Interview with Mr. Perry Watts

Mr. Perry Watts
Mr. Perry Watts
CEO, Fashion and Home UK

Market leadership comes from knowing the industry, listening to customers and providing
DHL is a Deutsche Post company founded in 1969 by Adrian Dalsey, Larry Hillblom, and Robert Lynn; named after the initials D, H & L of the founders' last names. The trio initially provided a courier service between the mainland U.S. and Hawaii and expanded thereon. Began in 1998, Deutsche Post completely acquired DHL by the year 2002. Presently, DHL provides international shipping of documents and freight as well as contract logistics and also offers a full range of customised solutions. DHL Exel Supply Chain division handles all complex, global logistics tasks and customised IT-based solutions along the entire supply chain for sectors including healthcare, technology / aerospace, automotive / industrial or retail /consumer /fashion. 28 years old, a logistics professional, Mr. Perry Watts is working for both in-house and third party logistics organizations. He is the Chief Executive Officer for Fashion and Home UK, DHL Exel Supply Chain. He is also the Member of the DHL EMEA Board. Prior to joining Exel in March, 1995, he worked as Head of Business Development and Planning for Tibbett and Britten Group. Before this, he had also worked with Unichem, Pharmaceutical wholesaler and distributor as well in various Divisions of Grand Metropolitan . His career with DHL Exel Supply Chain has spanned both Business Development as well as operations, including his roles as Key Account Director, Business Director, European and UK Development Director, Vice-President of Retail and MD of Retail and Consumer – Non Food before joining as CEO for Fashion and Home. Face2Face welcomes Mr. Perry Watts to share his perceptions, valuable opinions and suggestions on Logistics and related issues prevailing in the world of Textile, Fashion and Leather industries.

What makes DHL a global market leader in international express, overland transport and air freight?

"Quality supply chain services around the world make DHL a global market leader. More than 500,000 employees operating in more than 200 countries send samples, finished product and sales support materials daily. This team can and does move fashion products of all sizes and values at the speed customers need. Market leadership comes from knowing the industry, listening to customers and providing the supply chain foundations in the dynamic marketplace. For example, during footwear sample seasons, our Express teams design pick up routes to gather shoes from a cluster of contract manufacturers, prepare the shipments for complex customs compliance requirements and speed them to US and UK brand headquarters for immediate decisions and buys. In the UK, one of the fastest growing fashion sales channels is through grocery stores. However, the grocery sector stockrooms are not set for retail clothing preparations. In response, DHL Exel Supply Chain receives apparel in cartons, attaches tags and presses items before delivering them straight to store floors on the hanger ready to sell."

Could you explain DHL’s portfolio of DOX, WPX, IMP for apparel, textile and fashion industries?

"DHL’s Express service portfolio complements many fashion supply chains. Marketing materials, corporate mail as well as store point of sale, decorations and fixtures are all moved by DHL. Documents (DOX ) services are often used for the business side of fashion speeding credit notes, contracts and personnel documentation. Worldwide Parcel Express (WPX) and Import Express (IMP) are often used for prototype samples in the crucial design stage. Import Express (IMP) is a great way for brand owners to make it easier for suppliers to work with them by centralizing payment in the country of final destination. For example, a UK brand owner could use Import Express to receive samples from Italy, Spain, France and Turkey, all managed and paid for in the UK. However, DHL is much more than Express products. The Logistics division encompasses air, ocean and road freight services as well as a world class contract logistics. For example, DHL is the primary contract logistics provider for Marks and Spencer and also distributes all clothing to more than 200 Sainsbury grocery outlets every week in the UK."

How does DHL epitomize the adage – ‘Getting clothing to market fast’?

DHL supports customers getting their design concepts to cash at the point of sale as fast as the market and their customers demand. Expediting design and prototype samples speeds the front end of the supply chain. Efficient, visible intercontinental moves set up optimal distribution for the final miles within the country of final purchase. On the final leg of delivery, services such as “pre-retailing” (steaming, putting on hangers, etc.) prepare garments to go from cartons received in distribution centres straight onto the retail shop floor. DHL also operates a pan European fashion network which speeds Garment on Hanger (GOH) items in pristine condition through thirteen countries within days.

Could you share your experience of associating with leading fashion shows like Mercedes Australian Fashion Week's (MAFW)?

"Sponsoring and participating in events like the Mercedes Australian Fashion Week is crucial to keeping our pulse on the industry and helps us retain market leadership. DHL participates in industry events in the US, the UK, France and Italy, for example. Our colleagues in Asia Pacific know they are the centre of the world’s growing closet. DHL Industry teams in Hong Kong, Thailand, Vietnam and China leverage their location and expertise for hundreds of fashion and apparel customers."

What shifts or movements have you noticed in the transportation of textiles, apparel and leather freight volumes, and from which particular geographical areas?

The trend of increasing exports from India and China continues, however where the shift is coming from within Asia is less clear. Our global forwarding teams have also responded to manufacturing moving further south in the Americas and further east in Europe. The new EU countries, for example, are focusing more on value added finishing touch services while the core textile manufacturing shifts further south and east. Turkey continues to be the gateway to closets in Europe as well as a gateway for western branded luxury items destined for Middle East distribution.

How best can you define an ideal CRM solution for the fashion industry?

"The fashion industry complexities require very flexible Customer Relationship Management (CRM) approaches. The industry is made up of “houses of brands” and these brands come and go within each house. Private equity firms are often the architects behind these branded houses and have varying degrees of influence on supply chain and sales channel strategies. Further, as product ranges diversify, many brands increase their licensing approach for products the have not traditionally manufactured. For example, a traditional apparel brand will most often license branded watches and sunglasses. The rise of retailer power has also changed the industry and added complexity to customer relationships. The supply chain decision maker responsibility shifts from manufacturer to seller then sometimes back to manufacturer. Department stores have significantly increased their own brand merchandise as well which has had the ripple effect of increased smaller single brand outlets which have different supply chains. All of these industry dynamics keep DHL on our toes to best service all the customers along the retail value chain."

How ‘happening’ is your company’s partnership with Deutsche Post?

The Deutsche Post partnership is very “happening” to say the least. The re-branding activity is the most visible on the outside and is bringing greater public recognition to several operating units. Internally, processes and procedures are being harmonized to best in class globally while maintaining localization as needed to stay close to customers and the market. Senior management visibility and sponsorship of larger projects is making everyone aware the newer additions to DHL’s portfolio have arrived on a global stage.
Published on: 18/12/2006

DISCLAIMER: All views and opinions expressed in this column are solely of the interviewee, and they do not reflect in any way the opinion of

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