A centralized IT system for the new world of logistics

To successfully master the changes in the transport sector, the Hamburg Süd Group has standardized its product range and consolidated all its processes. At the heart of the major project: the development of a new, globally integrated, standardized IT system.

The customer

With sales of EUR 6.1 billion in 2015, Hamburg Südamerikanische Dampfschifffahrts-Gesellschaft (HSDG) – or Hamburg Süd, for short – is one of the world’s ten largest container shipping lines. Thanks to its wide range of services, Hamburg Süd has evolved into an internationally active transport logistics organization that covers the entire logistics chain with its individual all-round solutions.

A member of the Oetker Group, the company maintains a presence in container, bulk and product tanker shipping on the world’s seas through several brands. The services offered range from technical management and crewing to materials handling. The Hamburg Süd Group currently employs a staff of 5,960, 1,440 of them at sea.

The challenge

The maritime transport industry is currently undergoing a revolution. The times in which shipping line operators used to transport only their own containers on their ships are history. Increasingly, shipping companies are entering into alliances and partnerships to compensate for fluctuations in demand for capacity. Greater transshipment options are also expanding shipping line networks. Digitalization is already changing shipping companies’ processes and business models today. This change will grow in strength going forward and will result in shipping companies taking over a greater chunk of the supply chain, among other things.Customers stand to benefit from more flexible and expanded services as a result of these changes. However, they will also make doing business more complicated. A highly flexible range of products makes it significantly more difficult to search for the best offers, turning operations management involving automated services for customers into a growing challenge.

The solution

To meet the growing demands in managing its business from a commercial and operational perspective, Hamburg Süd needed to standardize its range of products on a global scale while consolidating processes that, until then, differed greatly from region to region. There were more than 50 different applications in each individual region, many of them for the same purpose. Hamburg Süd launched a program to transform its entire process and IT environment known as Global Logistics Organization Business Environment, or GLOBE. It quickly became clear that the company’s IT needed to be entirely overhauled to make GLOBE a success. The new system developed in partnership with Lufthansa Industry Solutions smoothly integrates all business processes, from preparing offers and contract management to processing orders, as part of a global system featuring centralized data storage. Employees of Lufthansa Industry Solutions have been supporting Hamburg Süd in this major project since 2006 – with project managers and team leaders, analysts and development teams for the project, as well as application managers and experts for business organization. 

The customer benefit

The project teams focused on involving employees from the departments in defining standard processes from an early stage. This made it possible to include their concerns and experiences from their day-to-day work directly in precisely developing new processes. To make the gradual transition from decentralized IT to centralized IT as smooth as possible for everyone involved, a dedicated roll-out team dealt with specific issues related to integration and temporary processes.

The gradual roll-out of the new IT system made it possible to produce early results for the first regions that could be used in the company’s daily work. Feedback from initial users opened the door to implementing constant adjustments and enhancements while switching the systems. These roll-outs also made it possible to quickly identify and solve problems in specific departments.

We are creating an IT system that will allow us to centrally provide and manage our highly flexible range of products.

Michael Henkel
Programm Manager GLOBE at Hamburg Süd