From the Network

Content in German and English - Digital and On-site

International Supply Chain Conference In July, the Board decided to plan for a hybrid version of the conference. There will be an in-person part in Berlin as well as a wide range of streamed digital content. As has always been the case, the focus will be on exchange, knowledge transfer and discussion – before full conference, in the specialist sessions and during the exhibition. Networking will also be possible in both conference formats, with digital networking being facilitated by the event platform Grip. This platform enables participants to network, chat with each other and arrange meetings. Digital-only participation in the conference is free of charge and requires separate registration. BVL is embarking on new paths in the organisation of the digital conference format. Individual programme items will be sponsored by companies, who will not only achieve greater visibility but can also use participant data for communication purposes in return.

The content theme for the conference is “Chancen nutzen – Adapt to Lead”. There will be five sessions before full conference and eight specialist sessions, all of which will be simultaneously interpreted. The panel discussion “On the Road to Real Climate Neutrality” and the specialist sessions “Supply Chain 4.0 – Digital Twin in the Supply Chain”, “Pushing Boundaries: Tomorrow’s Supply Chain Technologies” and “Agility-Driven Supply Chain Collaboration” will be held directly in English.

Attractive Programme in and from Berlin

In just a few days Prof. Thomas Wimmer, Chairman of the BVL Board, will open the International Supply Chain Conference in Berlin in front of an in-person audience. Thanks to the progress of the vaccination campaign and the easy-to-access testing stations, the situation is different from last year, and face-to-face meetings are less problematic than they used to be. By mid-July, the BVL Board had therefore already decided in favour of a hybrid conference! The programme was uploaded to the BVL website just a short time later. A brief look inside the programme shows that, as always, it’s well worth taking part in the conference.

The opening keynote will be held by Dr. Sigrid Nikutta, Member of the Management Board for Freight Transport at Deutsche Bahn AG and CEO of DB Cargo AG. As a representative of this year’s conference partner, she will be kicking off the topic “Chancen nutzen – Adapt to Lead”. The other speakers in this opening session are Siegfried Russwurm, President of the Federation of German Industries (BDI), Dorothea von Boxberg, CEO of Lufthansa Cargo AG, Christian Erlach, Member of the Board of Directors, Marketing and Sales, at Jungheinrich AG, and Felix Fiege, CEO of the Fiege Group. In their presentations, the speakers will give their assessments on how the opportunities offered by change can be exploited and how, for example, digitalization creates new potential for sustainable logistics.

Discussions The panel discussion on the conference theme on Wednesday from 2 to 3 pm will be moderated by journalist Dr. Ursula Weidenfeld. She will be talking to Jörg Hofmann, First Chairman of the IG Metall trade union, and Dr. Marianne Janik, CEO of Microsoft Germany, about various topics – such as how employees can be encouraged to engage transformation processes, which technologies and trends will influence the value added chains in future, where opportunities lie and how these opportunities can be exploited by logistics managers as economic actors with responsibility for society.

Further panel sessions include “On the Way to True Climate Neutrality” and “Cybersecurity”. The signatory states to the Paris Climate Agreement have committed to limiting the rise in global temperature. It currently appears that they will only be able to meet this goal if some countries and sectors already achieve climate neutrality well before 2040. On the Thursday of the conference from 11.30 am to 12.55 pm, the panellists will discuss the climate neutrality of global logistics chains including the last mile from the perspective of global players and SMEs. Participants will be Rolf Habben Jansen, CEO of Hapag-Lloyd AG in Hamburg, Tim Scharwath, CEO Global Forwarding, Freight at the Deutsche Post DHL Group, Meri Stevens, Worldwide Vice President Supply Chain - Consumer Health & Deliver at Johnson & Johnson in the USA, and Pietro D’Arpa, Vice President, Supply Chain Europe: Logistics and End to End Strategic Planning at Procter & Gamble. The panel session will be moderated by Dr. Sven Rutkowsky, Partner at Kearney.

Ongoing digitalization is one of the keys to increased sustainability in logistics and supply chain management. The more important digitalization becomes, the greater the significance of the issue of cybersecurity. In the panel session on this topic on the Thursday afternoon of the conference from 4.30 to 6 pm, Prof. Julia Arlinghaus from the Fraunhofer IFF, Alpha Barry from secida AG and Lieutenant General Michael Vetter will answer questions such as: “Which protection measures and services are essential and helpful?”, “Do trends and strategies exist for IT security?” and “Does the topic of cybersecurity need to be included in further training and education programmes?”.

Topics Alongside the discussions before full conference, the programme also once again includes numerous interesting specialist sessions, with the focus on supply chain integration, circular economy, urban logistics, platform economy and supply chain 4.0.

Which approaches to circular value added exist, and how will they change logistics requirements in the longer term? What solutions are being developed by the logistics sector and how can the sector profit from new circular markets? This central question will be discussed and answered in the “Circular Economy” session on Thursday from 9 to 10.50 am. Using best practices from industry, trade and logistics services, the speakers will look at the key role of collaborative approaches and innovations along the entire supply chain in the success of circular business models and how they can pave the way towards a circular economy. The speakers include Martin Neuhold, Leader Supply Chain & Operations Europe West from premium sponsor Ernst & Young GmbH.

The strong increase in consignment volumes in the CEP sector and the far-reaching challenges for brick-and-mortar retailers in recent months mean that we must rethink the concept of “town”. Prof. Kai-Oliver Schocke, Professor for Production Management and Logistics as well as a BVL Chapter Chair, will be moderating the specialist session “Logistics Meets City” on Friday from 9.30 to 11.20 am and, together with the speakers, will be looking at issues such as where logistics can find its place in our towns and cities or which spaces can promote “togetherness” through their use as logistics locations.

The conference will be rounded off on Friday by a session from 12.00 am to 14.00 pm featuring first-rate participants and moderated by Moritz Döbler, business journalist and Editor-in-Chief of the Rheinische Post newspaper. Prof. Dr. Martin R. Stuchtey, Co-Founder and Managing Partner of SystemIQ GmbH, will talk about Germany’s next business model: for 200 years, the tempo and goal of entrepreneurial activities was driven by the need to increase work productivity. We now find ourselves in a scenario where climate change, volatile resource markets and a new working world force us to recognise resource productivity as the wellspring of new prosperity. “Eco-prosperity” is the new objective – from China’s 5-year plan through to the European Green Deal. The combination of circular value added and digitalization is creating a new form of value added logistics known as “Industry_5.0”, and this creates new opportunities for industry and logistics. Prof. Norbert Lammert, former President of Germany’s Bundestag parliament and now Chair of the Konrad Adenauer Foundation, will talk about the responsibility of the individual and democratic values.

You can register for the conference on the BVL website. There are separate registration pages for participation in the hybrid and digital formats.

In-person attendance in Berlin:

Digital participation:

The ISCC is supported by the Senate Department for Economics, Energy and Public Enterprises of Berlin.


Commentary by Kai Althoff, Chair of the Concept Team for the International Supply Chain Conference

Logistics has never been as Important as it is Today

During the last 18 months, we had to adapt logistics chains to new requirements faster than ever before. Most of the changes that we are currently seeing are of a structural nature. From an overall perspective, this trend is expected to continue.

“Chancen nutzen – Adapt to Lead” is therefore a very apt heading for this year’s International Supply Chain Conference. The 13-strong Concept Team began working on the content for the conference in early March. Their working hypothesis was that the conference would be held as a hybrid event with a limited number of attendees on site and additional participants taking place virtually. The first meeting of the team – which was itself naturally virtual – lasted three hours and was extremely productive. Given the realisation that logistics has probably never been as important in many areas as it is today, it was no surprise that content ideas for this year’s conference came thick and fast. We had to prioritise and were not afraid to put the truly big issues at the forefront; issues such as the future business model for transport logistics, the influence of platform economies on the New Economy, or the process of change in towns and cities. We are naturally especially interested in concepts that enable companies to grasp the opportunities of the future. One key source of motivation are success stories from companies who have already implemented these kinds of concepts – new collaboration models in the logistics chains, virtual images of the entire supply chain, or the restructuring of the entire company to create a form of agility that is fit for future. There will be no progress without the use of new technologies. We want to underline this realisation and also ensure that the relevant solution providers are more visible in this year’s programme.

The programme has been published, anticipation is rising ahead of the conference, and I myself am also greatly looking forward to the event. There is a huge pent-up need for interaction and exchange.

Meeting in Hybrid Mode

Advisory Board The first in-person meeting of the Advisory Board since the lockdown was held in mid-June. To be more precise, it was actually a hybrid meeting, where a total of 50 participants spent an interesting and entertaining afternoon inside and outside the engelbert strauss CI factory in Schlüchtern (Hessen), which went into operation at the end of 2020. New Advisory Board member Matthias Fischer sent out the invitations – in response to which around 20 people travelled to Schüchtern and some 30 checked in via video stream to see the unique customised shoe production system in the futuristic factory. Following a get-together in “Germany’s best canteen”, there were words of greeting from Advisory Board Chair Josip T. Tomasevic, who spoke via live stream from the USA. The participants enjoyed and were fascinated by the presentation and subsequent tour led by Matthias Fischer. The factory is able to realise one-off production of shoes at series production costs. And the superlatives keep on coming: Schlüchtern boasts Europe’s biggest spiral conveyor, and there are one million storage bins as well as more than 13 km of conveying technology. 400 autonomous shuttles navigate the aisles fully automatically and move entire shelves to the machine or the packaging station. One of the partners of engelbert strauss, also in the CI factory, is Bremen-based BLG, who are responsible for shipping logistics. What’s also special about the factory is that there has been a “digital twin” in the systems engineering section from the outset. The digital twin was developed by Körber (formerly Inconso) and has driven both project tempo and cost reduction. The project gained recognition as one of the finalists for the German Award for SCM 2020.

RIP Frank Sportolari

Obituary Frank Sportolari, long-time boss of UPS Germany, passed away in the company of his loved ones on July 12, 2021 at the age of 65 after a serious illness. We extend our condolences to his family, in particular his wife and children. Our thoughts are with them. As a member of the Advisory Board since 2014, Sportolari was always a good advisor to BVL and a committed networker – regardless of whether we were looking for a leading figure in the area of Transatlantic relations for a fireside chat format or a major event. It was also Sportolari who facilitated the invitation of the US Ambassador to the 35th International Supply Chain Conference in the year 2018. Sportolari was always innovative, and he and his team achieved exceptional outcomes.

In early March of this year, Sportolari informed BVL Board Chairman Prof. Thomas Wimmer that he had stepped back from his responsibility for operational business at UPS Germany, and he was succeeded by Simone Menne as President of the American Chamber of Commerce Germany a short time ago – but he wanted to remain on the Advisory Board of BVL until very recently. BVL mourns a person who was both highly committed and extremely modest. He will be missed, and he will not be forgotten.