Automation Success Story from Deutsche Post DHL Group’s Shared Services Hub

Cardboard boxes on a conveyor line in distribution warehouse

Every global enterprise right now is focused on efficiency, agility and process optimization in response to the pandemic and associated market disruption. Those with shared service centers are best placed to scale these efforts for maximum impact across the organization. As a result, the challenge and opportunity for shared services leaders is bigger than ever. 

This article provides an overview of a recent success story from the shared services hub at Deutsche Post DHL Group (DP DHL Group), a German multinational package delivery and supply chain management firm, the world’s largest courier company.

The Global Business Services Group at DP DHL Group is dedicated to optimizing the organization’s corporate services. One of its key divisions is Digitalization@GBS, which is focused on optimizing the customer experience by harmonizing and automating business processes. 

The Digitalization@GBS team use a broad technology stack, including BPM, RPA and OCR to optimize operations across various services lines of DPDHL Group, including Finance, HR, Corporate Real Estate and Procurement.

Recently, Stefan Wenzel, Head of ERP Platform Design and Digitalization, joined Bizagi in a webinar to discuss best practices and success factors on process orchestration and automation. The webinar was held in German, so we have summarized the highlights below for our non-German speaking audience. 


From business process optimization to a digital solution

“What is very important to us, is that this program Digitalization@GBS is not an IT program, it is a digitization program, which means we focus on business processes,” explained Wenzel. 

“We look at a business process… prepare it end-to-end, and then optimize it. Today we have a large number of incoming invoice processes that actually all do the same thing, but due to different systems and different business areas, what we try to do is to really harmonize and bring them together using BPM, i.e. the Business Process Management layer.”

By uniting processes through BPM, the team has created a methodology that allows all business users to share their knowledge and work towards a single digital solution. This serves as a foundation for automation, with knowledge and best practices captured in their shared services center.

“We now have transactional activities and rule-based activities in a shared service center environment that have been automated to a very high degree. We can transfer the know-how into the technology, so to speak, and that was a driver for why we said: ‘If we do this, then we will do it right’ and then started evaluating all of our processes automation potential,” said Wenzel.

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Looking beyond task automation to focus on end-to-end processes

One of the key success factors within the Digitialization@GBS team was to look at business processes end-to-end to seek out automation potential. “We have now implemented over 200 initiatives and it is very important to us. These are all end-to-end processes, we don’t look at things as individual activities or try to automate individual tasks, but we try to look at a business process end-to-end to set up and implement these in the best possible way to maximize efficiency,” said Wenzel.

But the question for many people at the start of their automation project is where to being? Wenzel and his team scored their processes to establish which areas had the most potential. “You should analyze your processes accordingly and then list them in descending order according to the score,” advised Wenzel. 

“Typically begin with the low hanging fruits: little complexity, high potential, but potential in the form of FTE savings, not necessarily the percentage automation potential at this point. For example, if I have a very small process, with 0.1 FTE invest, it does not matter to say the least whether it is 70% or has 90% automation potential. We have prioritized our initiatives [at DP DHL] accordingly.”

One of the first processes that they automated was the Duty VAT Billing process, which was an almost entirely manual, high volume process, handling over 2,500 shipments a day in Switzerland alone. Bizagi acted as the process automation orchestrator to connect technologies including UiPath RPA, ABBYY Flexicapture and the Oracle finance system to provide end-to-end automation. Bizagi helped to achieve a 95% automation rate by eliminating manual tasks and providing end-to-end orchestration of technologies within the process. 


The power of a low-code approach to empower business users

The Digitalization@GBS team have taken advantage of Bizagi’s low-code features to help them accelerate their automation project. Low-code allows non-technical business users to get hands-on automation project by utilizing visual tools that do not require an in-depth knowledge of coding.

However, as with many projects, there were still some elements that were more complex. “It’s not all low-code at the end of the day, sometimes you have to code, of course, and program certain rules if it really goes deeper and becomes complex,” said Wenzel.

“Bizagi allows us to implement more complex processes, interpreting really complex data input structures for users, but with a low-code approach… What’s important to us is that we enable our process analysts to work at a very high level, especially in the area of workflow implementation. They can simply be faster with very little technology expertise.”

The visual user interface of Bizagi Modeler with its drag and drop features made process modeling and optimization accessible to a wide number of employees in the GBS team. “It’s super charming that Bizagi Modeler is free of charge so in large group like ours, we always make it accessible.”


Delivering enterprise transformation at scale

Bizagi is now being used globally across the DP DHL Group enterprise, with the solution deployed in 17 languages to orchestrate systems, optimize operations and provide complete visibility. Over 24 processes are now running on the platform, including processes to support HR and real estate departments. Bizagi has become a vital component in the DP DHL technology stack, with over two million end-to-end cases per year now processed through the platform.

Additionally, Bizagi has been used to create a Vendor Master Data Management Portal, a key element in the Procurement process. The portal is being used by 280,000 employees, with Bizagi Sites providing the direct login point. Bizagi has automated tasks in the process such as initiating cases, submitting forms, requesting approvals and duplicating data in the ePurchasing solution.

If you would like to find out more about how the Digitalization@GBS team at DP DHL Group are using Bizgai, you can read the case study, detailing the team’s solution and results. 
You can watch the Wenzel explain more about his teams digitalization strategy and how they use Bizagi in the full webinar in German on-demand now. 

DHL webinar screengrab.PNG


* The quotes from Stefan Wenzel have been translated from German so are not strictly verbatim