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After more than 175,320 hours, the anniversary is here

When it was introduced, DB Cargo's Customer Service was a one-of-a-kind innovation in Europe and an early pioneer of Digitalisation 2.0.

Customer Service is now celebrating its 20th anniversary. Its employees can look back on an impressive track record, and there is an exciting future in store, too. The Customer Service unit in Duisburg is available to help business partners 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. That adds up to 8,760 hours a year (8,784 hours in leap years), meaning the unit has logged upwards of 175,320 service hours over the past two decades.

DB Cargo went digital for its customers in July 1998, providing them for the first time with a one-stop electronic service — from dispatching to transport monitoring and billing. Processes that are now commonplace, such as order to cash or order-driven production, were brand new at the time. Today, DB Cargo is equipping its freight wagons with GPS and other sensors, spurring the further digitalization of its in-house business.

A total of roughly 1,100 employees work at the Duisburg site for the "KSZ", as the Customer Service unit is referred to internally. This city was deliberately chosen in the 1990s for its proximity to heavy industry customers in the Ruhr District. "That dovetailed perfectly with Duisburg's logistics plan to provide future opportunities and new hope

in response to structural change", said Duisburg's Mayor, Sören Link, at the anniversary celebration.

Close to customers

So far, Customer Service has served as a central interface between customers, Sales and Production — that is, the transshipment of goods and national and international transport services. It thus comes as no surprise that Duisburg offers some 20 vacancies every year to those wishing to receive vocational training in freight forwarding and logistics services.

Helmut Pohl, the chair of the works council for Customer Service, has worked at Duisburg right from the beginning. At the anniversary, he recalled the constant changes put in place over the last 20 years. "We always overcame the challenges," said Pohl. Manager Iris Hilb also stressed the significant role employees have to play in customer support. As she put it, they are the driving force behind the success Customer Service has enjoyed to date.

Roland Bosch, CEO of DB Cargo, thanked the employees and invited them to play a driving role in Digitalization 4.0 just as they had with Digitalization 2.0 at the inception of Customer Service. This approach will allow DB Cargo to leverage this market opportunity and become a digital pioneer once again, said Bosch, adding, "The journey continues."