Logistics and transport service providers


Ermewa SA is a European leader in rail wagon leasing. The company maintains, repairs and operates a fleet of over 42,000 wagons carrying goods of all types—hazardous and non-hazardous liquids, gases, food and non-food products, bulk materials, and various other products. It serves more than 280 customers (manufacturers, rail operators, and forwarding agents) in Europe.

The project at a glance

In 2017, Ermewa SA began exploring ways to harness the power of digital innovation, including launching smart wagons—a technology that has now reached maturity—to boost operational performance and transform its business model. 

The company called in Hardis Group to lead an executive seminar on shaping the organization’s five-year strategy. The discussions focused on three issues: what new services Ermewa SA could offer its customers by deploying smart wagons, what the company’s transformation might look like, and how its business model might change.

The seminar set us on the path toward digitization. It was a chance to co-design and review ways in which smart-wagon technology could boost our operational performance, transform our activity, and change our business model.— Peter Reinshagen, Managing Director, Ermewa SA

Project objectives

  • Launch a digital transformation project to offer new services
  • Identify and review smart-wagon use cases with the potential to deliver operational and business value
  • Determine transformation scenarios and develop the associated roadmap

Work performed

  • Led an executive seminar on digital strategy-setting
  • Reviewed business uses cases for smart-wagon technology: available data, fleet optimization and maintenance, customer relationship with shippers, etc.
  • Reviewed options for additional services, both as a resource supplier and in other areas (consulting, per-ton or per-mile contracts, cost and environmental impact reduction, etc.)
  • Assessed identified scenarios and developed a roadmap


  • Wagon maintenance based on utilization 
  • Share of wagons out of service for maintenance reduced from 17% to 5%
  • Wagon maintenance costs reduced by 15-20%
  • Expanded value proposition (not limited to freight) 
  • Wagon pricing calculated according to actual utilization

Any project?