Lead story 02/19
Companies provide evidence of continuity primarily through the long-term establishment and ongoing development of customer relations. The Rhenus Group principally started operating with inland waterway shipments along its namesake, the river Rhine, in 1912. Since that time, the business activities performed by the logistics services provider have broadened to include many new areas and international markets. Despite this, inland waterway shipping remains a key component in the Rhenus portfolio.
A reliable partner
The business relations between Rhenus PartnerShip and ThyssenKrupp Steel (TKS) have continued for more than 20 years. The steel producer and Rhenus initially worked in the areas of handling cargo and short sea traffic. This then developed into a solid partnership, where Rhenus PartnerShip is responsible for the inland waterway shipments of TKS freight to many domestic and international locations from Duisburg.
ThyssenKrupp Steel is one of the world’s leading providers of high-quality, flat-rolled steel, a genuine high-tech product. There are 2,000 different alloys and 1,800 different kinds of steel that are used for automobiles, machines and plant, packaging and in the energy sector at TKS in Europe alone. New types of steel, surfaces and production procedures are being developed all the time.
The Rhenus Group has not only been able to demonstrate its reliability down through the years through its quality and the expertise of its employees, who meet the complex requirements demanded by the customer. Changes like increasing standards for final customers, reductions in warehouse costs, more and more efficient transport operations as well as the digitalisation of networks have also been successfully handled by working in tandem.
“We’ve had to handle several low-water periods with ThyssenKrupp Steel since 2003. We’ve been able to demonstrate the strength of the Rhenus Group by using our own shipping space and tapping into new transport routes with the help of our handling terminals,” says Dirk Gemmer, Managing Director of Rhenus PartnerShip, who has been working for the company since 2001.
Employee management in the global network
The inner structures of a large company like Rhenus have to adapt to the constant process of change in markets and processes within the sector. New solutions, which precisely meet the challenges like digitalisation, are necessary to ensure independence and can also represent a genuine unique feature.
One important issue in the internal organisation of the Rhenus Group involves managing master data and information for employees, devices and software. The specialist IT department known as Software-, Identity- and Asset-Management (SIAM) has been continually developing its asset management system since 2007 and received an award for its new “Rhenus Identity” app at the Software Asset Management Strategies Annual Conference in 2019.
One set of data for all the systems
"Valid and complete master data is an important asset in the age of digitalisation and particularly in a complex and diverse company like the Rhenus Group. In addition to having clear processes and best practice guidelines, which we’ve prepared, we needed to focus on completing a technical stocktake and management of our IT assets, the list of business sites and the software licences for our employees,” says Markus Michalik-Dango, Head of the Rhenus Software-, Identity- and Asset Management Department.
The rollout of the new solution is currently continuing, at one business site after another. More interfaces like those for internal communications or the automatic management of distribution lists can be added in future too.
Prepared for an emergency
The process of digital change automatically introduces new risks too. International supply chains are increasingly becoming a favourite point of attack for hackers. Attacks on about eighty companies in the international logistics sector in June 2017 illustrated the consequences that this can have, for instance. The ransomware known as “NotPetya” paralysed the companies’ systems by blocking data at that time and the extortionists demanded that bitcoin payments be made.
The Rhenus Group is using IT security technologies that meet the latest technical standards. “We’re also making use of organisational measures to protect our systems from attacks,” Stefan Klopocki confirms; he is Deputy Division Manager Information Security at Rhenus. Central departments at Rhenus have been certified in line with ISO 27001 to extend their security standards. The standard for information security and management envisages that the scope of certification must be expanded and audited every year in line with business requirements.
“Continuity is very important in the field of information security. This field is constantly being enhanced and increased by means of a continuous improvement process, both in the field of certification and beyond,” Stefan Klopocki adds.
Each employee receives a digital worker’s pass with the Rhenus Identity app. It accompanies him or her within the corporation and gathers and updates changes in master data, communications data and associated software requirements across the system and in line with the GDPR. This reduces data errors in the various systems, for example.