- Annual Meeting, DSV, Inspiration, US Market
Thanks to all members and guests for a great Annual Meeting and inspiration session March 31 2016! (and to Hasse Ferrold for the photos!).
And special thanks to DSV for hosting such an elegant event, complete with goodie bags filled with American candy and a wonderful networking dinner afterwards.
We heard from several great speakers who inspired the audience with their energy and enthusiasm for growing in the US market.
Danish Minister of Foreign Affairs Kristian Jensen emphasized the need to continue to strengthen bonds between US, Denmark and Europe, including things like:
- reinforcing commitment to combating ISIL
- cooperating and promoting Danish products and services in the US through free trade agreements like TTIP, which will be key to also improving consumption options for Danes
- keeping a close eye on opportunities coming from US reform initiatives in areas such as health care, pharmaceuticals, Obama’s Climate Action Plan, the upgrading of US infrastructure in water and district heating systems
- taking advantage of growing US consumer demand for high quality foods such as Claus Meyer’s initiative in New York
He showed us the freshly-minted Action Plan for helping grow Danish exports to US during 2016 (more about it in this link here at DR )
US Ambassador to Denmark Rufus Gifford reviewed the latest economic indicators of success in US including wage and job growth, specifically manufacturing jobs, home prices, and slowing rise in US health care prices, as well as the need to re-empower the US middle class.
Some of his points:
- The US wants technology and Danes know how to do a lot of things that US needs – wind energy, solar power, reduction of carbon pollution are just a few examples
- Danish companies should make the time to learn from SelectUSA, especially the upcoming seminars in Washington DC in June (invitation here)
- It is super-important to break the US into pockets (not tackle it all at once). Danish companies should be meeting mayors and governors of cities where you decide to do business
- TTIP hasn’t been given the proper support and PR – it is such an important agreement and is likely to go on even if TPP does not. Ambassador Gifford will speak more about it at a joint DABF/Danish Agriculture and Food Council meeting April 7 (invitation here)
- That he is “sad and depressed by the tenor of the debate” and that it is “getting past embarrasing” to watch the US political process these days as the parties and public choose their candidates for the US election in November.
- When asked by moderator Steffen Gram what he sees as the biggest surprise, Ambassador Gifford mentioned Bernie Sanders, even more than Trump, for being able to get turnouts of 20,000+ people at universities for debates – his appeal to young people and his sincere, endearing character. His view of the expected outcome? More of a status-quo situation than we are seeing today.
Jens Bjørn Andersen, CEO for DSV took the stage and with clarity and humbleness told us about the DSV journey to success in US, including lessons learned like staying close to your employees during the merger and staying close to your customers to understand their needs and find services that they really value. After the UTi acquisition, the US is now DSV’s most profitable market.
DSV has kept it’s original entrepreneurial approach, not relying on consultants but on loyal employees who really know the business. Most recently they have invested over 1 billion in IT to enable top quality real time information, track & trace, electronic bookings and e-commerce.
Some of the important keys to success in US for DSV have been:
- having loyal employees and a management team who really know the business and culture
- treating the US as pockets – DSV first tackled the East Coast, then MidWest big trade zones along the Great Lakes, then Atlanta, and latest the West Coast
- customer intimacy – really knowing your customers and being approachable, friendly and close to them
One of the biggest challenges in M&A integration is always company culture, but UTi and DSV had many similarities in terms of having CEOs who have been founders or around since the early days, modesty, humbleness, and little hierarchy, so that made the task somewhat easier.
To Steffen Gram’s question “How can DSV inspire the Americans?”, Jens Bjørn talked about the importance of bringing alive the Danish approach and Danish values, which Americans seem to appreciate. He added that DSV really supports TTIP, globalization and open markets, and hopes that a deal can be done soon, as it will benefit not only Americans but also the Danes.
You can also see DSV’s article and video about the event.
And a closing photo from DSV’s beautiful sustainable headquarter building near Copenhagen: