case study:

What lies beyond the ocean?


Maersk have set a new strategic direction beyond ocean, to provide logistics services across the supply chain. As part of this journey, Maersk - the world’s largest container shipping company - needed deep insights into the daily reality of their logistics customers.


In close collaboration with our clients at Maersk, IIAB conducted a deep dive with customers across the globe to explore their needs and challenges, collaboration and decision making within logistics.


We provided Maersk with hard-hitting deliverables bringing the on-the-ground reality of logistics customers to every level of the organisation. Our project informed service and product development, and brought customer-centricity to the fore, using the insights to inform what it will take to realise the new integrator strategy.

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Defining the journey towards becoming a global integrator of container logistics

the challenge

In 2018, Maersk released their new strategic vision of becoming the global integrator of container logistics, connecting and simplifying our customers’ supply chains. For 115 years, Maersk has focused on ocean freight – moving cargo across the ocean. With the new strategy, Maersk wants to move into logistics more holistically, providing their customers with products and services beyond ocean transport.

With this strategic shift, it was essential for Maersk to have a deep understanding of the reality they will be playing into for logistics customers across the supply chain: What are their needs and challenges? How do they make decisions? How can Maersk serve them the best? Starting with these questions, we set out to explore the reality and context of logistics customers across the world in the automotive, retail and chemical industries. Our second project for Maersk, we were excited to continue our collaboration with this legendary Danish company on their quest towards increased customer-centricity.

the approach

With our explorative research approach, we conducted in-depth interviews with multiple customer roles and teams within each customer organisation. This provided us with a solid understanding of the day-to-day challenges and responsibilities of different types of employees and departments working with logistics.

Doing research all across the globe amongst some of the world’s largest multinationals, we conducted 37 in-depth interview sessions with a total of 60 people in 19 different companies. To get the necessary depth, and to understand the world of logistics from the perspective of the customers, each interview lasted roughly two hours. The fieldwork and the consequent analysis were carried out in close collaboration with our clients in Maersk Digital and the Customer Insights Department. Through an extensive coding and pattern recognition process, we analysed over 900 pages of interview transcripts, transforming the knowledge into deliverables that would impact and bring a new perspective to employees across Maersk’s organisation.

The Result

The project was communicated through several hard-hitting deliverables with organisational impact. We provided an in-depth understanding of the reality of logistics customers via insight stories and journey mapping. We highlighted how needs differ across segments, industries and service types, which informed Maersk’s product and service development to better tailor offerings to specific types of customers.

We designed a sequence of graphical models that were able to communicate what employees needed to know about the most important customer insights, in an instant. We developed a series of films that told customer stories, their needs and priorities, in a format that could reach employees across Maersk’s huge organisation. Finally, through a customer lens, we provided strategic understanding and direction on what it takes to realize the new strategy to become a global integrator of container logistics. Since the project ended our deliverables have spread across various layers of the organisation including senior management, and we are proud to have played a part in Maersk’s transformation to a logistics company that’s ready for the next 100 years.

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Interested to find out more? Contact the


case owner

Katey Diamond
Director & Partner