In two years, Svenska Retursystem has transformed its business, from an implementation organization, where the objective has been to affiliate as many customers as possible to its system, to becoming business driving for the customers as well as the company itself. Several important components have been required to conduct this change journey, but the entire transformation has been characterized by a change of focus, from an inside-out perspective, to a continuous customer dialogue and a desire to solve the customers’ problems.
SRS, led by Anna, had put in many new people in the management team. To ensure that all the coworkers would embark on the upcoming change journey, the leadership was decentralized. Concurrently, cooperation within and between the different functions increased. SRS communicated clear targets and objectives for the entire company to ensure that the entire organization was pulling in the same direction.
Anchor helped SRS initially by taking on the CIO role and ensuring that IT could support the business to develop in the direction the new management desired. To become business oriented, IT needed to talk to customers to understand the issues and problems of the customers. In addition, it was essential that IT enabled development for the various functions within SRS.
The dialogue with customers increased, and customer reference groups were created, so that SRS could understand which problems the customers experienced. Thoughts around managing the customers’ own transport packaging, such as rolling cages and wooden pallets, had been discussed, but now, these discussions became tangible and resulted in a project on so called Smart Pooling, a system not only managing SRS’s returnable units, but instead putting the customer’s situation and needs in focus.
Jonny Engel is the CIO at SRS:
»A few years ago, we weren’t particularly innovative. «, Jonny says. » By constantly keeping a dialogue with producers and stores, we can understand which services they need. Based on that, we have created a platform, which helps our customers solve their problems. Smart Pooling is a good example of that. « Jonny continues: » Now, when the customers have understood what we can do for them, they have started to bang on the door and request more services from us. «
An important component in SRS’s change journey has been the introduction of continuous improvements. By first establishing a common view of how the business is run, SRS has then been able to identify and execute improvement actions in the business in a systematic fashion. One example of this is making capacity available in the form of two million returnable units.
– Previously, our organization was characterized by silo thinking and insufficient customer focus, says Anna Elgh, CEO at SRS. – This was a natural response to the fact that SRS previously had been able to dictate the terms to increase the number of customers in the industry and achieve a critical mass in the system. We needed to change our attitude internally, and cooperate across organizational boundaries to actively make SRS an open and customer oriented organization, concludes Anna.
Svenska Retursystem (SRS) is a company, owned by the industry, that manages a system of returnable boxes, pallets and other units used by producers and wholesalers in the fast-moving consumer goods industry, in order to increase efficiency and reduce the usage of disposable packaging in the industry, thereby having a positive environmental impact. In 2016, 140 million returnable units went through SRS’s system.