Competency: Overhead

Transparency and efficiency are the key variables in managing the overhead functions of a transport company


  • Growing cost pressure due to tight public budgets demands an efficient administration
  • Increasing relevance of an intelligent and holistic overhead management
  • Efficient integration of administration into the structures of a company or group and identification of potential synergies
  • Very heterogeneous, differently organised overhead functions in public transport companies
  • No direct reference to the performance variables of a transport company
  • Controversial “Best Practice values” in terms of costs and benefits as well as relating to quality


Consulting Services

  • Approved industry-specific benchmark analyses for administration
  • Strategic thrust for the overhead of transport companies
  • Optimisation of overhead processes and interfaces to adjacent departments


Overheads as an overall term

The term “overheads” embraces all functions of “classic general administration”. In transport companies, these cover a broad spectrum of approximately 40 different individual functions, and they occur in addition to the function-specific administrative costs in the vehicle workshop, operating and infrastructure sectors. Examples of major core functions in the overheads sector include not only commercial functions (internal and external accounting), human resources (personnel management, accounting and development) and training, purchasing and materials management but also information technology (IT), each presenting its specific challenges.

In general, there are several reasons why overhead functions are comparatively difficult to manage, especially in local public transport companies:

  • They are heterogeneous and often involve qualitative aspects.
  • They are often organised in very different ways – and that means they are not always easy to compare.
  • Genuine “best-practice figures” are highly controversial in terms of costs, performance and quality.
  • In many cases there is no direct connection between performance and the real output parameters of a transport company, so it is difficult to measure specific output.

We are familiar with these problems from our many years’ experience, and we help you to

  • Create transparency in overhead structures, processes, workflows and tools
  • improve efficiency in the administrative sector
  • Make performance quality in the various fields clear, measurable and hence controllable
  • Establish benchmarks – not only tried-and-tested company-specific benchmarks, but also benchmarks from other sectors for the overheads field – as a guide for your overhead functions
  • Identify realistic and attainable target figures for overhead areas
  • Use this as a basis to draw up company-specific measure concepts jointly with you and your staff.

IT as an important cross-sectional function

One very important aspect is the design of your IT strategy and IT systems. In day-to-day business there are hardly any processes left that are not at least partially supported or dealt with by IT. As a result, IT has long since become a critical success factor for transport companies as well.

Experience shows that there is a great deal of variation in the degree of standardisation and the integration of the individual systems. However, these factors are of great importance for optimum use of resources while ensuring high availability. There are also numerous other aspects, such as IT contribution, sourcing strategies, IT governance or security issues, which have to be answered when determining an optimum IT strategy.

Thus rigorous IT support for employees and business processes and economic design of processes and interfaces are important tasks which should be given the highest priority.

Our approaches

It goes without saying that when dealing with these issues we make use of not only our many years’ experience and our critical (expert) knowledge, but also:

  • Modern concepts of structural organisation (e.g. “Shared Service Centres” or “Lead Organisation Concepts”)
  • The latest approaches of process and workflow organisation, such as E Commerce or use of purchasing platforms in the field of purchasing and procurement
  • Currently available service offerings for optimising the company’s added value and the interfaces between company and suppliers
  • Modern process monitoring and employee motivation instruments

Especially in the overheads sector, a realistic overview is essential in addition to analytical focus aspects, in order to ensure timely identification of obstacles to implementation and concentrate the company’s strength on what is feasible. For this reason we have no patent recipes and no “off-the-shelf” approaches. Instead we create individually tailored solutions for your company (in some cases jointly with our cooperation partners), taking account of the specific characteristics of the individual overhead functions and the relevant framework conditions.