Lean Logistics customer- and team-oriented – contract logistics honored at DB Schenker in Rodgau

Originally from the automotive industry, the principles of lean management have long been adopted by other industries and sectors. In recent years increasingly also known as “lean logistics”, with contract logistics companies leading the way. This is also the case at DB Schenker. At the end of 2016, the XSITE initiative introduced a leadership and organizational concept that, in the spirit of lean management, aims to avoid any form of waste while striving for the best possible quality.

Automotive: It depends on the processes | logistik aktuell

Interview with Detlef Kurzbuch about automotive logistics at DB Schenker and the newly built logistics center at duisport.


The logistics center in Rodgau near Frankfurt is one of the first two out of 750 DB Schenker locations worldwide to achieve silver status as part of this initiative. On its path to success, the team in Rodgau was able to gather numerous insights and experiences, which serve as a guide for the implementation of lean logistics programs. Central aspects are:  first, the consistent customer orientation in the definition of goals, and second the team spirit during implementation.

Added value for the customer ensures success

The logistics center in Rodgau, which was awarded XSITE Silver in December 2018, is a so-called dedicated warehouse for a major customer in the electrical industry. It offers 18,000 square meters of storage space and around 220 employees.

Site manager Ralf Schröder explains that the ideas of lean logistics have been essential to customer relations long before the introduction of XSITE: “Our customer defined and evaluated demands for continuous improvement of quality and efficiency of our logistics services early in the form of his own lean elements. We integrated these into the definition of our lean journey within the framework of XSITE. This puts us in an active and creative position. And, for example, we were able to present our success to the customer in a comprehensible way in regards to process optimization. Lean management is not just an instrument for controlling processes. It is also an objective basis for communication with the customer. “

A consistent focus on the customer is formulated as part of XSITE’s global objective: “To add value for our customers and to ensure the success of DB Schenker.” DB Schenker’s strategic focus is on creating lean processes and avoiding waste of any kind. This is achieved with typical lean principles such as continuous flow, demand-driven production, balance of workload and capacity, and the ambition to perfection. The basis is the commitment to health and high safety standards.

XSITE is organized by Schenker internally in a rigorous auditing process. The initiative has four classifications: In Development, Bronze, Silver and Gold. For classification purposes, the maturity level of the participating logistics locations is checked by an international audit team in the following categories

  • Health and safety management
  • Employees and leadership
  • Process optimization and performance management
  • DB Schenker’s success
  • Customer orientation, customer benefit

To achieve a classification, it is necessary to meet all standards in all categories.

Team Rodgau mit dem internationalen Audit-Team © DB Schenker

Team Rodgau with the international audit team © DB Schenker

Ein schlank agierendes Warehouse: DB Schenker Logistikzentrum Rodgau © DB Schenker

A lean warehouse: DB Schenker logistics center Rodgau © DB Schenker

Rodgau arbeitet mt interaktiven Tools zur Visualisierung von Informationen und KPIs © DB Schenker

Rodgau works with interactive tools to visualize information and KPIs © DB Schenker

    Get the team on board – shared success on the lean journey

    In fact, only two locations worldwide, Teresin in Poland and Rodgau near Frankfurt a.M., have achieved silver status. The classification Gold is not yet awarded. The greater the joy and pride of the management and the team in Rodgau!

    Tim Withrington, DB Schenker’s Vice President of Global Operations Excellence & Implementations, Global Contract Logistics, highlights some of the accomplishments that have led to the successful classification: “The site has remarkably good OSH awareness. Health Days are regularly held. Gemba-Walks are part of the day-to-day life of executives, including the use of an app to instantly capture “unsafe situations” during the tours. Rodgau used a great tool to monitor and manage Katas’ improvement and coaching. The customer satisfaction is exceptionally high. Thus, the location was last awarded an award by the customer, for the elimination of wrong deliveries. In the process, the site is achieving systematic business growth and was able to record an order increase of approximately 30% within one year. “

    “Excellent Lean logistics. Logistics center Rodgau gains silver status in the @DBSchenker #LeanManagement Initiative XSITE.“

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    On the way to this outstanding development, the location was accompanied by both the Rhein-Main / Frankfurt office and DB Schenker’s national and international operational excellence teams. Site manager Ralf Schröder sees the basis for this success in a strong joint effort of the team in Rodgau. Accordingly, he emphasizes the importance of motivation and the consistent involvement of all employees in lean initiatives: “Many lean measures fail because after a successful phase of the analysis the obstacles to the lean thinking and learning enterprise are not overcome. In order to avoid this blocks, all those involved must really understand the goals of the lean Initiative and adopt them sustainably. We have taken this to heart right from the start. We discovered potential for improvement and communicated openly. We communicated to the whole team what our customer needs. We succeeded in shaking the team up. And that’s exactly what customers and business partners feel today. No matter who you approach, people know what matters to us and our customer, and what we need to do to achieve that. “