Against corruption and for strong integrity: Why logistics firm Rhenus Group uses a digital whistleblower system
Sector: Logistics service provider
Revenue: €5.4 billion
Founding year: 1912
Introducing an international whistleblower system in a company with 660 locations in over 50 countries, more than 30,000 employees and a decentralized compliance organization is no easy task. In our case study read how Rhenus succeeded in implementing a digital whistleblowing system and what advantages the digital system now offers.
Logistics service provider Rhenus has achieved impressive growth in recent years. While business in 2007 was mainly concentrated in Europe, Rhenus now offers its transport services in more than 50 countries. As growth took pace, so too did compliance risks and also the number of internal reports of possible compliance violations.
The problem: although individual companies in the Rhenus Group had already implemented whistleblowing systems, there was no central overview. In 2018, Gilles Delarue, Group Compliance Officer at Rhenus, decided to introduce a uniform system. The requirements: A digital, user-friendly system with anonymous reporting capabilities that fit to the international structure of the Rhenus Group and which also supported the decentralized units in processing cases.
After reviewing various providers, the company decided on the EQS Integrity Line software solution. Delarue’s decision was based on the ease of implementation, the language diversity of the system and, in particular, the possibility of decentralized case processing across borders.
After a short implementation phase, the Rhenus Integrity Line went live at the end of 2018. The roll-out took place in two phases: January 2019 saw the system launch in Germany followed by the international locations in March.
The Rhenus Integrity Line is now available around the clock in more than 52 countries and in eleven languages. A special feature at Rhenus: the company also uses the whistleblower system to capture reports of data leaks in order to meet the requirements of the EU General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). Depending on the topic and country, the information is automatically assigned to the respective local case worker. Thanks to real-time statistics, Delarue still has a central overview of all information and the status of investigations at all times.
In order to obtain as much relevant information as possible, Rhenus has also opened the reporting system to external whistleblowers and placed it prominently on the company website. In addition, the system is also mentioned in the company‘s Code of Conduct. This openness has paid off: since the system was introduced, several dozen relevant compliance-related reports have already been received.
It was particularly important to Rhenus that all reports are followed up promptly and thoroughly, including feedback to the whistleblower. For this reason, the logistics service provider has made the time between receipt of a report and the feedback on the investigation result to the whistleblower a Key Performance Indicator (KPI). With the help of Case Management in the Integrity Line system, Rhenus can track exactly how the average investigation time develops.
For the Rhenus Group, fairness and integrity are the basis for success, especially in maintaining the company’s good reputation in the market. Delarue and the Management Board of the Rhenus Group therefore encourage all employees and persons externally associated with the company to report potential violations at any time. With the new digital Rhenus Integrity Line, this is now much easier – and the logistics company has an eye on everything at all times and can counter compliance risks quickly and effectively.
Group Compliance Officer, Rhenus SE & Co KG