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With digitalization we need to have even more human relations: CEO, Dachser

Bernhard Simon, the CEO and the chairman of the Executive Board at Dachser, in an exclusive interview speaks about how the 87-year-old and fully family-owned logistics company is making every effort showcase itself as a technological trendsetter in the logistics industry; but never without being humane.

For Dachser, digitalization does not exclude human element; on the other hand, as Simon puts it, “With digitalisation we need to have even more human relations; in fact more valuable ones.” Contrary to popular notion that everything can be done by robots or machines, Simon lays sharp emphasis on the human element and goes on to say that it is only human element that ‘really distinguishes and it is the factor that finally makes the difference’.

It is a comprehensive look that knows the immeasurable value of human element despite unprecedented growth of technology. And he touches one very vital fact about the customers which is true and will be true all the times, no matter to which height technology soars up: ‘Humans will offer far better relations with customers who are always looking for a real person to talk to and not a robot”.

Another very radically fresh view of digitalization with regard to Dasher, Simon puts it very effectively: “I believe logistics still depends on fulfillment. I don’t think that logistics, as a channel, will be looking very different from what it is now. There will be some niches where you will see some real differences in the applications of different technologies. For Dachser, digitalisation is more an evolutionary process than a revolutionary one. We already started down that path three decades ago and it is an ongoing part of our corporate strategy,” asserts Simon.

As if summing up the very secret of success in logistics and business itself, he says:

“The fact is that only those who deliver securely, reliably, transparently and with high quality will survive in the marketplace. To do so, we need powerful network, intelligent strategies and people who will take on this challenge with superior knowledge, passion, and an ability to work as part of a team.”

Founded in 1930 by Thomas Dachser in Kempten, Germany, Dachser continues to be a 100 percent family-owned company up through the present day. As one of the global leaders in the logistics industry, Dachser has successfully proven for decades that a family-owned company can achieve much with committed employees and innovative thinking.

Imbibing the technological developments in the age of globalization and with a long-term strategy that does not minimize the significance of the human element, in other words, of the employees, Dachser that has generated the consolidated revenue of around 5.71 billion Euros, evolved an innovative approach that differentiated Dachser from the startup ecosystem, the approach of integrated processes. “We follow a system that combines cyber, social and physical dimensions. In other words, in Dachser the network, the person, and the physical transport are inextricably linked in logistics,” explains Simon.

Dachser was passed to Simon’s mother and his aunt before he took the helm as CEO in 2005. The company has a constitution to safeguard its continuity as a family business and ensure the separation of family affairs from the business itself. The shareholders and executive board advocate common values and social responsibility in three areas: the economy, ecology and social issue. In this regard, a particularly high priority is given to the training of young people at Dachser. In Germany alone, more than 600 trainees started their careers at the company last year. Currently, the total number of young apprentices at Dachser locations in Germany is 1,417, which equals a training rate of around 10 percent.

In 2016, the company invested 125 million euros in the networks. According to Dachser, an investment volume of 177 million euros has been earmarked for 2017.

“We will use it to continue on our chosen path and ensure we always have cutting-edge network and IT infrastructure in place. We first want to understand the market our customers operate in and what makes them successful. Only then can we partner with them on their road to success in their markets and take on the logistical challenges they face,” Simon elaborates.

While Dachser embraces technology and keeps pace with digitalization it is looking for “more logistics natives who are capable of combining and orchestrating the digital and the physical world”. This, according to Simon, goes beyond digitalization.


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