Master Data launches site and vessel lists

Master Data has recently deployed two lists in the Microsoft Master Data Services (MDS). One presents information about all locations where our colleagues work, while the other is a vessel list showing a set of information about the fleet.

The lists allow better planning of local support, incident handling, planning of equipment replacements etc. and they help prevent mistakes. This is because several Excel spreadsheets in multiple copies in the organisation are replaced with one central location for the data. This eliminates redundancy or inaccurate versions of the same data.

The site list has information about the local site and the active IT equipment being used to access DFDS’ IT systems. Each local site has a unique name and a unique code that once utilised and built into the computer, server and network names can ensure tracking of all IT assets belonging to that specific site.

Currently, the vessel list contains general information about the ships. However, we are planning to collect the technical data from the fleet management system, Sertica, and compile it in Master Data Services. This will result in a complete list.

Once the master data is utilised fully in the MDS, the site list and the vessel master data will be the ‘foundation’ to eventually link that asset information to the necessary operational systems.

Centralised lists contribute to smarter working and smoother integration
Jaenet Viale, IT Operations & Support, and Pawel Siedlecki, Master Data, coordinated the lists, and introduced them for IT Field Engineers and others who need to register the data. Appointed stakeholders also have access to ensure that parts of the data about a site or vessel are updated.

Lloyd Middleton, IT Operations & Support, says: “As the control of adding and removing sites and site codes have been centralised, we are now able to delegate the maintenance of certain information, e.g. users per site, to the local field engineers in IT Operations & Support. This is without extra administrative work and republishing the list. Since the end of March, they have been able to maintain relevant data directly in the MDS.”

DFDS Direct now live

Logistics’ online booking service, DFDS Direct, went live today (15 May) and enabled customers to get a quote, book, track transport and manage freight documents directly from their own computer or phone.

“DFDS Direct displays our ambition to constantly improve our services, and it has already attracted many customers. I am also pleased to say we have received very positive reactions from customers who said they found it quick, simple and easy to use. This is exactly what we intended. To grow our business, we must make it easy for our customers to work with us,” says Niklas Andersson, EVP and Head of the Logistics Division.

DFDS Direct is a significant upgrade to My Logistics, which will be retired in the next few weeks.

“A lot of praise should go to Gauvain Haulot and his DFDS Direct team who succeeded in making it an efficient and extremely valuable service for our customers and DFDS as well as Riccardo Cereser, Product Owner, who was responsible for the design and technical delivery of DFDS Direct”. I am now really looking forward to seeing how it will help us strengthen our business during the coronavirus crisis, and how such digital solutions developed in fruitful co-operation between business and our Technology Division can support growth afterwards,” he says.

Rune Keldsen, Chief Technology Officer and Head of the Technology Division, says: “DFDS Direct is the beginning of an extensive digitisation plan with the goal of handling a substantial majority of the bookings digitally by 2023. And it is an excellent demonstration of how we will support business and growth by improving our integration capabilities and online services.

“We will keep you continually updated about major developments like this.”

IT & Digital kick off the work towards a new operating model

The kick-off of Momentum was the first online townhall meeting with more than 250 participants

On 11 May, more than 250 IT, Digital and colleagues from the other divisions gathered at a live online townhall meeting to kick off the change project “Momentum” towards a new operating model.

CEO Torben Carlsen and CTO Rune Keldsen presented the purpose of Momentum, which is first and foremost to make IT & Digital a more integrated part of DFDS.

Torben says: “IT has over the past years developed from being a cost center to becoming an integrated part of business and business development. Our future is non-existent if there is no Digital & IT to back us up. IT & Digital should not be a supplier and the business not a customer, but instead we will work together in One DFDS. This vision is supported by the entire EMT.”

To support the creation and implementation of the new operating model, Rune and his team have initiated five workstreams: Strategy, Structure, Process, People and Technology. These workstreams are headed by VP Sophie-Kim Chapman, CTO Rune Keldsen, CIO Office Manager Mikkel Growth-Andersen, Digital Fulfilment Manager Liv Olsen and Head of IT Architecture & Strategy Jakob Fredfeldt. If you have questions or suggestions, no matter where in DFDS you are placed, you are more than welcome to reach out to the sponsors.

Rune says: “There is a motivation and a willingness to take the next step towards a new operating model. An operating model which is more agile and flexible, which allows for more autonomy and freedom to act and which is centered around creating an impact and value for DFDS. I am looking very much forward to this change journey together with you, and I highly appreciate your motivation and support.”

Logistics Finland integrated into IT landscape

As we reported earlier, we started work to integrate the offices of Freeco Logistics (now DFDS Finland), in Turku, Vantaa and Tallinn into the main DFDS IT landscape towards the end of 2019. And as planned, all users were migrated to the DFDS Active Directory and domain during the first quarter of 2020, whilst Velocity, Visma and CapNordic went live on 1 May.

“A vital part of all integrations is to visit the sites, evaluate the business processes, make gap analysis, IT security checks, and on-site application training. And particularly important is the onsite go-live support to help all the new users with the daily challenges of adapting to the new applications. Even though the COVID-19 situation prevented people from travelling, we completed the integration of Freeco Logistics into the DFDS family as planned. The mantra was ‘If we see a problem, we fix it’. In fact, all DFDS behaviours were encapsulated in this integration,” says Chris Coughlin on behalf of the implementation team.

Online training
By using MS Teams and having new users with a very positive mindset, it has been possible to conduct online training sessions in Velocity, CapNordic and Visma, and the Freeco users are now all using the applications.

Daily operations are currently being supported virtually via MS teams, with Velocity being supported by Susanne Eriksen, Emelie Crofts, Simon Brambley and Chris Coughlin.

For the financial tasks, both Visma and CapNordic are supported by Jeppe Vestrup Skivild, Mattia Mariani, Alec Skat Larsen, Dennis Kyhl-Nielsen, Jennie Thorbjörnsson, Annika Ennok and Lene Frydenberg.

IT and infrastructure support has been provided by Paulius Kryzevicius.

“In addition to the system integration, we are also migrating most of the financial tasks to the Financial Shared Service Centre (FSC) in Poznań. Why not kill two birds with one stone?” Jeppe says. “Now, one week into the virtual go-live, everything has gone as planned. The main DFDS applications are in use, and all users and application supporters are in constant virtual dialogue via MS teams or Skype. It is not the same as being on site with face-to-face communication, but it is working.”

Learning process
“Sure, it has been learning process for everyone, but the targets have been achieved, and the DFDS IT-systems are successfully implemented in two different countries remotely. Really proud of all teams involved and perhaps some parts of the process will be taken as new routines in DFDS future implementations” says Timo Ruusunen, MD DFDS Logistics Finland.

A success of co-operation
Valdemar Warburg, VP of BU Nordic says: “I’d like to express a big thank you to everyone involved. It is a new and very challenging task to do a go-live fully remotely, but the excellent co-operation between the business, IT, Finance and other support functions demonstrated what DFDS is capable of. Without your positive attitudes and your determination to make this work, despite the circumstances, this would not have been possible.”

A special thank you goes to the teams in Poznań, such as Joanna Borucka (AR), Weronika Branicka (Cash Management), Halina Sobczak-Kempara (GL), Dawid Strozak (GL), Angelika Knapinska (AP), Joanna Adamczyk (AP) and others. Thank you also to the local finance staff – Marianne Peltola, Aili Metsamaa and Liina Kalam, who are learning these new finance applications whilst migrating tasks to FSC. And to Mikko Viholainen in Turku, for his help in the location co-ordination for all the operational tasks.

The integration team
From DFDS Logistics Turku: Mikko Viholainen, (implementation coordinator), Timo, Henri, Kristian Vihanto, Ulrike Rautarinta, Sami Uotinen, Tuomas Tuominen, Marko Rantanen, Mirka Loimakoski, Tuukka Pulliainen.

From: DFDS Logistics Vantaa: Jukka Jurvela, Ville Kalsta, Teemu Korpinen.

DFDS Logistics Tallinn: Marko Sokk, Asko Lepiksaar, Deniss Vassiljev, Lilian Kaasik, Rainer Kuusemets, Signet Kruger, Kersten Loppe, Liina Kalam, Merlin Anton.

Faster delivery of Proof of Delivery

IT Consultants, Logistics, Curzio Carabelli and Simon Brambley.

When DFDS won a tender to transport drinks around Europe for Monster Energy, they  required a Proof of Delivery (POD) receipt within a few hours after delivery. Since the new flows were to begin imminently, IT Consultants Simon Brambley and Curzio Carabelli quickly developed a robot using Kofax RPA (Robotic Process Automation), a software that automates manual workflows.

The robot retrieves Proof of Delivery documents from Velocity after the driver submits them, optimally via the DFDS Driver App. The robot automatically forwards the documents with identifying data to Monster Energy. This automates a process that had to be done manually and accelerates Monsters own invoicing process as well as improving their cash flow (Monster Energy also requested to receive a weekly performance report detailing the elapsed times between delivery and the sending of Proof of Delivery. Thanks to the robot, this is also now in place.

“Fantastic to see results so quickly. Probably won’t seem like much, but to Monster its honestly game changing stuff,” says Josh Jackson, Supply Chain Analytics Manager, Monster Energy.

Proof of Delivery email that are send to the customer shortly after being submitted by the driver

Available for every single client in Logistics

The robot is not only intended for Monster Energy. It is possible to quickly adapt it so other customers can benefit from it as well. In recent days, three customers have begun to receive Proof of Delivery in this way.

Simon Overkær Hansen, DIO Logistics, says: “The cooperation between Monster and DFDS really outline how we can use our IT and Digital capabilities to differentiate us from our competition. I hope and encourage that we in the future will see many other cases, where we actively use IT and Digital in our commercial activities”

Michael Bech, Vice President and Head of BU Continent says: “Digitizing the core is an essential part of the DFDS strategy, and handling Proof of Delivery is an essential part of Logistics. With the developments based on our client’s needs, we have solved a major logistic problem.

“The feedback from Monster Energy speaks for itself but at the same time we have created a tool and a set of processes that can apply to every single client in Logistics. We already see many clients asking us to deliver almost real time information. By using the DFDS Driver App (Truckcom), together with the POD robot, we are among the very few in the industry that can handle the client’s own paperwork instantly, not only dramatically increasing the service to our clients, but also benefiting our own cash and information flow. Great tool and ready to go, so all we need to do is to tell our clients and implement the process” says Michael.

If you have any potential candidates that might benefit from this new capability or to simply find out more, please contact Simon Brambley or Curzio Carabelli.

France: New ways of handling Customs will reduce costs

Two Mediterranean routes have changed their customs declaration processes for imports to France and the EU. This has led to more efficient operations and cost savings.

All cargo to enter EU ports needs a so-called “ENS clearances” (Entry Summary Declaration), which is a security assessment. On the Yalova-Séte and Tunis–Marseille routes they used to work with external suppliers for administration of the ENS clearances, as this requires specialist knowledge, which, at the time, DFDS did not have.

As a supplier announced that they would be going out of business soon, DFDS had to find an alternative solution on a short notice. Fortunately, due to Brexit preparations and our new Turkish organisation integration, we have built up more in-house knowledge of doing ENS clearances directly. Therefore, a project team consisting of IT, the local business as well as Group Customs (Indirect Tax) was assembled to come up with a solution to this.

Cooperation crucial for new solution
The team searched for a company that could do ENS clearances directly and digitally based on a direct connection from DFDS systems. They finally chose the company MGI in Marseille, offering customs and ICS declaration services around Europe through their partners’ network. (ICS – Import Control System – is the electronic security declaration management system for imports to the EU.)

“We already had indirect experience with them in both Marseille and Séte and as their offer was also competitive, they were the obvious choice,” says Stephanie Thomas, Head of Customs & Excises and member of the DFDS group taxation team.

Parallel to this, the Turkish IT Development Centre completed work on an ICS module which can gather and submit all customs related information from DFDS to third parties. The team is also indebted to the central role of the Customs & Compliance team in our Finance Service Centre in Poznan as well as our Turkish IT Development Centre. Their fast reaction has been crucial to the project. Due to all this collaboration, the final process and data flow was born, linking to French Customs via MGI.

Successful go-live
“Both routes have since successfully gone live with the new solution and cutting out “the middlemen” suppliers is expected to save around €100.000 per year once the routes return to full capacity after the current crisis. Moreover, this solution also paves the way for the next step: selling customs brokerage activities to our customers in France,” says Jimmy Marolle, Agency Director France.

“Customs is often neither exciting nor easy. However, in this case, it is a motivating example of the capabilities of our organisation to cooperate and develop efficient, cost saving products and flows,” says Attila Gulyas, Project Lead, DIO Freight Ferry.

“The IT team will continue to investigate ways of further automating and improving the process and the dataflow. Furthermore, we will explore what can be reused from this solution in our Brexit preparations,” he adds.


Important customs terms
The world of customs is full of acronyms and herewith – we are happy to teach you two of them to make sense of this article:

ENS is an acronym for Entry Summary Declaration. ENS is required by EU customs to do a security assessment of all cargo entering EU ports.
ICS (Import Control System) is the electronic security declaration management system for the importation of goods into the European Union customs territory.

Phoenix implemented in BU Med

The implementation of Phoenix and MyFreight are now completed in all former U.N. Ro-Ro locations

As we shared in February, the Ferry IT team supported by workstreams from Digital, BI and the local business have been busy with one of its largest projects ever – to implement DFDS systems in BU Med. Locations were added to the systems network on a bi-weekly basis in the first quarter of 2020. We are now happy to announce that the first implementation phase is completed slightly ahead of schedule.

The project workstreams, the implementation team and the local business have all done a fantastic job to deliver the project on time. This means that all former U.N. Ro-Ro locations now have Phoenix (our core IT system for the freight business) and MyFreight (online booking portal for freight customers) systems as well as subsequent capabilities such as BI reporting.  

Please see below overview of the project status:

Lars Hoffman, VP and Head of BU Mediterranean says: “It is vital to align with the rest of DFDS, so we are glad to finally have Phoenix on most of our locations. It provides better business overview and enables us to use Tableau.

“Thanks to especially Sara Ryden and her Phoenix team, who spent many weeks in Turkey working on the implementation. We now have to implement Phoenix in Trieste and Tunis as soon as we can travel again completing the first stage and significantly improve our communication and data quality as well as standardise the processes on the routes just like it did at the previously implemented routes.”

In addition, it is planned to expand the initial implementation of the intermodal routes by integrating with train providers as well as offering booking and Track & Trace capabilities to our customers.

Rune Keldsen, EVP and CTO, says: “This big project is a milestone related to collaboration across the DFDS group. Business located in various countries have worked closely together with our IT teams placed in Istanbul, Grimsby, Gothenburg, Vlaardingen and Copenhagen. The success of this implementation shows how beneficial it is when we unite the different skills and cultures that we have in the group no matter the location.”

Michael Herbæk, Freight Ferry DIO, says, “This is the biggest Phoenix implementation ever, and even though our colleagues in BU Med were really willing to adapt to the DFDS Ferry processes supported by our systems, a lot of development for supporting legal and local ‘must have’ tasks was needed. For example, 42 new EDI (electronic data interchange) links was built to communicate with banks, authorities and other stakeholders. On top of that, a separate module for handling customs clearance between Turkey and Europe was developed making it possible to adapt to customs demands from other countries. Where relevant, MyFreight and the underlying API’s were also further developed for supporting BU Med.

“Last but not least, a lot of hours were spent at the different locations to support the go live, and here a special thanks to those of the business areas outside BU Med that allocated some of their local core staff members to help out during the many go live periods. A big thanks to all involved, you can all be proud of having participated in this successfully implementation of Phoenix”.

The implementation project is now officially closed, and future development requests will be handled together with requests coming from other parts of the business.

Bo Kristensen has accepted new job outside DFDS

I am sorry to announce that Bo Kristensen has decided to resign from his position as General Manager, IT after 16 years in DFDS. Bo has been offered a position as CTO in a company where he will be building up the IT area from scratch.

Bo will be missed for his deep technical knowledge, positive energy and drive to bring DFDS to the next level of technical maturity. Bo has had a huge part of building up the Tech hub and attracting talents to DFDS which other companies in the industry can only dream of. Bo has his last day in DFDS on 31 March and I wish him all the best in his new endeavors.

We have started the search for Bo’s replacement but from today Stefan, Michel, Stephen, Jon and Mathias will be reporting directly to me.

Rune Keldsen
Chief Technology Officer

DFDS at analytics summit Superweek

Astrid Illum represented DFDS at Superweek 2020 with talk and panel


As technology develops – so does DFDS. On 28 January Astrid Illum, Head of Product & Digital Analytics, represented DFDS at the annual Superweek Analytics Summit, to be at the forefront of Digital Analytics with colleagues from around the globe.

Previous participants and new ones were back on the snowy mountaintop in Hungary that they visited last year, and what better place to have a summit than on one?

Here Astrid gave a talk. The topic was the familiar challenge of combining the needs of both customers and companies in relation to storing data about our website visitors – data which enables both functionality and higher relevance in the user experience. The angle on the talk however was a pretence of a visit to the future in which things look dramatically different to how they look now.

“I wanted to take a couple of the key challenges in our current data landscape and turn them around. What if there was an even higher abundance of data about users? And what if that data was never owned by companies but by the users themselves?” Astrid explains. In the future scenario data was part of a trade between companies wanting to sell a product and the potential customer. Astrid continues: “My aim was to focus on what value data can bring to all parties, and how we can safeguard the interests of our customers while at the same time allowing companies to sell their services and goods.”

The same topic was explored in a panel in which Astrid participated alongside acknowledged analytics figures such as Stéphane Hamel and Aurélie Pols, who are well known for also caring deeply about data privacy and an ethical use of customer data.

IT and Baltic Passenger Business Drivers collaborate in Klaipeda

From the left Laura Neimetaite (Product Owner), Abdul Arafh (developer), Mikkel Dam-Larsen (developer), Martin Bundgaard (developer), Mauricio Guevara Souza (developer), Ida Rasmussen (Business Analyst)

Last week six members of the Seabook scrum team named Passenger Ships, also known as The Doors, sailed with Patria Seaways on the Karlshamn – Klaipeda route to meet with BU Baltic Business Drivers.

The purpose of the trip was to map customer journeys on BU Baltic routes from purchasing a ticket to disembarkation, with focus on check in, boarding, accessing a cabin, and redeeming pre-paid services. The aim was to identify the process, hardware and software changes needed to roll out upgraded door locks with new technology.

In Karlshamn, Customer Service Manager Katrin Arvidsson gave them a tour at the Port of Karlshamn. During the tour, developers and check-in staff shared tips and experiences. As a result, developers took home a quick improvement to be implemented once they are back, whilst check in staff got a tip on how to get a printer up and running after a jam 1,5 to 2 min faster.

“There is so much knowledge to be shared and gained visiting locations that use applications supported by us” says Mauricio Guevara Souza, developer in the Doors team.

Passenger Ships scrum team on the tour in the engine room on Patria Seaways

Designing solutions together
“On Partria Seaways we learned about guest service center operations, observed navigation in the dark on the bridge, and were dazzled by the powerful and rough composure of the engine room. Thank you to all the staff members who took excellent care of us” says Laura Neimetaite, Product Owner in the development team.

She continues: “We kept passengers in focus throughout the process of designing the improved experience that the new door locks will enable. Whilst minimizing check in time, overall costs, and ensuring process consistency across routes were, similarly, crucial parts of the puzzle”.

With their focus, engagement, and open mindedness in the session, BU Baltic Business Drivers’ Linas Lesauskas and Gintaras Laucius and key user Kristijanas Kiseliovas as well as the development team were key to producing the desired outcome.

“I believe that transparency and communication between IT department and business owners is the key to success when designing such high impact solutions and choosing technologies. We were happy, that the development team decided to come and see the business on site” says Linas Lesauskas, Business Driver for onboard sales.

“It took us 1,5 days to design the desired customer experience for both freight and tourist passengers given the capabilities of the new door lock technology. It was a long but rewarding process, that not only provided clarity of the scale and specifics of required technical and process changes, but even more importantly, their implications and impact“ explains Gintaras, Business Driver for ports and check-in.

Working on the customer journey map for Business Unit Baltic routes. Left Kristijanas Kiseliovas (Terminal Operations Supervisor), right Linas Lesauskas (BUB  Business Driver for on board services)

“The trip from setting foot in Karlshamn, experiencing onboard customer journey, walking through freight and passenger check-in in Klaipeda, to being locked in a room for 1,5 days with business drivers has been invaluable. Only when business challenges and realities are fully explained and understood can the best IT solutions be designed” says Laura.

Phoenix implemented on Sète-Yalova

Our colleagues working on the IT and Digital integration of our Mediterranean offices into the DFDS network

Following months of dedicated work both from the development teams as well as the local offices learning the new ways of working, Phoenix, our core IT system for the freight business, went live on the Sète-Yalova route and reverse route on 22 and 23 January. This is the first ex-UN Ro-Ro route to switch to the new booking system in BU Mediterranean. More routes will follow in the next couple of months.

This marks an important milestone in the IT and Digital integration of our Mediterranean offices into the DFDS network as well as a contribution to Pillar B of the Win23 strategy. The successful go-live required a great effort in preparation by the Phoenix, EDI, MyFreight, BI, Website, and Marketing teams as well as the valuable input of our offices in Sète, Yalova and Istanbul in order to come up with smart solutions under the coordination of Michael Herbaek and Attila Gulyas as project leads.

“As with any project like this, the implementation process was not without challenges, however these have been efficiently managed through proactive coordination efforts and quick solutions by the team.” says Daniel Capes, FM Team Lead.

“Our teams of superusers, system analysts and developers were deployed across three locations in close coordination through the day, working together with our colleagues in Sète, Yalova and Istanbul to get everything ready for the sailings. We are thankful for the hard work of everyone involved.”  explains Sara Ryden – Product Owner Phoenix, BU MED.

Phoenix to be implemented on other routes 
This first go-live is just the start of the Digital and IT implementation roadmap in BU Mediterranean. Phoenix will be introduced on almost a bi-weekly basis to new routes and the entire process is expected to be completed at the end of March.

“We are pleased that the first go-live has been successful and look forward to providing our customers and colleagues in the Mediterranean with an improved Digital experience.” says Lars Hoffman, Vice President & Head of Business Unit Mediterranean.

Aligning with the rest of DFDS
“Some of the positive effects of the new system are already starting to show, while it is still early days, we can definitely tell that there will be significant efficiency benefits in aligning systems processes with the rest of DFDS” says Alihan Murat Tutuncu, Phoenix Superuser in Istanbul.

“We have put an enormous effort in implementing Phoenix in BU Med. This was a team effort so I would like to thank everyone who involved in the development phase. Once the users are fully up to speed with using Phoenix in these weeks, MyFreight will be introduced gradually to the customers as the new way of making bookings with DFDS” says Aslihan Tur – Software Supervisor.

Besides the mentioned systems, GTMS will also be soon implemented for gate operations in Pendik Terminal.

Our colleagues from the office in Yalova

Our colleagues from the office in Sète

New customer care system to be implemented in Passenger and IT Support

Jan Svane, Thomas Møller, Peter Hoogendoorn, Paolo Selvatico and Martin Lange

Great news: In a few weeks’ time, a new omnichannel customer care system will be implemented in Passenger and IT Support. Omnichannel means that instead of having different systems to handle customer requests – for instance one for phone, one for email and one for chat – all requests will be handled in one system that can even be programmed to prioritise the requests according to the set-up the team wants.

Thomas Møller, Head of Customer Interaction at BU Short Routes & Passenger, says: “It is a huge benefit for our customers and us that we now don’t have to switch between different systems. The new system prevents customers having to wait to be served longer than necessary, and in general it shortens the waiting time considerably as we save time on manual work.”

The new system, Puzzel, also makes it possible for the customer care centres to cooperate globally as customer requests can be answered and forwarded by all locations.

Thomas says: “Norwegian customers will still be served by Norwegian-speaking travel consultants but if the waiting time exceeds a certain period of time, the customer will be asked if he or she wants instead to be served by an English-speaking consultant, who physically could be located anywhere. This also means that our travel consultants will get the opportunity to upscale their competencies, both in regard to language skills and knowledge about our different routes.”

The project has been a very smooth and successful cooperation between Thomas Møller, Paolo Selvatico from Procurement, Peter Hoogendoorn from Business Development & Strategy, plus Martin Lange and Jan Svane from IT.

The Passenger organisation will have the full package while IT Support only needs a light version. But the system is very flexible and can be scaled according to needs.

Casper Puggaard, Global Sales & Customer Care Director, says: “We feel confident that this is the best system for DFDS, and the price is fair. For a start, Passenger and IT support will use the system but it can be customised to other departments across DFDS that work with customer care. So if anyone is interested in implementing the system or just wants to know more, please contact me.”

“A big thank you to Thomas, Paolo, Peter, Martin and Jan for great work and great cooperation!”

Omnichannel means that instead of having different systems to handle customer requests, all requests will be handled in one system.


Super users train as sales software go-live nears

Amsterdam–Newcastle sales staff met for a workshop in IJmuiden to continue training for the roll-out of the LS retail sales software


Our on-board sales teams play an important role in the success of our passenger routes, and the roll-out of the sales platform LS Retail is a very important upgrade to support sales. With the Newcastle–Amsterdam route getting close to go live, the crew is on top of it.

In December, 18 crew members from King Seaways and Princess Seaways gathered in Ijmuiden to continue their training to prepare for the changes to the on-board sales system. They also met fellow super users from the Channel and the Business Driver from the Baltics Rokas Budrevicius, who is assisting with the implementation.

Andy Watkins, Business Driver for the Channel routes and for the Amsterdam–Newcastle route, says: “When we prepare for a roll-out, this kind of training is very important so that our staff are knowledgeable and prepared. New and enhanced systems help our staff perform better and improves the customer experience.”

After the three days of workshops the group could return to King and Princess to train their colleagues on board, and they were eager to do so.

“There has been a great atmosphere in the group. People have really adapted to the knowledge sharing and the idea of being a community that will help each other whenever someone needs support. It has also been fantastic to see how the group has increased their motivation since their first training in September. With this attitude and approach, the implementation will be a success,” adds Marianne Hagen and Michael Bergmann from the team implementing the LS Retail Super User organisation.

Event storming workshop in Turkey

The Bosphorus team from our IT Development Centre in Turkey is currently working on the XMS project, which is the software used by the cross-dock terminal in Arendal.
The team has identified 15 modules consisting of various features that the final app must offer the customer. The development of the first two modules is already completed.

Jan Devrim, Director of IT Development Centre Turkey, says: “We invited stakeholders for a two-day workshop with the whole development team.
To create a business model that we can use during development, we used the workshop-based method, Event Storming. It involves gathering all stakeholders to align understandings of the business domain and the problem at hand. This results in a solution that ensures the business domain experts and technology experts reach a common agreement before developing the app.

With the help of sticky notes and an enthusiastic group, we acquired an insight of the terminal operations and warehousing that we are trying to model and enabled technical experts to communicate clearly and transparently. Together with Product Owner Jonas Granlund, we planned the project from the beginning to the end.

The team and stakeholders matched expectations about the big picture and the flows of the project. Software Developer Ahmet Aydın also shared a demo showing the current status of the existing app. By identifying the business value and complexity for the 15 modules, the participants could agree on the absolute minimum viable product (MVP) which is a version of the app with just enough features for the business to use it beneficially and also aims to capture feedback for future development. It was determined that the task management and warehouse modules would define the MVP.

A new name was needed for our application with the addition of the warehouse module, and the participants went with “Astrid”.

Merged Ferry Freight DIO and IT Fulfilment Departments streamline processes

Merged Ferry Freight DIO and IT Fulfilment Departments reduce complicatedness and overlapping roles. As some roles disappear, we are looking for solutions for five colleagues.


During September 2019, the Freight DIO Office and the IT Fulfilment Management Team of the Ferry Division merged into a single department under the Management of Michael Herbæk.

“Even though everyone has done a great job and worked hard to deliver results, the previous complicated structure made it difficult to improve processes. Therefore, the purpose of the merger was to reduce complicatedness to improve our digital processes and ability to deliver better solutions faster,” says Michael Herbæk, Head of the merged Freight DIO and IT fulfilment department.

“We have now had time to evaluate the optimum structure for the department, and have identified a number of overlapping functions and opportunities for streamlining our processes. As a result we will put in place a new structure that follows the one introduced in Logistics. This new structure strengthens the role of Product Owner and dedicates Product Owners to supporting specific objectives & capabilities. We are confident that these changes will help us achieve the goals of the merger of the departments,” says Michael.

“Unfortunately, those more streamlined processes will mean that some roles will disappear and this will regrettably reduce need for staff in the department by a few positions.”

“The people affected are all very good colleagues who have done a great job, and we are therefore doing our best to look for other opportunities in the organisation. There are still five persons left without a role in the organisation, and we are now in dialogue with them and their union representatives in order to look for other solutions. The affected colleagues are working in the UK and Holland, and naturally, we will support them to the best of our ability in the process ahead if no solution can be found at DFDS,” says Michael.

The DFDS app is developing at full speed

In just over three months, the DFDS app has had more than 5,000 downloads for iOS (the mobile operating system developed by Apple Inc.). The Android version, released on 24 October, has been downloaded more than 1,500 times.

Hasan Ünal, Product Owner, Digital, says: “In our first version only the English language was available, but we have recently sent an update to both the App Store and Google Play Store, including seven new languages that the app will support. Now the DFDS app can also be used in Danish, Norwegian, Swedish, French, German, Dutch and Polish. Together with Passenger marketing, we are planning updates for the remaining languages that we support on in January next year.”

So far, the DFDS app has only been promoted to customers travelling on Newcastle – Amsterdam and on our Channel routes, since these routes are mostly being booked by English speaking customers but now the team will extend the promotion to customers who booked other routes as well.

“We have gathered really useful feedback from our customers and are already improving and adding functionalities into the app according to the customer feedback received so far,” says Hasan.

“As we targeted in our KPIs, our app is being rated with more than four stars both in the Google Play Store and Apple App Store, and we’ll keep monitoring this metric to make sure that we keep up and exceed our customers’ expectations.”

The team is currently working on consolidating two DFDS freight apps into the DFDS app universe, and at the same time adding functionalities to increase efficiency at our freight terminals.

Hasan says: “We have conducted user testing at Ghent, Immingham, Dover, Dunkerque and Calais and gathered valuable information regarding how we can decrease the time spent in DFDS terminals by freight drivers for a more efficient flow. We expect to issue our first update with freight driver functionalities as early as Q1 next year. Then we aim to move our users from the terminal app to the DFDS app and decommission the terminal app later next year.”

The DFDS app is downloaded mostly by the 25-34 age group followed by the 35-44 and 45-55 age groups, and 69% of our app users are male.

Ghent terminal user testing with freight drivers

CIO Gert Møller retires

Gert Møller retires from his CIO role at DFDS, and this occasion will be marked with a reception on 19 December from 15:00 to 17:00 at DFDS House.

In the new year, Gert Møller, CIO of DFDS, will be a lot more difficult to get hold of as he will be traveling New Zealand for two months with his wife Nina. However, his absence will actually be of a more permanent nature, as he will retire from his CIO role at DFDS at the end of 2019, just as he announced in March.

We are certain that a great number of partners, friends and colleagues will take the opportunity to say goodbye to Gert at his farewell reception on Thursday 19. December – his last day with the company. However, we could expect to see Gert from time to time as he will not settle for just doing DIY around the house or other retirement-related activities. “I will do some consultancy work, also for DFDS, and I already have a number of requests. I have been in the CIO role for 17 years, and in my view this is too long, not least as it requires 24-hour availability. Therefore, I look forward to a more ‘independent’ role where I can plan my day in a more flexible way,” Gert says.

The round-the-clock availability is required because no function is as business critical as our IT systems. Gert has been responsible for these systems since 2002, when he came to DFDS, or rather when he came back to DFDS. But first things first.

Gert grew up in the town of Aabenraa in Jutland, and he got his master’s degree in engineering from Aalborg University. There was little doubt that he would chose this path as he was a tech nerd when he was a teenager to the extent that His experiments in his home lab even caused an explosion big enough for the police to take an interest in the matter.

However, Gert didn’t work with chemicals for long. Instead he became interested in IT, a new and emerging science.  So after three years with the medical company Novo, he was employed as Development Manager at Transnordic in Jutland in 1986.

At Transnordic he developed the logistics system Cargolink for DFDS Transport in 1988. This went so well that DFDS continued to be his biggest customer until 1993, when DFDS’ logistics management, Ole Frie and Ole Sehested, hired him as an IT project manager. He now worked for a business that grew from 700 staff to 9,000 in just five years because the management kept acquiring companies. This included the huge acquisition of the company Dan Transport, which was a major part of the DFDS’ logistics division DFDS Transport.

In 2000, DSV took over DFDS Transport and Gert Møller as well. After a year as CIO at DSV, he was headhunted for the job of CIO at Berendsen, a provider of textile maintenance services, etc. He stayed in contact with DFDS, however, and when Berendsen changed owner and the IT tasks were reduced, Gert was asked to come back to DFDS to merge the IT departments of Passenger and Freight into one Group IT Department with himself as its CIO.

“I was used to companies that were growing and acquiring all the time, so we had the structures and processes in place when we took over Norfolkline in 2010,” Gert says.

In IT, much has remained the same. However, the digital development that came to DFDS with Sophie-Kim Chapman has been an education. Her stringent view on things mirrors the view of the customers, and it has taught me a lot,” Gert says.

Thanks from Torben
“I am extremely pleased that we have had Gert with us during times when we saw the IT department develop rapidly, both in terms of complexity and in terms of the number of tasks. Tasks such as the development of Phoenix, Velocity, Seabook and countless other complex core systems along with new digital tools.

“We have been lucky to have such a skilled, experienced and deeply committed manager as Gert at the helm to ensure that IT has remained one of the most important instruments to propel the business into the future. Also, Gert’s enthusiasm for DFDS and the staff has been inspiring to us all,” Torben Carlsen says.

“I thank Gert warmly for his unparalleled contribution to DFDS and wish him a great time as a more independent consultant. I also hope he will be able to enjoy more time in his sailing boat and with his numerous other interests.”

Master Data, Passenger, Procurement and IT collaborate on handling master data

Andy Watkins, Lukasz Jędrzejek, Pernille Hüls Dyrmose and Torben Ødegaard

More than three years ago, Group Procurement started working closely with the Master Data team in Poznań to ensure centralisation of the work on creating and maintaining the products purchased through the DFDS procurement systems.

Pernille Hüls Dyrmose, VP, Group Procurement, says: “Over the years, Group Procurement has had the pleasure of hosting colleagues from the Master Data team on secondment to Copenhagen, and during these periods they have gained valuable knowledge about how we work with master data at DFDS. For example, we have moved full responsibility for managing master data for the four cruise vessels and all items in Sertica, our maintenance and procurement system, to the Master Data team in Poznań.”

With the future roll-out of LS retail (our sales system for managing sales in shops, bars and restaurants as well as stock on board our passenger ferries) to the entire fleet, Pearl, Crown, King and Princess will be the last vessels to get LS Retail to manage all sales items on board.

Pernille says: “After this, all passenger vessels operating on the Channel and in the Baltics as well as our cruise routes sailing between Copenhagen – Oslo and Amsterdam – Newcastle will purchase items through the same system. This set-up supports the fact that we have moved complete responsibility for product data in LS Retail to Poznań, and the Passenger and Procurement departments will, as a result, experience a very streamlined approach to data and the required transparency across the fleet, thus enabling leverage of scale.”

The focus is on aligned product tree structures, aligned naming conventions, one process and one department. Pernille says: “In this way, we can ensure that we will become more efficient and data-driven in our decisions and negotiations.”

Lukasz Jędrzejek, Team Leader, Master Data, has been on the journey with Group Procurement from the start. He says: “The only way to ensure high-quality data is to centralise it in one place. As a result of great involvement and support from colleagues in Group Procurement, Passenger and IT, we can bring on board LS Retail processes for products, and utilise the Master Data department in Poznań as a natural central point for data maintenance.”

Andy Watkins, Business Development Manager, BU Short Routes & Passenger, says: “Centralising the management of the LS Retail databases into the Master Data team will deliver a number of advantages for our Category Managers and the crew on board our vessels. Data integrity has a great impact on our ability to operate the retail and catering business, as products or promotions that are set up incorrectly prevent our crews from delivering a great customer experience to all our passengers.”

IT plays an important role in the process. Torben Ødegaard from IT, Pax Fulfillment, says: “Centralising the master data maintenance to one unit is an important part of creating one LS Retail for the whole DFDS passenger fleet. This will secure a common, more streamlined setup and make life easier for all of us. Going forward it will also enable us to add more valuable information to our dataset and thereby new functionalities to the LS Retail platform.”

Pernille concludes: “This project involves colleagues from Master Data, Passenger, IT and Procurement, and it has been a pleasure to experience such great cooperation across several departments. I am looking forward to continuing the collaboration.

DFDS Direct setup fully in place

The collaboration between Logistics, Digital, and IT, which forms DFDS Direct. From left: Riccardo Cereser (Digital), Gabriella Simon (IT), Ignas Bagdonas (IT, external), Christian Jess (IT), Tynan Debold (IT, external), Casper Michaelsen (IT), Gauvain Haulot (DFDS Direct), Valdemar Warburg (BU Nordic), Rebecca Colvin (DFDS Direct), Rasmus Pedersen (Smart Data), Henrik Killander (DFDS Direct) and Baran Ozan (DFDS Direct)


A few months ago, we shared the news of a new DFDS Direct department taking shape. The team being led by Gauvain Haulot will build the digital business within the Logistics Division in line with the strategic goals of Win23’s Pillar B.

For this purpose, the team has several main priorities.
• Boost adoption of current digital booking and post-booking services by our existing customers.
• Roll out and develop automated quotes in close collaboration with Smart Data.
• Enhance digital value proposition with instantly priced products for our existing customers.
• Scale digital value proposition to new customers.

These aim to support the business and, adding new online revenue streams while digitalising the current way of doing business and increasing operational efficiency, for instance by helping sell empty runnings.

The team is truly cross-functional and is a collaboration between Logistics, IT, and Digital: Gauvain and his team (Henrik, Rebecca, and Baran) report to Valdemar Warburg, VP and Head of BU Nordic. Rasmus and Riccardo are part of Sophie-Kim Chapman’s Digital department, and the IT colleagues (Gabriella, Casper, Christian as well as the external developers) are part of IT.

DFDS Direct will also collaborate closely with the Automated Quotes team from Smart Data and Sarah Holloway from Logistics, as they have built and are improving the pricing engine – one of the core capabilities of DFDS Direct.

We welcome three new team members

Rebecca Colvin, Operations Lead. Rebecca has almost 10 years of experience with DFDS Logistics, with more than half of it as route manager in Immingham then Vlaardingen. She will ensure close collaboration with the Logistics offices and smooth integration of the digital tools in daily operations.

Henrik Killander, Business Development and Marketing Lead. Henrik has been with DFDS for four years as Marketing Manager. In the new role he will leverage his knowledge of state-of-the-art digital business and marketing.

Baran Ozan, Business and Data Analyst, who will support DFDS Direct with data analysis to make informed, data-driven decisions. Baran just graduated from CBS in finance and accounting.

Gauvain Haulot, Director of DFDS Direct, says: “We approach this huge challenge with humility. It’s a fresh start for this ambition that we have for developing the online business in Logistics, and we look forward to closely collaborating with our Logistics colleagues. We have prepared well and assembled the team, and we are also learning a lot as we progress.”

Valdemar Warburg, VP and Head of BU Nordic, says: “I welcome our colleagues, both new and those transitioning to Logistics! DFDS Direct is much more than an online booking platform. It is how we interact with our customers and automate our processes. And while we now have a strong, experienced, and dedicated support team, we in the Logistics Division are the ones who will implement the changes, as we transform our booking, post-booking, and spot selling activities in the coming months.”

IT Development Centre Turkey develops new tool

Logistics and shipping businesses are creating lots of freight documents that customers usually are not aware of. These documents are transported with the cargo and provide details about the shipping and customs as well as storage information.

However, handling physical freight documents is time-consuming. It requires a lot of manual work, and it is inefficient, time is lost and errors occur. It also takes up a lot of space to archive physical documents, and it takes time to find them again.

Per Hjelmström, Process Development Manager, says: “In a fruitful collaboration between DLC Arendal and the Bosphorus Team from the IT Development Centre in Istanbul, we have developed a document scanning solution. It focusses on the cross-docking version of GTMS (General Terminal Management System), XMS, which is the software used by the cross-dock terminal in Arendal. Here, products from a supplier or manufacturer are distributed through an inbound dock and then directly transported to the outbound transportation dock with little to no handling or storage time.”

The aim is to only handle the documents once, that is when they are being scanned and stored in a digital format in the cloud. The system takes care of the rest. When the documents are digitised, they are searchable, accessible and easily shared internally or with our customers via links. We’re also planning to make the documents available to customers via a web portal. That way, we can increase our transparency and provide our customers with faster services.

Developer from Team Bosphorus in Istanbul, Anıl Taşçı, says: “This solution was the first module that was developed for the XMS (X-dock Management System), and it is the first step in our digital transformation journey in Arendal. It fulfils the need for digital transformation and digital archiving of paper documents. Two specific main functionalities are splitting up and merging PDF documents, which is the most common format for holding and sharing digital documents, and it is supported by almost all scanners, browsers and mobile devices today.”

This way of handling documents has led to quality improvements for our customers and a lean and more efficient outbound process where the sources of errors have been significantly reduced.

The digital document management is a prerequisite for further digitisation of the Arendal X-dock, with a goal of simplifying operations and delivering transparent X-dock services of an excellent quality to our customers.

With XMS, you can upload freight documents. When the documents are uploaded, they are searchable, accessible and easily shared internally or with our customers via links.

Istanbul team joins Integration support

Three developers in the Istanbul Integration team have now joined the rotation in EDI and Integration support. From left: Haluk Iltas, Yusuf Tezcan and Kemal Teke


DFDS continues to gather locations into a fully unified business. The newest example of this is the addition of our Istanbul office into the EDI (Electronic Data Interchange) and Integration support teams, which handle a large variety of request tickets from across the organisation. Many parts of the business rely on this support, including Logistics, Ferry, Finance, Sertica, Product Owners and Human Resources.

To strengthen the function, three developers in the Turkish Integration team, Haluk Iltas, Yusuf Tezcan and Kemal Teke, have now joined the rotation in EDI and Integration support, adding Istanbul as our third location for this function together with Vlaardingen and Copenhagen.

The developers began handling support in week 42 with Integration Developer Jan Kierstein on location to assist and to train them in all the different support requests. The trio will have support duties, often in the first weeks to quickly acquire experience, with dedicated backup support from colleagues in Copenhagen and Vlaardingen.

Jan says: “We went through all tickets in Topdesk for EDI Support, handling internal alerts, emails from external parties, internal users, etc. Even though they handled a big variety of support requests a lot more will probably come over time. Handling EDI/Integration support is an opportunity to look at many different solutions and set-ups, interacting with many different parties and learning more about all DFDS’ systems. The issues faced can be technical, operational, wrongly entered information, network problems, external parties having issues and much more.”

After their initial support weeks, the EDI/Integration support will be handled in rotation by:
Bent Christensen, Vlaardingen
Frans Faneker, Vlaardingen
Haluk Iltas, Istanbul
Yusuf Tezcan, Istanbul
Kemal Teke, Istanbul
Rajesh(waran) Kalaiselvan, Copenhagen
Mikael Lund, Copenhagen
Thor Fischer-Olsen, Copenhagen
Jan Kierstein (Hansen), Copenhagen
John Andersen, Copenhagen

Monthly EPR status: Project on track

The ERP (Enterprise Resource Planning) project is currently on track and going according to the plan.

Luisa Bæk Lund, IT Project Manager, says: “During the last couple of months, we have conducted more than 20 workshops as part of the design phase. Additionally, a revised roll-out plan has been approved by all finance managers and programme owner, Jesper Mikkelsen Heilbuth, VP. Lastly, a change management training and education tour has been planned with the first stop in Poznań this week.”

From today, each month a brief status on the ERP project will be shared on the ERP project page on the Bridge.
The status covers updates on:
– Overall project status and progress (by Luisa Bæk Lund, General Project Manager)
– Finance status (by Vinothkrishna Rangamani, Finance Project Manager)
– Infrastructure and Integration (by Sunil Behera, Technical Solution Architect)
– HR status (by Jørgen Svare, HR module Project Manager)
– Procurement module (by Mona Todnem, Procurement module Project Manager).

“The programme management team hopes this will create more transparency around the ERP project and sees this as a great way to share how much work and effort is being put in by track leads and project members,” says Luisa.

BU Med wins ‘The Coolest Agile Board’

Yesterday, on 24 October, BU Med was among the sponsors of the Agile Turkey Summit, the biggest Agile event in Turkey gathering Agile enthusiasts from all over the country. The Oxygen Team was among colleagues from BU Med that attended the summit where they won the award “The Coolest Agile Board”.

The team who develops mobile apps and systems attended the summit to share how they are being agile and brought their self-designed agile board to showcase. The board was so well received that it was awarded “The Coolest Agile Board” in the competition held by the Agile Turkey Committee on Twitter.

Hakan Adıgüzel, Scrum Master, says: “Our agile board keeps everything about a project visible to everyone. We already knew the value it brings to the team however it’s super cool that other Agile enthusiast acknowledges it as well.”

Volkan Biçer, Lead Developer, says: “Transparency is the most important thing in the team. The agile board is the biggest piece of this puzzle.”

Oxygen Team’s award winning agile board

Ayşe Bilgin, UX Designer, says: “The design tells much about DFDS’ transport operations. On the board; we start with a warehouse full of boxes called “PBI’s”. Then boxes are loaded into a truck and transported to a DFDS ship. The truck represents the TO DO part and the DFDS ship sailing to another port represents IN PROGRESS. In the final part, we see some trailers which are ready to pick up, and it is called DONE. We added some dinosaur skeleton and fossils at the bottom, just for fun. And there is also an undersea view to represent our curiosity, passion, and wonder to the work we do. Our board motivates us. We are very glad that it won the best agile board in 2019 in Turkey.”

Be aware of spoofing!

We all know about phishing, and we have probably received a few phishing emails ourselves, with a more or less professional appearance. Now IT is asking us to be aware of spoofing, as at least one employee has received an email that is apparently from Niels Smedegaard.

Gert Møller, CIO, says: “This sort of scam is quite normal, and goes under the name of “spoofing”, which is when a criminal pretends to be someone else. Now, this criminal hadn’t done his homework, but they will soon find out that they should have used Torben’s name instead.
There is nothing IT can do about this apart from blocking the email address. However, then they just change it, and on it goes. So we urge everyone to be very careful and not fall into the trap.”

This is an example of what a spoofing email can look like:


Good morning Geert, how are you?

I am currently finalizing a high priority transaction for the group, regarding a bid for the acquisition of a foreign corporation.

Baker and McKenzie lawyers offices in charge of this deal, just notified me now, not to process this case from the headquarters and to use a foreign subsidiary to avoid leaks and insiders trading.
I shall give you more details later about this.

Therefore, I did choose you to supervise this operation with my attorney Daniel Fesler (from Baker and McKenzie) and myself.
No one else except the three of us must be informed at this time.

As a first step Geert, as soon as you get this message, send me immediately the available today’s cash flow (bank statements) of our bank accounts in Belgium so that I can forward it to my attorney.
Also give me another phone number where you are comfortable to speak with him.

As soon as I receive both information, I will send you further instructions for the day.

Med venlig hilsen / Best regards,

Niels Smedegaard