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.

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

One DFDS: Major project to integrate BU Med in Phoenix

At the planning workshop, this strong team got together to ensure the efficient and very important integration of BU Med into Phoenix, aligning processes with the rest of DFDS (From the left): Anna Åkesson, Alex Shaw, Aslihan Tur, Recep Bostan, Jette Lundquist, Jan Berslen Devrim, Michael Herbæk, Gert Møller, Attila Gulyas and Sean Potter. Missing from the photo but in attendance: Cenk Altun and Selcuk Boztepe)


It was an exciting, major development when UN Ro-Ro (now BU Med) became part of DFDS in April 2018. Since then, many colleagues have worked hard to integrate BU Med with DFDS. With Peder Gellert at the head of the table, managers and teams from BU Med, Technical Organisation, IT, Digital, procurement, sales and HR have all been busy with this.

However, dare we say that no integration work is as complex and demanding as integrating the Phoenix operational booking system and associated systems. Associated systems include EDI, which directly links authorities and financial institutions with DFDS, and Future Freight (My Freight), which is the digital solution for our customers.

No surprise, therefore, that we are talking about heavy workloads and complex tasks, keeping DIO and IT officer Sean Potter’s team in the ferry division more than busy, along with teams in IT, Digital Marketing, Business Intelligence and other departments.

Many people are putting a lot of hours and energy in this, and for a very good reason. “It is extremely important in our work that we become one DFDS. As we start using DFDS’ systems, our reporting and operational processes will synchronise, and our colleagues in the field will start using the same language, same methods and same reports as the rest of DFDS,” says Selcuk Boztepe, Head of BU Med.

Meeting about gaps and timeline

The work took a leap forward recently when the various teams met in Istanbul to discuss the findings from a gap analysis between DFDS systems and those of BU Med, which Michael Herbæk and his IT team had carried out.

“It was a very productive workshop, as was a subsequent meeting with the wider project members, and I would like to thank the teams involved for their great contribution. First of all, I welcome working with Selcuk and his BU Med team across the different locations. They are very committed to the task and very helpful. My thanks also go Michael Herbæk and his team for the excellent gap analysis overview, and to IT & Digital which ensures we meet expectations and deliver the required systems and processes in a timely and efficient manner,” says Sean Potter, Head of the Ferry Division’s DIO and IT team.

The Phoenix integration, the process and system developments will be carried out at these locations and on these routes one after the other:

1: Mersin – Trieste
2: Yalova – Trieste, Patras, Bari
3: Pendik – Toulon
4: Pendik / Ambarli – Trieste, Patras, Bari

Big team

“It takes quite powerful teamwork to ensure that BU Med is fully integrated into DFDS, so that operations, processes, sales, services, reporting, branding and management can be synchronised with the rest of DFDS,” says Sean Potter, who invited the following managers to represent their areas:

Operational Process Mapping                                                                                        Attila Gulyas
Gap Analysis between Current Systems and DFDS Systems                                        Michael Herbæk
Go to Market Strategy                                                                                               Jette Lundquist
Technical developments, Phoenix, EDI, Future Freight (My Freight) requirements                 Alex Shaw
Preparation of Phoenix for Roll-Out across network                                                Jan Berslen Devrim
Training of Users and Change Management                                                                       Dan Capes
Business Intelligence, Legal and Compliance

The Integration Sponsor Team from BU Med, the Ferry DIO Office and IT & Digital also participated, together with several work stream leads.

The DIO Office has various significant Divisional projects on-going in 2019, BU Med being one of these.

Phoenix superuser conference on board Crown Seaways

25 superusers of Phoenix met on board Crown Seaways for a two-day conference with members of the Phoenix fulfilment team and Product Owner Ian Cowie.

Recently, 25 superusers of Phoenix (the core IT system for the freight business) met on board Crown Seaways for a two-day conference with members of the Phoenix fulfilment team and Product Owner Ian Cowie.

Sam Kinnaird, IT consultant for Phoenix, says: “While enjoying the sights of the Norwegian fjords and the Copenhagen – Oslo route from the comfort of the conference room, we had useful discussions about how the UAT (user acceptance testing) process can be simplified to pave the way for quicker releases. We also discussed support and shared knowledge about various Phoenix-related matters.”

Superusers from almost all of the DFDS port locations were given a walk-through of the Phoenix roadmap and could ask questions and share ideas for improvement. There was also a presentation from Marta Grytka, Business Intelligence consultant, about how Tableau is being rolled out across DFDS, and how using smart data is improving decision-making in both operations and IT.

Ian Cowie says: “Initiating and maintaining a happy superuser community is a pivotal factor in everything we do within our development and release cycle of Phoenix. I would like to thank all the Phoenix fulfilment management team for their efforts in making the event successful and to all superusers who took time from busy operational areas to fully engage in the conference. I hope the conference can become an annual event to ensure best practice is continued in the future.”

Superusers from almost all of the DFDS port locations were given a walk-through of the Phoenix roadmap and could ask questions and share ideas for improvement. 

Phoenix unit types are being standardised

The unit type simplification project, which is a part of the Pricing and Yield initiative, has now reached a milestone, and implementation of the updated unit types will begin on 1 January 2019.

“The purpose of unit type simplification is to simplify and standardise the unit types in Phoenix. Having a standardised approach and exactly the number of unit types needed benefits not only DFDS but also our customers, who will experience an increased transparency. Additionally, the simplification also clears the way for making our decisions more data driven, and it eases the ongoing digitisation,” says Michael Sandberg, Pricing & Yield Officer.

The project is managed by Nina Roepstorff, Junior Project Manager, who has had invaluable help from a group of representatives across DFDS.

“Our objective was to use the same terminology across all routes, hide duplicates and unit types that were not used anymore and re-categorise and merge certain unit types. We have now managed to reduce the number of unit types from 316 to, at the moment, 98,” Nina says.

“It would not have been possible without the hard work and commitment of Ian Cowie (PHX), Nick Forsyth (Equipment), Jenny Tilldal (Customer Service and Operations), Attila Gulyas (Business Process Development), Thomas Ipsen (Sales), Michael Johansen (EDI), Robin Sedgwick and Gary Whitling (Channel), Marta Grytka (BI), Jack Hodgson (Logistics) and Sean Potter (DIO). We have also been in continuous contact with GTMS representative Matthew Penistone. Michael and I sincerely wish to thank all of you.”

The Channel is kept out of this first phase, but Nina and the team will start looking into getting the Channel integrated in the simplification process during the first quarter of 2019.

Please contact Nina Roepstorff if you have any questions about unit type simplification.

Phoenix development team seeks best practice in Poznan

Recently, members of the Phoenix development team, which is responsible for the core IT system of the freight business, spent two productive days in the Poznan finance centre, encouraging a greater partnership between the Phoenix developers and end users in Poznan. The visit was organised by Alec Skat Larsen from the Finance department, and the members of the Phoenix team comprised Developer John Smith, System Analysts Sara Rydén and Sam Kinnaird, and Phoenix Product Owner Ian Cowie.

Alec says: “The Phoenix team spent a lot of time achieving a greater understanding of how the systems are being used by colleagues in Finance and Master Data. Discussing and sharing information about finer points, current constraints and development requests for the future helped both sides to identify how to improve and communicate. The two days resulted in deeper and clearer understanding and respect for our colleagues in both the Phoenix and Poznan teams.”

Phoenix Product Owner Ian Cowie says: “A huge thank you from the Phoenix team for the invitation to visit Poznan. It was hugely beneficial to meet our colleagues and business reps from Finance, learning from their tasks and hearing development suggestions for Phoenix that could have an impact on how the system could simplify daily practices.”

A big thank you is extended to Alec Skat Larsen, Anna Bergman, Daria Borucka, Beata Galuba, Karolina Kropidlowska, Miguel Armenta Villavicencio, Aleksandra Kowalewska, Gabriel Baradat-Darre, Michal Ratajczyk and Jadwiga Sułek for facilitating the visit.

My DFDS Freight teams create synergies in Immingham

Even though the B2B Digital team and the Phoenix team in Immingham are based far from each other on either side of the North Sea, the two teams have been working closely together for quite a while. Earlier this year, they finally met in face to face when the B2B Digital team visited Immingham for four days.

The B2B Digital team mainly develops and maintains our two freight booking systems, My DFDS Logistics and My DFDS Freight. Together with the Phoenix team in Immingham, which is responsible for the core IT system of the freight business, the B2B Digital team makes sure that My DFDS Freight performs in the most optimal manner. The Phoenix team manages the back end (databases and servers), while B2B Digital manages the front end (user interface and user experience).

Throughout the four days, the teams established a long-term working plan for the back end and front end, and they also identified challenges of cross-country collaboration and action points to improve future work.

Getting customers on board for digitization

During the visit one of the main focuses to discuss and expand upon was the three objectives laid down by Sean Potter, Divisional Head of Digital & Systems.

“We plan to finalise the transfer of all remaining customers still using the Phoenix Customer Web & InfoBridge to My DFDS Freight by the end of October and early November, whilst implementing additional feature requests that have come additionally from business over the past months.

Furthermore, we seek to reduce the manual bookings on all routes. We plan to achieve this by targeting all small and medium-sized customers across each route and get them to use the online booking solution. Currently 79% of our bookings are digital (incl EDI), and our objective is to reach 85%. The remaining 15% consist of small and medium-sized customers who email etc,” says Sean.

“Finally, we plan to optimise the access management, specifically by improving brand preference and engagement with a consistent way of identifying the connected users,” Sean adds.

“Meeting our colleagues in Immingham and comparing expectations for the future of My DFDS Freight was excellent. We had four informative, interesting and busy days in Immingham with a tour of the terminal and the customer service centre as well as kick-off meetings with the Phoenix team. I am confident that the visit will open up for an even better cross-border collaboration and impact positively on the customer experience on the My DFDS Freight system. Our aim is to visit our colleagues in UK with a higher frequency, so we can follow up on action points and strengthen our collaboration going forward” says Laus Ravnsted, Scrum Master.

Phoenix Build Team visits Gothenburg

Knowing the business is one of the core components of any successful build team. And therefore, the Phoenix Build Team recently headed to Gothenburg to learn how the end-users use and have evolved Phoenix to fit the terminal’s needs.

The team had a tour of all business areas of Gothenburg. “We expect that this tour and the knowledge we gain will help us make Phoenix much more efficient and easier to use,” says John Smith, Phoenix developer.

“I wanted to get a deeper understanding of how Phoenix is used in conjunction with other systems, especially in terms of operations, and to understand the differences between each of the ports,” says David Whitehand, also developer of the Phoenix team.

The team also visited warehouses at the port and saw how the cassettes are taken from the ship to shed and then back onto the ship to be reused.

“Learning about how warehouses have to deal with the endless amount of cargo that gets shipped to Gothenburg was very interesting. And we ended the visit with a trip onto the bridge of Petunia Seaways where we met with Captain Anders Hall, which was also a great experience,” adds David.

“We would like to thank all the staff in Gothenburg including terminal, warehouse and Petunia Seaways, for making this rewarding trip a possibility. Being able to put yourself in the users’ shoes more accurately can only lead to better design decisions and help you provide a better experience for the users”, says Scott Smith, Phoenix developer.


Phoenix Build Team in Gothenburg

Phoenix Build Team in Gothenburg

Improving Phoenix: Development team gathers knowledge at BU Channel

When the Phoenix development team visited the Channel, they looked into all relevant aspects of the business, including getting a perfect view of the port’s layout and traffic flows from the top of the White Cliffs of Dover.

Greg McDonald and Sam Kinnaird, analyst from DFDS Phoenix development team based in Grimsby, and Phoenix product owner Tazz Shaw visited Dover, Calais and Dunkirk to gather knowledge about operations and the way the system is used.

Over four days, they learned about all relevant aspects of the operations. They sailed with the ships across the Channel, learned about port layout and operations, spent time in the freight and passenger offices and saw how boarding cards are processed and voyages are tallied in check-in booths. They also spent time with the loadmaster, and watched a full unloading and loading of a Dunkirk ship, seeing how the logistical challenges of filling the vessel from different parts of the port were overcome.

Following a visit to the terminal control and Dover’s White Cliffs for a bird’s eye view of the port’s layout and vehicle flows, they saw how bookings staff in Whitfield use the system, and discussed how the system could be tweaked to make processes more efficient.

“A big thank you to Monica Copley, Gary Whitling, Jesper Christensen, Cheryl Hawes and Hayley Hollett in Dover, and Hélène Hivart and Sebastien Douvry in France, for helping us gather valuable information, which we can use to make Phoenix even more efficient,” says Sam Kinnaird.

The time-lapse video of Dover port operations shows the flows of traffic in the busy port. Thanks to Tazz Shaw, Phoenix product owner.

FerryGateway bridge​d gap between systems in Dieppe 

On 29 January, Peter Hoogendoorn, Senior Project Manager,  and his project team replaced the WebRes booking system with Phoenix and Seabook for the Dieppe – Newhaven route, and it all worked well for that day’s 18:00 departure.

However, there were also new challenges. A large community of second-home owners live in the UK but spend substantial parts of their summers in their French holiday homes, and they typically book far in advance. This means that over 5,000 bookings in the WebRes booking system needed to be re-booked in SeaBook

The difference between the two systems meant that re-booking from WebRes in SeaBook was more complex than expected and would require a lot of time from the team in Dieppe as well as support from their colleagues in Newcastle. Fortunately, technology came to the rescue. The solution was to use the FerryGateway technology that allows external websites to make passenger bookings with DFDS.

Xavier Kemp, Head of Solutions & Technology, and colleagues in IT decided to export all of the bookings from WebRes into an Excel file and then write a small piece of software that would export all of these bookings to FerryGateway so that they could be created in SeaBook.

This solution transferred 5,112 bookings to SeaBook and saved at least 100 man-days of work. “In the past we have tried migrating bookings from one system to another, and it has always created problems. But this new and very reliable way to create bookings in SeaBook using FerryGateway opens up new opportunities, and we hope to be able to apply the same principles to automating some parts of our international markets processes,” says Declan Walsh, Business Development & Strategy Director. He is also Digital & IT Officer.

“This solution was suggested by Thor-Einar Burchard, Systems Developer, and he deserves enormous credit for coming up with the idea,” says Declan Walsh.

Thor-Einar was presented with a special thank you from the Passenger business in recognition of his contribution to solving the problem.


Phoenix & Seabook go live on Dieppe – Newhaven

Monday 29 January was an important day for the Dieppe – Newhaven route, as the booking system WebRes was replaced by Phoenix and Seabook. All resources were utilised in preparing the final items to ensure a smooth first departure at 18:00 from Dieppe.

Freight check-in opened at 10:00 without any unforeseen issues and the first number of scheduled departures in Seabook were reviewed a long with all of the associated bookings to ensure a smooth check-in process for our passengers leaving nothing to chance. The check-in for Seabook commenced around 15:30

“I am really proud of everyone involved with this implementation. Apart from a few obstacles, everything went really well. Issues included boarding card printers at car check-in, which simply related to a hole in the desk being too small to feed boarding cards. The foot-passenger check-in exposed a bug, for which Seabook developers promptly provided a workaround. We can only thank ourselves and the marvellous collaboration across offices, ships and terminals,” says Peter Hoogendoorn, Senior Project Manager in BU Group Passenger.

“In spite of a very good start, it soon transpired that there are issues with back-office processes from a Seabook point of view. This is receiving the utmost attention by the business and Seabook finance team,” Peter adds.

“We see good morale from all our colleagues on board and on land, the business and onsite support. All teams are working well together and they’re showing a very positive team spirit. A big thank you to all colleagues for their tremendous efforts and team spirit in making this happen. You should all be very proud of this impressive achievement,” says Jean-Claude Charlo, Managing Director in BU France & Med.






Phoenix and Seabook ready for Dieppe – Newhaven

Implementing a new booking system is a huge operation. And next week, our colleagues on Dieppe – Newhaven will take a major step, when they replace the current freight and passenger booking system WebRes with Seabook and Phoenix at the same time. WebRes is closing down on 11 February and to ensure continued operation of the route, our colleagues have had just over four months to prepare, configure and replace the system.

“We kicked off the project in mid-September by investigating if Phoenix and Seabook would support the existing processes – and we believed we would not encounter any insurmountable issues. During configuration, we found that Phoenix was (short of a few minor changes) fit for purpose but unfortunately had to conclude that implementing Seabook required a different approach as we are dealing with a different legal entity which is operated by DFDS and therefore not a standard set-up as we know on all other routes,” says Peter Hoogendoorm, Senior Project Manager in BU Group Passenger.

Project team members, who clearly understood what needed to be done, delivered a tremendous effort – even between Christmas and New Year, to respect the hard project time-line limitation. “It is quite impressive to see how the different teams in all locations have been able to plan, work together and re-plan in such a short timeframe and get us to where we are today in preparation for the roll-out next week. Thank you to everyone for the tremendous efforts and hard work so far,” says Jean-Claude Charlo, Managing Director in France.

The go-live date is 29 January, and the current work is to ensure that all future users are prepared for the change. “Luckily, we have some highly dedicated staff performing the training in Phoenix and Seabook,” Peter adds.

The first departure in Phoenix and Seabook will be 29 January at 18:00 from Dieppe.

We will of course keep you updated next week.

New office in Grimsby

The logistics department in Immingham now has more space at Norfolk House since the relocation of the IT development department to new offices at a more central location in town.

Until very recently part of the IT development and implementation teams were based in Norfolk House at the Immingham terminal, which is primarily a Logistics hub. Due to continued growth in Due to continued growth in both departments, Norfolk House is no longer big enough for them both, and so the development department has moved into new offices in Immingham.

“We wanted the IT teams under one roof, but this was not possible in Norfolk House. So now we have found some great office space that will give us more opportunities. The new space suits ouneeds and will enable us to build valuable IT solutions,” says Bo Kristensen, General Manager, Group IT.