[Interview] Social Impact on a Blue Parcel! Yoon Han-deuk from CJ Logistics


A parcel service not only delivers goods. It also provides happiness through a job position for some, and a sense of belonging and of being a part of this society for others. Having started at Songdo SK View Apartment in Incheon last July, CJ Logistics “Blue Parcel” is a parcel CSV model with hearing-impaired deliverymen on the move to each house, which steps further beyond the diversification of logistics service in an effort to create jobs for people with disabilities. A positive impact. The owner of this project, Yoon Han-deuk from CJ Logistics Communication Team shares how he is experiencing the unlimited possibility in terms of the social impact this new service has, as he introduces the novel parcel CSV model.

Blue Parcel starts with the voices of the site!

Yoon Han-deuk from CJ Logistics

▶ Yoon Han-deuk, Communication Team CSV in charge of Blue Parcel, which has sparked a social impact that goes beyond logistics service diversification by creating jobs for people with disabilities.

Q. The positive impact from Blue Parcel is huge as it is a quality job that can be occupied by people with disabilities amid the situation where those vulnerable are given fewer job opportunities due to COVID-19. How did it start?

Blue Parcel was conceived while we were preparing to open a new base for Silver Parcel, the main project of CJ Logistics CSV, which has been being in operation since 2013. Silver Parcel is a “base parcel delivery” model which features parcel vehicles bringing the parcels to a base inside an apartment complex or traditional marketplace, followed by elderly staff members making the final delivery using an eco-friendly electric cart. This is a parcel job CSV project to support substantial economic independence for these individuals by giving them an average salary of KRW 900,000 for living.

Q. Does that mean that the first place for Blue Parcel, Songdo SK View Apartment, Incheon, was initially planned for Silver Parcel?

In the early phase of the project, we were pursuing Silver Parcel as a base parcel delivery model. However, since Songdo was an “International Business District”, there were less-disadvantaged seniors, which was different from the other target areas of the project. That was the obstacle of the project. However, one day, the manager of Songdo Landmark Delivery Office suggested hiring people who have disabilities. The delivery service had already been made non-face-to-face, and his idea was that there won’t be any compromise in the service quality if the people involved were provided with enough training to successfully make those deliveries to the doors.

I was curious about the reason why he was proposing the recruitment of these people, which isn’t an easy thing to do, so I talked to him and found out that his son was hearing-impaired. I realized that he was heartfully wishing to create a nice job position for his son and his friends as a parent. We built on his spirit to think of ways to allow a sustainable working environment with the participation of these people. My very first meeting with the manager continued for over five hours, during which we developed the business model for Blue Parcel.

Q. What was the first thing you did to realize the plan?

After the first meeting with the delivery manager, we visited a school for the hearing-impaired in Incheon that same week to identify how many students were ready to get a job. Then we visited the Korea Employment Agency for Persons with Disabilities Incheon Office to learn about how many of those over the age of 20 or older wished to get a job in the parcel service industry and discussed how we could then develop a partnership when we launch a parcel service for these people in Incheon.

In particular, we met the officials from Yeonsu-gu Office and Incheon City Hall to indicate to them that we wanted to create healthy, sustainable jobs in the region for people with disabilities. We also attended the resident representative meeting of Songdo SK View Apartment to inform the residents about the positive aspects of Blue Parcel. This was how we established private-public cooperation, step by step to realize our parcel service model.

Hiring the Individuals with Disabilities is Obvious. The Overall Positive Impact of Blue Parcel

Yoon Han-deuk from CJ Logistics

▶ Yoon Han-deuk says that Blue Parcel was possible because they had Silver Parcel, a service stable enough to be introduced to the UN.

Q. Blue Parcel can be regarded as an evolution or a developed version of Silver Parcel model as it is a CSV project that created social value based on a logistic business, including creating jobs for people with disabilities. Please share with us which elements of the existing models were changed and highlighted.

Blue Parcel is a service in which staff members who have disabilities pick up the parcels transported to the base prepared in each zone and deliver them to the doors of each house. This is an elaboration on Silver Parcel model, which had been recognized for its sustainability and was even introduced by the UN. A full-scale reshuffling was inevitable to the fundamental private-public cooperation structure and participant support as required by the change in participants. Achieving a professional parcel service that would be able to realize high delivery efficiency and immediate customer communication was urgent, in order to shatter the prejudice against these workers.

We deployed one staff member per 1.5 building which meant that for each three building, there were two staff members working. We appointed a “Site Chief”, a professional SM, to manage the base of each apartment complex and to enable the smooth operation of duties. This was a measure adopted to make a prompt response to various delivery problems and customer complaints.

Communication on duty was supported by professional interpreters for delivery staff with hearing impairments and work advisors for the developmentally disabled. In addition, the delivery app frequently used by the staff while working has been simplified to enable them to perform their tasks using only three main menus. A simpler version of this app will be released within the first half of this year.

Q. As a CSV project, Blue Parcel needs to accompany economic and social benefits besides people with disabilities. This means that it is important that the delivery staff get paid enough to make a living. What are the efforts that have been invested in this part of the project?

Making Blue Parcel not only a simple work opportunity for people with disabilities but also a quality job by paying them a livable wage was our foremost priority.

In this sense, Songdo SK View Apartment was the perfect place for our service. It had a high delivery density per unit area, with 2,100 families living in 11 buildings with an average of 34 floors, so the distances were short. This gave us a favorable delivery environment as well as high profitability. We were able to move within a relatively small zone and still get a stable earning. We also improved the convenience for our staff on duty by deploying electric carts to level the ease of vertical movement on an elevator with horizontal trips.

Delivery staffs at CJ Logistics Blue Parcel

▶ Delivery staffs at CJ Logistics Blue Parcel

Q. I heard that there was a pilot executed last July, with 100,000 parcels that were delivered over seven months. What were the takeaways from this period?

We needed a pilot operation to verify the new model, in order to achieve business stability before launching the service.

Those seven months allowed us to fix the errors or mistakes made in the early phase of the delivery, and the satisfaction of the residents generally grew as well. In particular, the assessment that demonstrated how each staff member was taking responsibility for his/her zone and providing a stable delivery service made us believe that we would be able to expand their coverage further.

It was also possible thanks to the active cooperation with the Songdo Landmark Delivery Office, which became the first delivery office to transform into a Standard Workplace for the Disabled for the smooth operation of our handicapped delivery model. The manager of the office made a bold decision to pay a much higher salary compared to other jobs open to the community, so the participants showed great satisfaction.

Most of all, it was the tremendous support from our Team Manager, Leader, and colleagues of the CSV Team that contributed to the successful launch of Blue Parcel. This new model was possible because they advocated this new approach and showed great support.

Q. As the owner of this project, what do you think was the driving force behind this stable launch after the pilot?

A project cannot be carried out through the sole endeavor of a company, which must be the same for all CSV businesses. Creating an organic cooperative model with related enterprises, agencies, and local government bodies to share and realize a common agenda, such as creating jobs for people with disabilities and sustaining social values, becomes the foundation for stable value achievement.

Launching Blue Parcel was possible because CJ Logistics took care of the stable provision of parcels, Songdo Landmark Delivery Office managed the on-site operation, the Korea Employment Agency for Persons with Disabilities Incheon Office trained the participants and provided professional interpreters, and we cooperated to create jobs in the local community with agencies of the region including Yeonsu-gu Office and Incheon City Hall.

Also, residents of the apartment offered a space for a delivery base and rest area for the staff free of charge, which was a great contribution to the stable operation of base parcel model. Blue Parcel was a collective impact model that was made possible through the collaboration of countless people. I would like to take this opportunity to express my gratitude to everyone who made efforts for our service.

Dreaming K-SCV on the Parcel Job Model!

Yoon Han-deuk from CJ Logistics

Q. You had a lavish experience before joining CJ Logistics as a shared value creator, culture business planner and founder of a social venture. Share with us some know-how knowledge from your past experience that helped you carry out Blue Parcel project.

It’s a bit embarrassing to call it know-how. (Laughs) One of my favorite TV series is Misaeng, and I remember this line from the series, “There’s no other place like on-site”. Each time I’m on a new project, I turn to the site whenever there is a problem or I get stuck on something. I think about what they need on the site and listen to the voices there. Then, you get ideas that may have never crossed your mind before.

Designing the Blue Parcel model having started after meeting the delivery office manager at the site. I was also drafting a zero-carbon solution to reduce emissions, and the idea came from the vests worn on duty and all the discarded plastic, all on the site. If I’m to take charge of another project in a new field of business, I’ll visit the site first. So that I can discover a solution that I may have never thought of before, once again.

The most valuable experience from the various jobs I had in my 30s was to learn about how people working in the field of social contribution are committed to and struggle to find a balance between making a living and pursuing what is right. What they needed was people resonating with their project and the integrity from the owner of the project to think and develop it together.

Now that I’m in my 40s and I find myself trying to think about “what has made the people that I meet through my projects struggle” and find a solution together. I believe experiences such as these built a mindset of seeking ways to live together, to coexist.

Q. Blue Parcel is spreading a positive influence based on answers found on the site and can be regarded as an authentic CSV model for coexistence in terms of pursuing both economic and social profit. It does, however, still leave room for a negative impression. As the owner of the project, what do you think is needed to let it settle as a sustainable CSV model?

I personally think that the starting point of a project should be found in business, in order to spread a sustainable and positive impact both in and outside.

The starting point of past CSV projects was to obtain profitability through an adequate business with the participation of vulnerable communities, with the main goal of achieving social values. Now though, the strategy should be changed to resolving problems occurring from stable businesses that guarantee profit through the participation of vulnerable communities, so that we can realize social value in the end.

Recently, those devoted to CSV are required to have both a warm heart and keen eyes to analyze a business. You need to be able to find the sweet spot to discover the problems hidden in a stable and profit-guaranteed project, and which of the disadvantaged communities are able to join in and create synergy. Most of all, we need integrity as a “will” to continue pursuing the project with a vision of 10 more years, instead of being chased by the number of jobs or sales performance.

The answer can be found in Silver Parcel. Silver Parcel began from easing delivery problems in areas that are hard to approach on a parcel vehicle, based on a stable parcel delivery service. We developed a business structure to recruit senior citizens and make the deliveries to micro-zones. This created job opportunities for seniors and supported their economic independence.

In addition, through nine years of continued business since 2013, we have made sure that the integrity of CJ Logistics is known both in and outside Korea. We also developed and built on the advantages of Silver Parcel into Blue Parcel to be able to extend the duration of our integrity.

Being in charge of running a parcel job model, I will continue my endeavor to realize a sustainable CSV through Blue Parcel, a new innovation that has become more sophisticated and evolved from the heritages of Silver Parcel to represent K-CSV.

Yoon Han-deuk from CJ Logistics

Q. Blue Parcel has just begun. Are there any plans for the future?

We are planning to expand the Blue Parcel project starting with Songdo SK View Apartment to Zones 6 and 8 in Songdo where new high-rise apartment buildings with an average of over 30 floors are to be constructed. We will try to create and secure more jobs for those handicapped to participate in.

Following the Blue Parcel is Orange Parcel dedicated to women whose careers have been discontinued. We will be committed to offering healthy parcel delivery jobs open to women of their careers in Dongtan, Hwaseong.

Q. What is the goal of these projects, the last mile?

It must be “coexistence”! Along with Blue Parcel, CJ Logistics is planning to adopt a zero-carbon solution, collect discarded PT from logistic sites, and make an eco-friendly work vest to be handed out to the staff members as an effort to lead ESG in logistics.

We also want to create various CSV models including the production of recycled palettes using plastic waste and to be recognized on the global stage as a standard K-CSV model. We also want it to be a starting point to change the world by being introduced at the Cannes Lions SDGs (Sustainable Development Goals), like the Palau Pledge.

It takes at least three years to change a society, and ten to reach a visible result. The pilot for the Blue Parcel took place July last year and the service launched last January, so there is still have a long way to go. However, they have proven positive benefits related to making a better society by recruiting people with disabilities and increasing jobs in the local community. They are now preparing to take a leap further from this foundation. How about we keep our eyes on Blue Parcel for coexistence and sustainable social impact that Mr. Yoon Han-deuk mentioned? Time passes faster than expected.