Digitalization is no longer a nice-to-have, it's an absolute must, says Christian Stocker, CEO, LEMAN USA.
“Digitalization is the present, it's the future and therefore, an absolute requirement for any logistics or freight forwarding organization wanting to keep up with their customers’ needs.”
For LEMAN, centralizing their logistics operations on a single global database was a crucial step in their digital transformation strategy.
Founded in 1990 and headquartered in Denmark, LEMAN is a mid-sized freight forwarder with 29 offices across 8 countries providing advanced logistics, transportation and pharma solutions across road, sea and air to customers globally.
LEMAN’s branches had been operating on multiple transport management systems (TMS) for a number of years, and maintaining visibility across the organization was becoming increasingly challenging.
They needed a logistics solution that could help them centralize and streamline their operations, provide end-to-end visibility and ultimately, help them take their air and sea activities to the next level.
“CargoWise has a great reputation in the market, from users, to vendors and customers, so it made sense for us to choose the most advanced TMS in the market,” said Mr Stocker.
Expanding their presence in China
As part of LEMAN’s ambitious growth strategy, in 2021 they expanded operations to China, opening five new branches in Shanghai, Ningbo, Shenzhen, Qingdao and Tianjin.
The opening of LEMAN China provided an opportunity for the business to trial CargoWise with their new staff before rolling out the platform to their other regions.
“We had an opportunity to open in China and needed an operating system that could support local requirements worldwide, so we looked to find a system that we knew was running in the various countries more or less out-of-the-box,” says Mr Holm.
“The reason we chose to implement CargoWise in China first while we were running on different systems in Europe and the US was because we had an opportunity to start from scratch and trial a new system. We were also looking to hire staff in China who had previous experience using CargoWise and could support the implementation in this region,” Mr Stocker adds.
Suki Zhang, Sea Freight Manager, was one of the first staff members to join LEMAN’s head office in Shanghai, bringing extensive experience on CargoWise.
“My previous role was at a very large global forwarding company that had a very strong relationship with WiseTech, so when I joined LEMAN, I was already very familiar with CargoWise and I was able to share my knowledge with the company.
“CargoWise is the most highly qualified system I have ever seen for global use. In the past, I’ve used other systems and they really just offer one functionality. But with CargoWise, there’s a large team focusing on every different functionality. So every function and every module are developed together, and it makes the platform stronger and stronger. It really is a complete system.”
Mr Morten Wegelbye Holm, Group CIO, LEMAN, adds that their decision to hire people with experience using CargoWise was strategic, and has been instrumental in their smooth implementation across their China offices.
“When we're hiring people, we see clear advances in running a system that they’re familiar with and know how to operate. The onboarding of new people is far easier when they have previous experience using the system.”
Once the implementation in China was deemed a success, LEMAN’s global offices followed, and the global rollout was completed in the second half of 2022.
Hands-on support to implement, configure and optimize CargoWise
To help LEMAN achieve their digital transformation goals in record time, they chose to work with Zinnovate International, a Platinum CargoWise Service Partner based in Sweden with deep technical, configuration and implementation experience.
“We chose to work with Zinnovate due to the fact that they had previous experience in global rollouts. Being headquartered in Sweden meant that they were available in our region, and they proved throughout the project that they had a huge network of CargoWise implementation consultants who were able to support us in various areas around the world.
“Zinnovate helped us significantly in the process of getting our staff on the system. It was a challenge, but mainly due to the COVID situation as we could not do on-site training for our team members. We had various sites where we needed to do the training remotely, but luckily Zinnovate had previous experience in doing exactly that and it turned out really well,” said Mr Holm.
A key milestone in their digitalization journey was the implementation of CargoWise across their US offices, which began in October 2021 and was completed in less than 90 days. Tamsin Emery, Project Director, Zinnovate, said that having a dedicated team and leadership support were key success factors.
“LEMAN pulled people out of the business that were really knowledgeable of the business processes and assigned them to this task full time for the period of the project. They not only know the business, but they know freight forwarding, and they relied on the expertise being provided by Zinnovate.
“They also had the support of the entire company and leadership behind them to get it done quickly. LEMAN built their integrations in record speed with their own team and with Zinnovate’s support.”
Mr Stocker, CEO of LEMAN USA added, “The implementation was absolutely flawless, and it instantly provided us with much-improved visibility and understanding of our activity, and that accelerated the rollout of CargoWise in the other countries.”
Optimized operations on a single global database
Operating on a single global platform has enabled the business to increase data quality and efficiency, streamline and scale their processes and make strategic decisions faster than ever before.
The feedback from their global team members has been that CargoWise is a system clearly built for the industry, and that they’ve found it intuitive, responsive and efficient.
With everyone now working from the same database, information that’s entered at the origin station becomes immediately available to the destination as well, resulting in efficiency and productivity gains across the board.
“It saves everyone time because you can just key in the data once, and there’s no need to double up. We can all share information at any time from the same database, so it really makes sense for everyone.
“Our management team benefit greatly too, because they can run reports from CargoWise and instantly have visibility of the company’s progress and development. This saves time and enables management to focus more on how to develop the company,” explained Ms Zhang.
Mr Stocker said, “The combination of providing a personalized service with data as the backbone is absolutely critical and is the alignment we need these days to be successful in our industry.
“The productivity improvements we’ve seen are already considerable, and in terms of financial overview and understanding of how the business runs, we’ve made massive steps forward due to the fact that we have CargoWise in place.”
With all their offices now using CargoWise, LEMAN’s next priority is to continue building on the system’s workflow automation and to tap into detailed data insights to make more agile, customer-focused decisions, said Mr Holm.
“We need to provide the insights that the modern world's customers are looking for, so the next step is to use CargoWise to provide better data insights and reports.
“CargoWise is a system with tons of configuration possibilities and lots of modules that could enhance everyday work and that will be the next step for us. We have now laid the foundation to really build on and progress further on this whole digitalization journey, so the story doesn't end here.”