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Rhenus Office Systems - Press

Interview with Jens Kumbrink - Managing Director at Rhenus Office Systems

Digital Change: Business Transformation Needs Optimal Partners

Digitization is unstoppable – the digital change brings about acceleration across all industries and processes. And digital change means radical changes – for markets, technology, man and society. It demands a profound transformation of the business – for all companies operating on a national and global level.

In times of ever shorter innovation cycles and digital client requirements, there is an enormous need for action for the companies – and digital transformation is a must to ensure that successful business models and strategies continue to work also in the future. Digital fitness is what companies require. But what must companies consider in this process – especially when it comes to choosing their partners? Jens Kumbrink, Managing Director at Rhenus Office Systems, explores the topic of successful transformation in the digital age from the perspective of his company.  

Successful digitization enables companies to provide innovative products and services – that's the one thing. Digitization, however, also brings about an internal transformation through which processes are automated in a value-adding manner. You as a digital document and information management provider are supporting companies in the digital age. Where do you see the main factors for companies to succeed in the digital world? 

Unfortunately, there is no such thing like fast digitization – it is always a matter of systematic development of potential. The focus is less on the visible symbols of digitization but rather on the digital contents. This is why digital change also means a renewal of the company's processes and structures emanating from the management level. Stubbornly sticking to known habits has turned out to be a major stumbling block in this regard.

It is obviously difficult not to get involved in a trench warfare between the "traditional old" and the "digital new". But proper communication is the trump card here – and determines whether a company is able to transform successfully in the long term, especially where innovation is concerned. This means there are systematics, namely a management of good ideas, which can be turned to reality. Innovation must be the driver in any company – not a mere lighthouse. Why? Because it is not just a matter of digitizing "inwardly" as soon as possible. The very challenge, by contrast, lies in reacting to the economic environment that sees so many rapid changes: to new competitors who aggressively enter the existing markets. To clients who simply expect SMEs to provide them, among others, with digital solutions coming up to the standards of the global players. And last but not least: to the needs of the company's own staff. Rhenus Office Systems is supporting companies as a driver in successful digitization projects – when it comes to document and information management and to accompanied processes.

Where do you see your main tasks when making companies fit for the digital change?

Successful digital changes are a longer-lasting process as already said before. The operational business has to be linked with the requirements of the digital future. Transformation is possible over the entire cycle of documents and information: physically, from paper via the hybrid form, the digitization, through to purely digital information. This is where the potential lies dormant in all companies who benefit from our long-term migration strategy as a holistic document and information manager. Many companies may find it reasonable to incorporate intermediate steps or a transition phase for the sake of cost savings and administrative work efficiency – for example, with a temporary or long-term BPO of still-physical elements. For let's be honest: No company in the world is able to convert to "total digital" overnight. Physical and digital data will therefore continue to exist side by side for quite another while. The knack is now to structure, to verify and to optimize this hybrid form – in order to finally arrive at a properly working, "purely digital" form.

What distinguishes Rhenus Office Systems from its competitors? What are the greatest benefits for your clients?

We subscribe to the following mission statement: If clients are thinking of a service provider for their documents and information, they should think of Rhenus Office Systems for good reason. We have been a successful provider of digitizing solutions for decades. What our clients appreciate is that we as an experienced partner handle and digitize the outsourced portions of their infrastructure as our core competence, thus relieving workload from their operational business. All our subsidiaries across Europe are providing this type of service. Our processes are DIN ISO 9001 certified, and our project staff is holding Prince 2 or GPM certifications. With our ISO 27001 data center, we are able to securely host sensitive data for Rhenus Office Systems clients in Germany with an all-time availability. This makes us one of the very few service providers – if not the only one in Germany – who offers a 360° solution. This means we care for the client over the entire process chain – whether in physical, digital or hybrid form – and also take on outsourced partial tasks in the sense of a BPO.

Rhenus Office Systems started up with file and data carrier destruction – at that time it was all about paper. When did your company start focusing its business on the requirements of the digital age?

Rhenus Office Systems took over the activities of Cendris in 2006 – a wholly owned subsidiary of the Dutch Post TNT. The Cendris portfolio was integrated in the fields of mailroom management and digitization and incoming invoice and document processing. This meant for us: Rhenus Office Systems can offer complex services from one source – physical and digital, from the incoming mail through to archiving. Companies additionally benefit from our specialized personnel service in the event of personnel bottlenecks: Rhenus Office Personal Service will be pleased to provide you with highly qualified staff with specific know-how in document and information logistics and administrative work under the Provision of Labour Act. This way companies are able to flexibly adapt their capacities to their requirements – in a digital, dynamic market environment. Before 2006, Rhenus had acquired the Frankfurt-based company "Hahn Service" – and has since been offering a comprehensive service portfolio under the company name Rhenus Mailroom Services: from the outsourcing of mailrooms via lettershop, fulfillment, info and press mail, press, newspaper, magazine, preferred periodicals, postage and postage optimization services through to consulting for mail, courier services, etc. The original focus on paper documents – all around the subject of file and data carrier disposal and archiving – is still a profitable and expandable core competence. And promising perspectives are also opening up in this field concurrently with digitization.

And where does your journey into the future take you today? What are your goals?

Our Digital Hub acts as an innovation driver. It is designed to optimize existing processes to achieve a better performance. We lay our focus on both the optimization of established processes and on the holistic consulting of our clients as regards their processes. Innovative products are thus obtained from synergy effects.

Where clients seek a digital change-related process transformation, the focus is on process consulting on the one hand and on consulting about the IT in use on the other. Our company excels by proven consulting competence through specialists and provides the required industrial experts to furnish the client with long-term migration strategies.

Are you focusing on specific sectors?

e-health, the "digital patient file" and e-government are the decisive keywords when it comes to the digitization of society. There is a lot of potential for us as a holistic document and information manager to take part in the shaping of the digital change in the public sector and in society. Having acquired the two companies SYNIOS – with focuses in the fields of e-health and e-government – and IOS, the Informations- und Organisations-Systeme GmbH – with a focus on "medical document management" – we are optimally positioned for the health care sector and the public administration bodies.

Data security and confidence in cyber security are of utmost priority especially in the e-health and e-government sectors. The benchmark for data protection is set high. Is Rhenus Office Systems in a position to assure data security?

e-health, e-government, and last but not least the entire financial sector are areas which are indeed subject to the most stringent data protection requirements. Needless to say that we are providing that level of data protection reliability. That's an absolute must, and you simply can't do without it. We realize this with various measures such as data hosting in Germany in the Rhenus-owned data center. Our digital long-time archive is furthermore tamper-proof – in accordance with the legal requirements – and protects the data against falsification, ensures retrievability and provides the required logging of accesses. Handling sensitive and confidential data is the core competence of Rhenus Office Systems because this has been our commitment since the very beginning – namely in the "paper times".

Last question: The digital change is unstoppable, but in no way self-propelling. Where do you see the biggest stumbling blocks for a company on its way into a digital future?

Digitization, as already said before, is a lengthy transformation process that changes a company in its basic structure. No company can actually disregard the digital transformation in the long run without failing. Disruption is in full progress. A comprehensive transformation of many business processes will be required around the globe. In order to successfully keep pace with the rapid changes, companies are in strong need for a comprehensive, strategic perspective. They need data readiness – with the corresponding systems. Digital talent – digital experts, software developers, etc.– and digital leadership: the readiness at management level. Their business models and go-to-market strategies must change – and companies must learn to think "digital natives" from the very top. Just offering digital products and processes incidentally is no longer enough – this way of thinking separates the successful, digital wheat from the old, conservative chaff. Companies need a transformation in the core – and a digital roadmap. And some ways are longer or more difficult than others. With Rhenus you can go them all: because the knack of linking the physical world with the digital world is our very expertise.

Thank you very much for the interview, Mr Kumbrink.

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Rhenus Office Systems GmbH

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59439 Holzwickede
Germany
Tel. +49 2301-29 1600