About DB Schenker
DB Schenker: "Innovative supply chain solutions"
76,600 employees | 1,850 locations | 27.5 billion euros in revenue
With around 76,600 employees at over 1,850 locations in more than 130 countries, DB Schenker is one of the world's leading logistics service providers. The company offers land transportation, air and sea freight as well as comprehensive logistics solutions and global supply chain management from a single source.
The company is continuously investing in innovative transportation solutions, renewable energies and more environmentally friendly products for its customers in order to achieve the ambitious goal of climate neutrality by 2040.
Global strategy integration
In order to better connect the global strategy with local implementation, DB Schenker searched for new ways to better link strategy, goals, performance indicators and the operational work of the teams. In this way, three optimization potentials were to be realized.
1. More stringent prioritization in everyday work based on strategic topics
In order not to lose focus on the implementation of the strategy in the hectic day-to-day business, which is often characterized by dealing with ad hoc requests, the work of the teams had to be more closely aligned with the strategic priorities.
In the air freight organization, we are often heavily involved in day-to-day operations. This makes it difficult to focus on strategic priorities.
VP Airfreight, DB Schenker
2. Stronger outcome orientation
A stronger focus on outcomes should help teams and departments to focus their work on measurable results (outcomes) rather than effort (outputs). In this way, DB Schenker wanted to make it easier for management to assess the effectiveness of projects and derive targeted measures for more efficient business management.
Before we introduced OKRs, our projects were delayed by too many priorities, which meant that we could not focus clearly on the outcomes and had no transparency on progress.
Head of IT&D, DB Schenker
3. Better understanding of the team's contribution to the strategy and the overarching goals
In order to promote alignment between the different levels of the organization, the aim was to create clarity about how the work of the teams contributes to the organization's goals. In this way, DB Schenker wanted to better identify and eliminate inefficiencies in resource allocation and collaboration.
Managing multiple business units at DB Schenker is very complex. Therefore, before the introduction of OKRs, it was difficult to ensure that they were all aligned with the company's objectives.
Head of IT&D, DB Schenker
Creating an outcome-oriented strategy execution process with OKR
The introduction of the framework was intended to realize the potential described and close the gap between strategy and execution. The following advantages in particular were the deciding factors for the introduction of OKRs.
Increased customer & outcome focus
by establishing an outcome-oriented work process with a focus on customer added value and defining suitable metrics for measuring the effectiveness of projects.
More effective alignment and collaboration
through exchange between teams/departments and functions (breaking down silos) and transparency about the goals of other business units.
Linking/coordination of activities (outputs) and strategy (outcomes)
and thus a more efficient prioritization of the teams' work.
Consistent monitoring of goal achievement
through regular progress reviews in check-ins, which contributes to a more effective execution of the strategy and projects.
Starting with the management team around DB Schenker Europe CEO Helmut Schweighofer, OKRs were first rolled out broadly and then deeply within the organization. It was important to sufficiently empower employees through training and support from OKR Champions. An OKR manual provided the necessary guidance for the individual process steps. Nevertheless, it was important to give the teams a certain amount of freedom in the speed of the rollout.
By communicating rollout progress and implementation successes transparently and integrating OKR discussions into existing review formats, the relevance of OKR was made clear and broad support for the rollout was gained.
Initially, OKRs were perceived as extra work, but soon the regular monitoring of progress was seen as very valuable. Also, we have a great team that thinks and acts as a group - then it is easy to set common goals to achieve the best result for the organization.
Linehaul Manager, DB Schenker
The Workpath software supported this new process with an intuitive tool that involved all the teams contributing to the logistics giant's strategy implementation. It enabled DB Schenker to link the most important goals, metrics and initiatives on one platform. In addition, simple visualizations and holistic reporting helped to increase the transparency of strategic priorities and make the teams' contributions to the overarching goals visible.