Thinking ahead, moving forward

Hellmann Worldwide Logistics is a company that knows where its focus lies. With an active network in 157 countries, Hellmann is dedicated to helping customer goods get where they’re going.

According to the company website, Hellmann has “an unwavering focus on customer satisfaction, and an eagerness to embrace innovation and change.” It’s clear that the company stays true to its mandate, as illustrated through an illuminating discussion with Keith Domoney, Director, for Hellmann Worldwide Logistics.

At its core, Hellmann is a family-owned company, which was founded in 1871 by one man who used a horse-drawn cart to deliver parcels in and around the town of Osnabrueck—a town in northern Germany. Four generations later, Carl’s great-grandchildren Jost and Klaus run the company, operating “a truly global organization while remembering humble beginnings,” says the website. Staying true to the company’s roots are its people, who try to build networks around the world that can expand the reach of Hellman’s customers.

Indeed, Domoney attests to the company’s ability to adapt to being global and making customers happy. He explains that Hellman’s market edge is its network. “We have a very strong network around the world, which means that we have a seamless transition of operations,” he says. Hellmann has gone one step further to model the company like a family—agents are considered partners and the business is run with a teamwork mentality. “Which means that a customer has a Hellmann aligned office around the world,” Domoney continues. “Our strength is really our network, in it we have 16,500 dedicated people and that shows the strength of what we can supply.”

Vertical markets

Hellmann, through its century-plus command of the logistics market, has developed vertical markets in a highly competitive marketplace, in which they offer a full range of products and services designed to help maximize a customer’s potential.

The Hellmann network is connected by a fleet of 5,000 trucks, partnership agreements with 50 shipping lines and 55 airlines, and the most advanced IT and communication systems to allow the company to operate seamlessly. Their core services are air freight, contract logistics, customs brokerage, e-Commerce, road freight, sea and road freight, and sea-air transport. This international suite of services is served by an international framework which enables the company to deliver customized solutions. Domoney says that the company has “steering committees to support vertical markets, as well as sales initiatives” that operate globally. “We develop our offices to support these markets,” he says, and “make sure that those offices comply with our company credo and the standards we set out globally.”

“It’s always important that if you are marketing as a network, you provide the service. You can talk the talk, but you have to walk the walk.”

The company’s strongest vertical markets, according to Domoney, include its automotive division, Hellmann Automotive Logistics, and Hellman’s perishable and pharmaceutical divisions. Though all three are well-supported markets, there are challenges Hellmann has to work around to be able to provide that utmost customer service.

The perishable division has grown over the last season about 15 per cent, and is very customer-centric. The pharmaceutical division, called Hellmann Healthcare Logistics, is invested heavily in the pharmaceutical industry and has recently hired a pharmacist to support the division. Domoney says the company will have “cold rooms available in the next six months” and Hellmann is “growing global operating procedures to accommodate” Hellmann Perishable Logistics.

“It’s a bit tricky, working with these divisions, because they need to be climate controlled. We need to get our facilities geared for it, and are marketing furiously, hoping to grow them into very strong brands,” Domoney explains.

Africa and beyond

Domoney adds that business in South Africa is growing dramatically, and the region is providing Hellmann with lots of new accounts. “From a group perspective our initiative is to develop Africa. We’ve been throwing a lot of network resources into developing Africa, we currently have 53 offices, and are focusing on more strategic plans with those offices. We opened an office in Angola, one in Zambia, and we’re currently looking other projects,” he explains.

“There’s a lot of strategic development in Africa. The idea is to market the African continent to our network partners, and our focus is in the immediate future.”

Focusing on the immediate future, and what makes Hellmann so successful—seamless service—has always been the base for growth for the company. Now, as the company moves toward new regional growth and expansion in services and divisions, its people continue to be the cornerstone of its success in Africa and beyond.