With three days of on-site client visits under our belt, we were finally called up to the big leagues on Thursday. The day started with a drive up to Bonn, where DHL’s headquarters literally towers over everything else in the city. Our mission? To meet with Martin Seidenberg, the CEO of DHL Supply Chain for Germany and the Alps region. Our enthusiasm level? Higher than DHL’s Post Tower Building, which stands at 41 stories. Our caffeine level? In the danger zone.
We met up with Mike and Vince, our hosts for the project, for coffee beforehand in one of DHL’s cafes on the ground floor. Despite not having an engineering background or being in the elevator lift industry, I was fascinated with the technology. Open glass chutes allowed you to see the entire interior workings of the lift system and terminals notified you which lift to take in order to get to your floor the quickest way possible. The lifts also surged at incredibly speeds. Apparently, when the tower was first built, people kept passing out so they had to tone down the speed. Sounds like a ride at Disney World.
Our meeting with Martin was incredibly informative. We not only focused on the automotive industry (our scope for this project) but also talked about the supply chain industry in general. Martin had great insight into the five- and ten-year outlook, highlighting changes that logistics providers like DHL must make in order to keep up with the industry.
After our meeting with Martin and lunch at DHL’s canteen, we headed back to Koblenz to debrief and grab dinner. One of the interesting aspects about Koblenz is its wide variety of international cuisine. For a relatively small German town, there are many off-continent dining options, including Mexican, Vietnamese, Turkish, Argentinian, and more. Feeling a little sausage-and-potatoed out over the last few days, we decided to grab some Pho at a restaurant simply called Hanoi. Similar to our experience on Monday at the Mexican restaurant, we struggled a bit through the tri-lingual menu (in Vietnamese, German, and English) but managed to order some delicious eats.
We capped off the night with a drink (OK, two drinks) at another local tavern, convincing ourselves that this was an important team building activity that was central to the success of our project. Tomorrow’s forecast calls for a follow-up meeting with the Tier-1 supplier we met on Monday, along with Mike, our trusted project leader. After that, we’ll be hitting the road to Hamburg to soak in the 825th (that’s right, 825th) celebration of the Port of Hamburg. Get your popcorn ready.