Learning logistics

The opening of Kidzania’s logistics centre is a first for Dubai and will encourage children to consider career in the industry, explains Mark Woodcock, UAE sales and commercial director at TNT Express.
Learning logistics
By Robeel Haq
Sun 17 Oct 2010 04:00 AM

The opening of Kidzania’s logistics centre is a first for Dubai and will encourage children to consider a career in the industry, explains Mark Woodcock, UAE sales and commercial director at TNT Express.

What prompted TNT to open its logistics establishment at the Kidzania complex?

Since opening at the Dubai Mall in January this year, the concept of Kidzania has really proved a success, providing a dedicated city where children can work, learn, play and even earn, spend and save. There was already a delivery outlet within Kidzania and in cooperation with the management there, we reached an agreement that TNT Express would be selected as the exclusive logistics partner for the next couple of years. This is a great way to broaden our brand recognition, as Kidzania is busy from morning until night throughout the week.

What was involved in the overall process once this decision was taken?

Well, there was a period of design and build within the facility and during that time we had to close the office down. However, everything went smoothly and we were able to open in time for the busy Ramadan period, which was perfect timing. Everyone who has visited the establishment so far has been amazed by the pace of the environment and how much children seem to enjoy participating in the world of work. Out of the thousands of children who visit every day, there is a very large proportion that chooses to take on a job in distribution and we have tried to make this as true to life as possible.

What is actually available for children at the TNT establishment in Kidzania?

The children are given a uniform and an objective to achieve in their 20 minute ‘work’ experience. It could be delivering a document or parcel around the mini-city, a time critical blood delivery to the hospital or a trolley full of freight. After each activity the children have to bring a proof of delivery back on their runsheet and they receive their hard earned Kidzos, which is the currency of Kidzania. The kids can come back as many times as they like and they do! Everybody who has visited the establishment leaves with a huge smile on their face.

What response have you received from others in the regional logistics industry?

The response has been really positive within the industry. Everybody loves the principle behind this initiative and it’s nice to be involved with the next generation of customers and potential employees.

To what extent are TNT staff involved in training the children at Kidzania?

The personnel at Kidzania have actually been guided by the training department at TNT Express to ensure they deliver the same information and experience as a regular member of staff. Since the logistics establishment has our branding, it was deemed very important that we got this correct, and I have to say, I’m very pleased with the end result.

Which other companies from other industries have also participated in the Kidzania project since its launch?

TNT Express is the latest in a growing number of global brands that make up the mini-city at Kidzania, with others including the likes of HSBC, McDonalds and Sony, to name a few. From my understanding, there are over seventy real-life professions to choose from, so children will undoubtedly benefit from learning a whole range of skills, including delivering good service, time keeping and other fundamental skills.

Do you believe such initiatives could encourage children to consider a career in Middle East logistics?

Based on the level of enthusiasm the children have showed to date, I definitely think that’s the case. In fact, the TNT Express delivery facility has one of the biggest footfalls out of all the different activities that are available at Kidzania. At the end of the day, there is a general perception that logistics is not considered as an immediate career option for people around the world, including the Middle East, so innovations such as this one have the potential to address that situation.

Is this a first for TNT Express or has the company participated in similar initiatives around the world?

This is certainly a first for TNT Express in this part of the world and we are very excited to be partnered with Kidzania on the project. In terms of considering similar projects for other parts of the Middle East, I would say that we’re always interested in investigating opportunities to position and build our business in the best environments. The partnership between TNT Express and Kidzania was a perfect way to achieve these objectives.

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