DHL, The founding of DHL, How it works and competes with Fedex in the Delivery Service Business
DHL is considered as an aggressive fast-mover in the world of international delivery and logistics. Its brand colors, made up of fiery yellow and an aggressive red, prompt instant recall. DHL is equally as famous as its two main competitors, UPS and Fedex. Here’s how DHL came to be and how it competes with its main rival, Fedex:
DHL was founded in 1969, the year that witnessed man landing on the moon. Three entrepreneurs, Adrian Dalsey (D), Larry Hillblom (H) and Robert Lynn (L), got together to invent the international air express delivery service industry. The start was muted at first as the partners focused on air deliveries only for San Francisco, California and Honolulu. In one year it bagged 40 clients and expanded operations to Guam, Los Angeles and Portland, Ohio.
In those times there was no Internet and all communication was slow. International delivery companies provided people with efficient and speedy channels of doing business, and all businesses took to these companies in a big way. DHL built on its foundations and set up offices in Far East and the Pacific Rim in 1971. It established its presence in Hong King, Singapore, Australia and Japan by 1972, and by 1974, it was in the UK. From then on it was rapid growth for DHL as it opened offices in Continental Europe, South Korea, Middle East, Mexico, Canada, Norway and Germany, and many other countries.
On its 10the birthday, in 1979, DHL operated over 360 centers and served over 85,000 clients. DHL’s expansion and penetration was relentless and by 1982, DHL was present across the world.
DHL introduced many innovations in the industry: from the now-obsolete state-of-the-art packet-switching to track packages in 1982, to the present global SMS-GPS tracking systems, to buying airlines, making acquisitions and more. It has its own fleet of transport vehicles, skilled employees, aircraft and it is efficiently networked efficiently with a score of committed service providers across the globe. DHL is a giant, and will remain one, among international delivery companies.
How DHL competes with Fedex
Fedex and DHL are in the same line of business. Both started growing at the same time and are growing even as you read this feature. What sets these companies apart is their brand positioning.
Fedex employs color coding to segment its services. FED appears in purple, while EX changes color depending on the service. In Fedex Express, the Ex and Express are orange, while in Fedex Ground, the Ex and Ground are green. Fedex also employs both subtle and over-the-top humor in their ads.
DHL, on the other hand, is an aggressive brand builder. It has created ads that directly take on both UPS and Fedex, its two main rivals. It’s current brand building initiative focuses on superior customer service.
Both Fedex and DHL know the business like the back of their hand and their brand messages are based on exhaustive market research. So, which brand delivers? It’s a neck-to-neck situation right now as the world economy struggles with a recession. Time will tell which company delivers better.