A Successful Digital Sprint Ensures Effective Growth
Svane Shipping is based at the Port of Kolding Each day they load between 50 and 100 trucks with goods to be sent onward all over the world. The company has been doing this for almost 100 years and their work process has traditionally involved pushing around tons and tons of paper, as CEO Jesper Hansson puts it himself.
“We’ve been operating since 1926, so how do we even start to go about digitizing our business? Who exactly were we supposed to call for firm ideas as to what we needed to do?” Jesper Hansson wondered.
At the Port of Kolding, he got in touch with the design cluster D2i (Design to Innovate) which suggested a digital sprint. Two employees from the office, one from the warehouse, and Jesper Hansson himself were led through the sprint which lasted a week. The program allowed Svane Shipping to test and validate ideas as to how they could streamline their loading process while simultaneously establishing an efficient warehouse management system without all the towering piles of paper.
“We went in with some general ideas as to what we wanted and they were firmed up over the course of the sprint. After just five days, we left with two prototypes sketched out on two pieces of cardboard. The miracle in all of this is that these two prototypes still work for us even today,” explains Jesper Hansson.
No queues and fewer errors
The ambition for the sprint was, among other things, to ensure that truck drivers would not need to go into the office as soon as they arrived at the Port of Kolding to load their vehicles.
Warehouse staff at Svane Shipping can check big screens and tablets in their cabs to see what vehicles are coming, who is loading what, and whereabouts they are located. Moreover, the new digital solution also collates important data for traceability concerning what products have been transported and by which trucks.
“We can now prevent queues from building in our warehouse and traceability is important in relation to the goods we move, plus the probability of errors has now fallen considerably which is fantastic,” explains the company’s director, adding:
“For years I had been pondering how to bring ourselves into the digital age and to attain better efficiency which could provide a competitive edge and better service for our customers. We also wanted to be a first-mover in our sector within digitization and to future-proof our business. Getting started was difficult, but the outcome has been a resounding success,” says Jesper Hansson who estimates that the time it takes to manage and load a truck has now been reduced by up to 50%.
The Digital Design Sprint
Over the last three years, DDC – Danish Design Center has worked with several leading design agencies in the Sprint:Digital project to help more than 100 Danish SMEs future-proof their businesses by developing new digital services or products.
The process is known as a design sprint and involves mapping out, developing, and testing a brand-new digital solution over just five days. The magic formula behind this ultra-compact program is design methods that shorten the distance between thought and action, ensure effective collaboration, and maintain focus on the user throughout the process.
Simple tool for growth
The digital solution also makes it easier for Svane Shipping to realize the company’s plans for growth.
“We aim to expand to more locations than what we have today. Our digital solution means that we won’t need an administrative set-up comprised of two to three employees pushing paper back and forth whenever we open up in new locations. Having the fundamental tools in place will make growth easier for us to achieve,” says Jesper Hansson.
In addition, he also emphasizes that digitization has not been a cost-cutting exercise even if this was a concern among employees in the beginning.
“I have learned that it is important to involve as many people as possible in the process along the way. Ideas should stem from employees in order to allay reluctance and worries about job losses, even when growth and more employees are the ultimate ambition. It is important to involve and to include people. But naturally without allowing the process to descend into chaos,” Jesper Hansson concludes.
Svane Shipping is now preparing to launch version 2.0 of the company’s digitization process.
About Svane Shipping
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