TPG N.V., parent of the logistics division that includes TNT Logistics North America, reported financial results simultaneously with the announcement that David Kulik was appointed group managing director of the company's global logistics operations and Jeff Hurley would become managing director and COO for TNT Logistics North America. Overall, TPG reported sales had grown only 1% in the first half of 2003, led by mail and express. Logistics results were termed "disappointing." TPG noted it expected the logistics business to be strengthened by the appointments. Asked about the performance of North American operations vs. global logistics results, Hurley said North America was meeting its objectives for growth and earnings.
Founded as CTI Logistx in the early 1980s, TNT Logistics North America became the seedbed for a global project to standardize on best practices. Kulik led the effort to identify and implement best practices from each of the regions where TNT Logistics operates. Hurley notes the North American operation's long history in 3PL services has allowed it to hone some of its management practices. "We happen to have hit some home runs, and likewise, we've taken some of the best practices from Europe and Asia and incorporated them in North America," says Hurley.
Europe was strong in areas like training and understanding customer expectations, he continues. TNT North America's Matrix technology platform was one of its contributions to the global standardization.
Consistency is what gave impetus to growth of 3PLs in North America explains Hurley. He sees that same benefit extending to global players through TNT's standardization effort. One driving force was the need to build synergies between global operations of some of the 3PLs client companies' operations. TNT Logistics North America works with General Motors in the U.S., says Hurley. TNT Logistics also works with GM in Europe. The global standardization project went beyond simply standardizing practices between GM and GM Europe, for example. There were opportunities to share some common themes of business and identify best practices in TNT's day-to-day operations as a result of the divisions having common customers, explains Hurley. Those became corporate benchmarking projects.
In addition to building on customer experiences, Hurley points out, TNT has taken applications from North America that have been centered around technology applications that were not as prevalent in South America or Europe and has been able to get them working for companies in those regions. TNT North America's Matrix suite of transportation technologies has become the standard for the global organization. Standardization has benefited TNT's larger customers, but Hurley is quick to point out it has also helped smaller companies, those which "may not have the volumes of a GM or a BMW but still want the center of excellence in managing a supply chain with less variation in it."
Kulik will relocate to TPG's corporate headquarters in Amsterdam.