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The Raben Group is in the midst of a company wide digital transformation, led by CIO Slawomir Pawlak wenty years measures as an infinitesimally small period of time in the history of mankind but when it comes to technology, the last two decades will go down as an era of extraordinary significance. Throughout this transformative journey from an analogue past to a digital now, Slawomir Pawlak – Chief Information Officer at the pan-European logistics giant Raben Group – has been in the eye of the storm, a first-hand witness to a rapid shift from one comfortable landscape to an inherently different other. Pawlak, who this year will reach his 20th anniversary as the Dutch firm’s technology leader, has embraced this monumental change with open arms and a sharp mind. This adaptability has rewarded him with the authority to steer digital transformation at a €1bn company, an ambition that would have seemed impossible in the days when ‘IT’ was placed firmly in the back office. “That's amazing perspective, isn't it? I've been here 20 years, in IT at Raben Group,” he recalls. “In 19 of those years I have been in


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the leading position and during

now, to the point where it is powering

that time I might have changed,


once or twice, all of our systems

Raben Group’s history stretches to long

in Raben Group to new systems

before Pawlak’s time at the company. A mar-

or new versions and new

ket leader in Europe for over 85 years, its


efficient and dependable service has

“As the technology has grown,

afforded it the reputation as one of the conti-

so has the company. Twenty

nent’s outstanding logistics and warehousing

years ago, we had roughly 500


people in in the group in two

Pawlak’s remit in 2018 is to lead technol-

countries. Right now, we have

ogy integration in every area of its

10,000 people in 12 countries.

established business; primarily flowing inno-

We had €50mn of revenues back

vative digital infrastructure through its

then and right now we have more

logistics and warehousing operations but

than €1bn. Through company

also exploring how technology can help

growth and technological

Raben Group face the widening range of

change, IT became more and

challenges presented to a multinational

more important to where we are

organisation in the 21st century. w w w. r a b e n - g r o u p . c o m

SLICK LOGISTICS With the deployment of over 8,000 modern means of transport to carry cargo across 12 countries from Italy to Lithuania, an optimised tracking function is of paramount importance to Raben Group. Pawlak has overseen the amalgam of technological solutions to meet that demand, creating a service that guarantees ‘mobility and visibility’ for its customers. Delivered in partnership with BlueJay Solutions, the business has adopted a single transport management system that connects its operations through one stream, giving it the required transparency. This information is shared to customers via its portal, launched under Pawlak’s stewardship in 2015 and powered by Mendix, a low-code platform which enables the simplified management and development of in-house applications. “The flow of information across Raben Group and between countries really is fast

“Twenty years ago, we had roughly 500 people in the group in two countries. Right now, we have 10,000 people in 12 countries” — Slawomir Pawlak Chief Information Officer

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Our traffic and logistics software help customers in over 120 countries around the world to optimise the movement of people and goods. Discover how we can help you build the present, to create a better future,

and very accurate,” explains Pawlak. “Using

Drivers input the information

BlueJay’s software, we're transferring infor-

on mobile terminals through a

mation about transporters’ cargo and

sophisticated application devel-

transporters’ documents really quickly. We

oped by TIS GmbH, the German

present that internally and externally on

telematics provider of logistics

MyRaben, where our customers can see sta-

software. Raben Group, which

tuses, can see documents, can see invoices

has also struck a deal with Pana-

in spite of the location of the cargo.

sonic for the supply of

“This is a really good solution with good

heavy-duty hardware suitable for

performance. Right now, we are migrating

use in transportation, sees thou-

this platform from one cloud to another and

sands of data touch points

on completion of this migration, there will be

across its fleet every day.

the option of automatic scalability of the

This presents a challenge for

infrastructure. This gives me the option to

Pawlak which is a very familiar

grow to offer more services on this platform.”

one for CIOs today – how do you

Slawomir Pawlak - CIO w w w. r a b e n - g r o u p . c o m

“A day might not seem like a long time, but if a product only has a shelf life of seven to ten days, then it’s a significant percentage, so the system and delivery have to be 100% right” — Slawomir Pawlak Chief Information Officer


Order management for the 4.0 World



n r ee ide p s b rov ou rs ha p Gr yea S cs n TI ati abe n 10 lem R a te the e th of mor r fo

All from one source

make first make sense of that data, then how do you turn it into action points that will make a difference? “We are collecting a lot of information from the truck,” he says. “We also have onboard computers that are providing a lot of information about the engine, about the brakes, about the oil and about the pressure. On top of that, you can see how the driver steers the wheel and how they use the brakes. “Data comes from many devices and many applications. At this moment, we are collect-

Video: Raben Group Company overview

ing some of it, but not all of it, in our data warehouse. One key improvement that in front of us is using that data to power predictive analytics. w w w. r a b e n - g r o u p . c o m

“We're building some profiles already; the

and outside of Europe. That is

behaviour of customers, the risk of traffic

certainly one of our strengths.

jams or changing the routes of the trucks, all

“We would also consider food

based on historical data. But this is still only

to be a real specialism of ours,

a pilot. Based on information we're already

which is really strictly controlled.

collecting we can build more and more effec-

We have a company called Fresh

tive way of making deliveries and we have

Logistics that is dedicated to the

made investment in this area, but we’re

food logistics, so that’s the sup-

probably still one or two years away.”

ply chain, temperature control, storage, etc. We have to be really


efficient because a lot of food

Raben Group boasts more than 1,150,000

has quite a short product life. A

m2 of diversified warehousing space, which

day might not seem like a long

are adjusted to suit specific requirements.

time, but if a product only has a

Some 83 of its warehouses are designed for

shelf life of seven to 10 days,

food and non-food products, ADR goods,

then it’s a significant percentage,

goods from the automotive sector, electron-

so the system and delivery have

ics (white goods) and oils. The company has

to be 100% right.”

stated that long-term, the objective is to

In the short-term, Pawlak says

implement the RedPrairie software (a JDA

the business and, indeed, the

product) at all its locations

industry faces two-real chal-

On the organisation’s warehousing opera-

lenges – the ongoing effort to

tions, Pawlak says: “Flexibility is hugely

recruit the right talent and adher-

important; we have to be able to control our

ing to new legislation. But with a

warehouses and be able to accommodate a

richly experienced team backed

wide variety of goods. So, for example, we

by a $1bn organisation, Raben

take big consignments of motorbikes from

Group is in a great

BMW in Berlin directly into our warehouses

position to continue to thrive in

and distribute them to customers both inside

the logistics space.

Video: Raben Group On the Way

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Raben Group - Brochure 2018  
Raben Group - Brochure 2018