Green Cargo: Extensive improvement of business operating model
“We had a need to find experienced people that were good at analyzing our processes and at the same time good at understanding and leading people. They also needed to have a strong previous track record and ability to travel. Reach understands this type of profile, since they come from a similar background and could quickly understand our needs. The combination of strong consultants and vital network made them the perfect partner for us”
Markus Gardbring, COO Green Cargo.
Green Cargo is Scandinavia's leading provider of railway-based goods transportation. Each year Green Cargo transports a volume of 22 million tons of cargo throughout their network.
When Green Cargo decided to embark on a major change journey, Reach was chosen as their partner to design the new operating model and to get the program on track to success. Remarkable results have been achieved by getting the right skills in place and by supporting Green Cargo to drive the change through their own organization.
In 2018, Green Cargo reviewed their strategy and the message was clear: large parts of the current business, including operations & sales was in need of change, mainly driven by an aging fleet and need for better processes and performance. Markus Gardbring, Chief Operating Officer at Green Cargo, realized that the key to success was to find the right skills to support the change. He decided to turn to Reach for support.
”We created an internal concept called ‘The change journey’ and to be successful we needed to add the right type of skills to our team. Reach supported us both as a consulting partner to help us get started and with recruiting the right people to increase our own ability to lead the change”, says Markus Gardbring.
The program started with a comprehensive analysis of the current state to validate and detail the plan forward. The result helped prioritize and create a structured implementation plan. By closely collaborating with each part of the business, a common understanding of the challenges was established and a clear ownership of the change was created throughout the organization. During this phase, Reach supported both with establishing an internal change organization as well as recruiting the right type of change leaders to Green Cargo. From the start of the cooperation, there was a strong emphasis on building Green Cargo’s ability to drive the future change in a sustainable way. Apart from recruiting change leaders, training and coaching the organization was a vital part in the support that Reach delivered. In parallel, a governance model including a program office and a steering committee was established to make sure the program was efficiently managed.
“It is easy to over-simplify and underinvest in competence when faced with a complex change process. It was very valuable to have a partner like Reach who has deep experience from driving successful change. They knew that the process would not work if we didn’t have a critical mass of competent resources in place and were very good at getting the message through to us”, says Markus Gardbring. The change journey included mapping and evaluating operations, identify gaps and opportunities, develop solutions and implement improvements to achieve better safety, efficiency and timeliness. When the design was agreed, consultants from Reach supported the change leaders and organization within Green Cargo to reach clear and measurable results.
An important part of the plan was that Green Cargo gradually would take over the full responsibility to drive the program and achieve results.
“The support from Reach was crucial for the change journey to be successful”, says Markus Gardbring. But it was not just the methodology, experience and ability for the Reach consultants to quickly understand Green Cargo’s challenges that was vital for the success. Reach’s strong network and ability to find and recruit strong change leaders was another decisive factor in the program’s success. “We had a need to find experienced people that were good at analyzing our processes and at the same time good at understanding and leading people. They also needed to have a strong previous track record and ability to travel. Reach understands this type of profile, since they come from a similar background and could quickly understand our needs. The combination of strong consultants and vital network made them the perfect partner for us”, says Markus Gardbring.
Reach’s focus on operations and change management is something that Markus Gardbring is very appreciative of. “It is a clear advantage that they are experts within their field and the recruitments that they have done has been great. I would gladly recommend them to everyone who needs support with recruiting skilled people within operations. They are extremely good, period.” In order to spread the necessary skills and create a focus on improvements within Green Cargo, there has been a clear target to rotate talents between the change organization and leading line management roles. Today, several of the people that were hired as change leaders to improve the company have taken on line management roles to further improve Green Cargo’s performance.
”The work we have done so far have created very strong results, and with the help from Reach we have created the best possible conditions for making continuous and sustainable improvements. Now we are continuing the journey with our own organization in the driver’s seat going forward”