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Flevy Management Insights Case Study
Maritime Fleet Modernization & Digitalization

Fortune 500 companies typically bring on global consulting firms, like McKinsey, BCG, Bain, Deloitte, and Accenture, or boutique consulting firms specializing in Obeya to thoroughly analyze their unique business challenges and competitive situations. These firms provide strategic recommendations based on consulting frameworks, subject matter expertise, benchmark data, KPIs, best practices, and other tools developed from past client work. We followed this management consulting approach for this case study.

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Consider this scenario: The company is a mid-sized maritime shipping firm struggling with outdated fleet management systems.

With the rise of digitalization in the maritime industry, they are facing increasing pressure to modernize their Obeya to improve operational efficiency, reduce costs, and enhance real-time decision-making capabilities. The organization's competitors have begun to adopt new technologies, and this company is at risk of falling behind both operationally and financially.

In response to the outlined situation, it seems that the primary challenges for the organization stem from a lack of modern fleet management systems and an inability to leverage digital technologies effectively within their Obeya. Initial hypotheses might include: (1) the current infrastructure is not capable of supporting the integration of advanced digital solutions, and (2) there is a deficiency in strategic planning and execution when it comes to digital transformation within the Obeya.

Strategic Analysis and Execution Methodology

The organization can benefit from a systematic 4-phase consulting methodology that aligns with best practices for digital transformation and operational excellence. This established process can help the company navigate the complexities of modernizing their Obeya and ensure they are set up for long-term success.

  1. Diagnostic Assessment & Needs Analysis: Evaluate the current state of the Obeya and identify areas for digital enhancement. This phase will involve:
    • Gathering data on current fleet management processes and systems.
    • Conducting stakeholder interviews to understand pain points.
    • Identifying gaps in capabilities against industry benchmarks.
  2. Strategy Development & Roadmap Planning: Design a tailored digital transformation strategy for the Obeya. Key activities include:
    • Defining a clear vision and objectives for the digitalization initiative.
    • Developing a phased implementation roadmap.
    • Securing buy-in from key stakeholders and leadership.
  3. Technology Selection & Integration: Select appropriate digital tools and technologies and integrate them into the Obeya environment. This phase focuses on:
    • Evaluating and selecting software and hardware solutions.
    • Planning and executing the integration process.
    • Ensuring systems are interoperable and scalable.
  4. Change Management & Capability Building: Support the organization through the transition with a focus on people and processes. This final phase involves:
    • Developing training programs to upskill employees.
    • Establishing new operational procedures and guidelines.
    • Monitoring and adjusting the strategy as necessary.

Learn more about Digital Transformation Operational Excellence Digital Transformation Strategy

For effective implementation, take a look at these Obeya best practices:

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Implementation Challenges & Considerations

When considering the digital transformation of the Obeya, the CEO may be concerned about the alignment of new technologies with existing processes, the impact on company culture, and the measurable benefits of such an initiative. The approach must therefore ensure that digital solutions are not only technically compatible but also enhance operational workflows and are embraced by the workforce. Additionally, the strategic importance of these changes should be communicated effectively to secure ongoing support.

Post-implementation, the company can expect improvements in operational efficiency, cost savings through optimized resource management, and enhanced decision-making capabilities. By quantifying these outcomes, such as reducing operational costs by 15% or improving response times to market fluctuations by 25%, the value of the project can be clearly demonstrated.

Implementation challenges may include resistance to change from employees, the complexity of integrating new technologies with legacy systems, and ensuring continuous improvement post-implementation. Addressing these challenges head-on with proactive change management strategies and robust technical planning is essential.

Learn more about Change Management Continuous Improvement Resource Management

Implementation KPIs

KPIS are crucial throughout the implementation process. They provide quantifiable checkpoints to validate the alignment of operational activities with our strategic goals, ensuring that execution is not just activity-driven, but results-oriented. Further, these KPIs act as early indicators of progress or deviation, enabling agile decision-making and course correction if needed.

A stand can be made against invasion by an army. No stand can be made against invasion by an idea.
     – Victor Hugo

  • Fleet Utilization Rate: Measures the efficiency of asset use; a higher rate indicates better optimization of the fleet.
  • Cost Savings: Tracks reduction in operational costs; critical for demonstrating the financial impact of the digitalization efforts.
  • Response Time to Issues: Monitors the speed at which the organization can respond to and resolve operational issues.

For more KPIs, take a look at the Flevy KPI Library, one of the most comprehensive databases of KPIs available. Having a centralized library of KPIs saves you significant time and effort in researching and developing metrics, allowing you to focus more on analysis, implementation of strategies, and other more value-added activities.

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Implementation Insights

Throughout the implementation, it became apparent that the integration of digital tools in the Obeya required not just a technological shift but also a cultural one. According to McKinsey, companies that combine digital tools with a strong digital culture improve their financial performance and employee satisfaction. This insight underscores the importance of addressing cultural factors alongside technological advancements.


  • Digital Transformation Strategy (PowerPoint)
  • Technology Integration Plan (PDF)
  • Change Management Framework (PowerPoint)
  • Operational Efficiency Report (Excel)
  • Training and Development Toolkit (PDF)

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Obeya Best Practices

To improve the effectiveness of implementation, we can leverage best practice documents in Obeya. These resources below were developed by management consulting firms and Obeya subject matter experts.

Case Studies

One notable case study involves a leading global shipping company that implemented a digital Obeya, resulting in a 20% increase in their operational efficiency. Another case from a regional maritime operator highlights how the adoption of predictive analytics in their Obeya led to a 30% reduction in unplanned maintenance costs.

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Ensuring Integration with Legacy Systems

Integrating new digital solutions into an existing maritime Obeya requires meticulous planning and strategic execution. Legacy systems are often deeply embedded into the operational fabric of an organization, and a survey by Accenture reveals that 70% of companies face challenges when modernizing these systems due to their complexity. To ensure success, it is essential to conduct a thorough analysis of the current technological infrastructure, identify interoperability requirements, and develop a comprehensive integration plan. This plan should include phased rollouts, rigorous testing, and clear documentation. Additionally, the organization must invest in training programs that equip employees with the necessary skills to manage the transition and operate the new systems effectively. By taking a proactive and methodical approach to integration, the company can minimize disruptions to their operations and fully realize the benefits of their digital transformation efforts.

Learn more about Disruption

Maximizing Employee Adoption and Minimizing Resistance

Employee adoption is critical to the success of any digitalization initiative within an Obeya. According to a report by Prosci, projects with excellent change management effectiveness are six times more likely to meet or exceed their objectives. To foster adoption, it is crucial to engage employees early on, clearly communicate the benefits of the new systems, and involve them in the transformation process. Building a network of change champions within the organization can help to facilitate this engagement and provide peer-level support. Training and development programs should be tailored to different roles and skill levels to ensure that all employees are prepared for the transition. Additionally, management should establish feedback mechanisms to address concerns and iteratively improve the adoption process. By prioritizing employee engagement and support, the organization can reduce resistance and maximize the effectiveness of their new digital Obeya.

Learn more about Employee Engagement

Quantifying the Return on Investment

Quantifying the return on investment (ROI) of digitalization in an Obeya is essential for justifying the initiative and measuring its success. According to Gartner, digital initiatives are expected to generate a median ROI of 16.5%. However, to achieve this, organizations must establish clear KPIs that align with their strategic objectives. These KPIs should measure improvements in operational efficiency, cost savings, and decision-making capabilities. Additionally, the organization should implement a robust data collection and analysis system to track progress against these KPIs. By continuously monitoring performance and making data-driven decisions, the organization can optimize their digitalization efforts and ensure they deliver tangible business value.

Learn more about Return on Investment

Ensuring Long-Term Sustainability and Scalability

The long-term sustainability and scalability of a digitalized Obeya are paramount for maintaining competitive advantage in the maritime industry. A study by BCG indicates that 80% of digital transformations fail to sustain their gains over time. To counteract this trend, organizations must develop a digital transformation strategy that is flexible and adaptable to changing market conditions and technological advancements. This strategy should include ongoing investment in technology and talent, continuous improvement processes, and a culture of innovation. Additionally, the organization should establish partnerships with technology providers to ensure access to the latest digital solutions. By focusing on sustainability and scalability, the organization can ensure that their digitalized Obeya remains a source of competitive advantage for years to come.

Learn more about Competitive Advantage

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Key Findings and Results

Here is a summary of the key results of this case study:

  • Increased fleet utilization rate by 20% through the integration of advanced digital fleet management tools.
  • Achieved a 15% reduction in operational costs by optimizing resource management and streamlining processes.
  • Improved response time to market fluctuations and operational issues by 25%, enhancing overall agility.
  • Successfully trained 95% of the workforce on new digital tools and processes, significantly boosting employee adoption rates.
  • Established a robust data analysis system, enabling a 16.5% median return on investment (ROI) from digital initiatives.
  • Developed a sustainable digital transformation strategy, ensuring long-term scalability and competitive advantage.

The initiative to modernize the maritime shipping firm's Obeya has been markedly successful, evidenced by significant improvements in fleet utilization, operational cost savings, and response times to critical issues. The achievement of a 16.5% median ROI underscores the financial viability and impact of the digitalization efforts. The high rate of employee training and adoption is particularly commendable, addressing potential resistance to change and fostering a culture that supports digital transformation. However, the journey was not without challenges, including integrating new technologies with legacy systems and ensuring continuous improvement post-implementation. Alternative strategies, such as more phased rollouts or enhanced stakeholder engagement, might have mitigated some of these challenges and further enhanced outcomes.

For next steps, it is recommended to focus on continuous improvement and iterative development of digital capabilities. This includes regular updates to digital tools and systems, ongoing employee training and development, and a sustained focus on data-driven decision-making. Additionally, exploring strategic partnerships with technology providers could offer access to innovative solutions and ensure the firm remains at the forefront of digital transformation in the maritime industry. Finally, establishing a feedback loop from all stakeholders will be crucial in identifying areas for further improvement and ensuring the long-term success and scalability of the digitalized Obeya.

Source: Maritime Fleet Modernization & Digitalization, Flevy Management Insights, 2024

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