Case Study Dhl Bangladesh

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DHL Bangladesh: Managing HeadquartersSubsidiary Relations
By Hemant Merchant Masud Chand
This case revolves around Nurul Rahman, a DHL Bangladesh (DHLB) manager who must recommend which of the two human resource information systems (HRISs) DHLB should adopt to alleviate the escalating workload on its human resources (HR) department. The choice between these systems is difficult: the HRIS favored by regional headquarters is significantly more expensive and likely unsuited to DHLB’s unique needs, whereas the HRIS favored by DHLB—although likely effective—seems to be incapable of meeting headquarters’ strong preference for streamlining human resource systems across disparate Asian subsidiaries. Rahman must carefully
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Created in 1979, DHLB had grown into a U.S. $10 million business by 2002. During this period, DHLB’s employee base had increased from 5 to almost 300—most of whom were based in Dhaka, Bangladesh’s capital, where the bulk of DHLB’s clientele had their offices. The majority of DHLB’s clients were corporations; individuals represented less than 1% of DHLB’s business. Most of the corporate clients operated in either the garment sector (70%) or the banking sector (25%)—both of which relied heavily on courier services to conduct their business nationally and worldwide. Collectively, these two sectors had been the engine of Bangladesh’s economic growth over the last decade: exports in the garment sector alone had grown by 10%–15% annually. Such growth was expected to continue into the foreseeable future. This rapid growth created opportunities as well as challenges for DHLB. On one hand, it allowed DHLB to increase its revenues and profitability, and to achieve greater visibility within the DHL Worldwide network. On the other hand, this growth significantly increased the workload for DHLB employees, who were overworked and stressed.

The lopsided growth in DHLB’s organizational structure created a bottleneck in the company’s systems. Nowhere was this bottleneck more evident than in the HR department, which had been operating with just three employees since 1994, when DHLB had 150 employees; in 2001, DHLB had 300 employees. It was unlikely that HR would be

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