TNT Group : Structuring the company

Use of basic web properties overcomes the complexity of company structure.

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The Site

TNT Group, a Netherlands-based international delivery and courier company, is organised into three operating divisions and uses the About Us section of the Corporate area of its main website to show how they are put together and where responsibility for them lies. In the section menu, the first option under the Management Structure heading is for an Organisation Chart. This is a simple ‘family tree’ using the names and logos of the operating divisions, but clicking on a logo opens a more complex chart mapping the units within the division along with the names of their managing directors. Each individual’s name is linked to a short profile. In both cases, the division charts and managing director profiles, the links lead to separate sub-sections of Management Structure that can also be accessed directly from its sub-menu in the main navigation bar.

The Takeaway

TNT is using some basic properties of the web to overcome the difficulties many companies and organisations seem defeated by when trying to show the sum of their parts. Charts or maps of organisational structure, if attempted at all, rarely go down to business unit level, presumably deterred by the complexity of the interrelationships or of representing them in one coherent graphic. TNT sidesteps this barrier by combining the multi-layering and cross-referencing capabilities of a website. So, linkage means users are offered a route from the initially simple Organisation Chart to deeper information that exists in its own right elsewhere on the site, in this case within the same sub-section. The same routing device also gives added context to the information; for example, by relating a managing director to a business unit it helps to visualise where they sit in the organisation. Although more could be done to make the linking of information clearer – users have to follow their intuition in clicking on a logo or name – the provision of a coherent structural chart gives the impression that the company knows what its about and how it is going about it.
First published 21 February, 2006
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