, luxury goods, automotive, and aviation, are all major contributors to the growth of Dubai and its logistics sector. As a global aviation and logistics hub, Dubai plays an integral role in our global network. We fly 34 aircraft a week through our Dubai hub, connecting our region to global markets through our hubs in North America, Europe, and Asia.

What does FedEx do to attract and retain talent?

At FedEx, we put a lot of effort in being an employer of choice to attract the right talent. The positive word-of-mouth from our team members and being recognized among the top three places to work in the UAE by the Great Place to Work institute for three consecutive years are major factors that help us attract talent. Our people are always at the heart of everything we do. FedEx's People-Service-Profit (PSP) philosophy is based on the belief that by taking care of our people, they, in turn, will deliver the impeccable service demanded by our customers, who will reward us with the profitability necessary to secure our future. We continuously recognize and reward team members who demonstrate exceptional performance by going above and beyond their set roles and responsibilities. Additionally, as part of our corporate culture and philosophy of putting people first, managers are encouraged to remain available, open, and transparent. This fosters an environment of two-way communication between the managers and their team members. We also heavily invest in training our team members and encouraging promotion from within. FedEx recently won the INSIGHTS Middle East award for the “Best Career and Skills Path," which is a testament to our people development initiatives.

What are FedEx's policies to respond to the different demands of its customers?

The Purple Promise, “Making every customer experience outstanding," defines our service quality. We deliver this promise across every customer touch point, including our couriers, websites, and customer service team. As much as the fundamentals of every shipping need is the same, which is moving goods from one place to another in the fastest and most reliable manner, the requirements of various industries do vary. We look at each business' requirement individually, and adapt our operations and technology to meet the different demands of each customer. FedEx also supports the growth of local SMEs with tailored solutions. For example, the Dubai-based confectionary, Chocodate, expanded its reach globally by using FedEx's customized shipping solutions, enabling it to gain access to over 35 international markets.