Responding to the COVID-19 Crisis; Dwain McDonald
COVID-19 crisis and response
All around the world, countries and businesses are facing enormous challenges due to the COVID-19 crisis. At DPD we are rising to this daily challenge – to ensure our services continue, our people are safe and essential deliveries reach residents across the UK.
COVID-19 is by far the biggest challenge I’ve ever faced as a business leader, and I know this is the same for many other CEOs. People expect us to make informed decisions, keep all our stakeholders safe and maintain the high standards that they pay for.
Communication is our biggest tool during this crisis. I’m having daily calls with all my teams; planning and evaluating following government guidance.
We’re also keeping our customers and people fully up to date with changes with our regular email bulletins.
Keeping our people and communities we serve safe
My job is to focus on what’s most important to our customers, and the wellbeing of my teams. Our drivers are now on the front line delivering an important service: keeping goods, essential supplies and medical equipment flowing. That’s their job – and it’s my job as a leader to keep them safe.
We’ve brought in social distancing for all staff and this includes changes to our sortation, loading and unloading processes. We’ve also launched a ‘wave delivery programme’, spacing out drivers’ start times to ensure fewer people are on site at any one time. And I’m proud to report that, despite all the disruption, our services are running normally, with a success rate of 99.9% for first time delivery.
The team spirit is fantastic. Behind the scenes other changes have included moving all office-based teams to home working. Our IT teams, for example, have built and supplied around 700 new laptops to support this.
Our entire delivery service is now totally contact-free, meaning that people no longer need to sign for parcels on our handheld devices or even open their door.
By adapting our current systems, we’ve been able to still offer customer choice and ensure we comply with social distancing guidelines. People can either use our app to record their preferences, select the Leave Safe option under their in-flight tracking or leave a note on their door instructing our driver where to leave their parcel.
Staying true to our Values
Strong leadership means staying steadfast in the face of adversity and that means staying true to what you believe in, rather than panicking and falling into short-term thinking and decision-making. That’s why, despite all the operational changes we’ve had to make, we’re staying true to our distinctive DNA. The DPD culture is built on six core Values that define who we are and what we care about: Respect, Passion, Hard Work, Accountability, Flexibility and Honesty. We reward and recognise employees who demonstrate these Values and believe me, right now our people’s behaviour is truly inspirational for me, in fact my biggest challenge post-Corona could well be finding a way to truly celebrate what they’ve achieved in these unprecedented times.
Supporting the nation
As CEO, the buck stops with me. With my leadership team, I’ve prioritised our people, our customers and the wider community, and implemented swift changes. People expect fast but considered decisions from leaders, and it is by taking these steps that we can reassure our staff, customers and members of the public who come into contact with our drivers.
In addition to making sure our core business is running smoothly with minimal disruption, we’ve also thought about other ways we can support the nation during this disruptive time. It’s about innovation and using our resources in a different way.
We’re working with the NHS and the Government to deliver medical supplies to adult care homes, pharmacies, hospitals, GP surgeries and hospices. So far, this has included 6.7 million protective gloves, 10.3 million safety masks and 5.2 million aprons. We have also promised to support free collection and delivery of 3D printed additional PPE equipment around the country.
Every year, we deliver millions of parcels for food retail outlets, and we’re extending this to directly partner with Morrisons and support them in “feeding the nation” by getting essential supplies to the public. The retailer has produced two different offerings, one box for meat eaters and one for vegetarians. We’re proud to be the official delivery partner as part of this scheme.
Moving forward I’ll continue to listen to our people every day and ensure they are as safe as possible. They will remain my number one priority and their efforts will allow us to support customers changing needs and the country as best we can.
Keep safe and look after yourselves.