Sustainability in Action – Winning the Next Decade

Dear Members, dear Readers,

The year 2020 began for BVL with the Forum Automotive Logistics – where attendees engaged in lively discussions and enjoyed a wide range of interesting content. Although “corona” appeared in the news in February, it still seemed a long way away at the time. Now, at the end of the year and in a second lockdown, the memory of this “normality” seems almost unreal.

Both economy and society have been thrown seriously off balance during the past ten months. The value added chains have generally shown themselves to be robust, and the level and speed of adaptability have been far greater than could have been expected before the crisis. To retain this hands-on mentality, to remain agile and to push ahead with change processes creatively and systematically - these are the positives we can take from the crisis. The challenges we all have faced have been anything but trivial. Many companies have suffered financially in 2020, and the same unfortunately applies to our association, which has always been and still is proud of its independence. In addition to membership fees, BVL generates significant funds through its own activities in order to provide services and generate value added for everyone involved in the logistics sector. If we lose 90% of our revenue from face-to-face events, this results in funding holes and necessitates resolute and painful measures.

At the same time, 2020 was by no means a lost year in the work of the association. Despite the unfavourable circumstances, the chapters staged around 150 events. The Members’ Meeting, the Board and Advisory Board meetings, the services of the Chapters and not least the International Supply Chain Conference were converted to digital formats within an extremely short space of time. With the “Trends & Strategies” study and further papers, BVL published key analysis and decision-making support for the logistics sector. But what is also true is that the in-person events that are so important for the network – and the revenue generated by these events – fell by the wayside. This applies above all to the International Supply Chain Conference, which had to adapted from a hybrid to a digital event at short notice due to the pressure of circumstances. And this naturally had its price.

In November/December, the Board and the management team developed and launched a restructuring project for 2021 and the following years. Personnel, administrative and material costs will be significantly reduced, and together we will implement a forward-looking strategy for BVL – a strategy driven by energy and confidence geared towards new services, more “new work” and greater sustainability, a wider range of digital products, streamlined organisational processes and state-of-the-art technologies. We want to and will face the future with strength and optimism, tread new paths and exploit new opportunities. “Exploiting Opportunities – Adapt to Lead” is the overarching theme for the new year – for the economy, for our association, for all of us. I am convinced that this will ensure that we will be able to return to the successes of the past in 2022 at the latest.

On behalf of all Board members, I would like to thank all members for their loyalty to BVL. I would also like to thank the members of the various BVL bodies for their honorary work as well as the association’s employees for their exceptional efforts. 2020 was an extremely difficult year for all of us. I look forward to seeing and talking to you in 2021 – virtually in video conferences, by phone and hopefully soon also once again in person.

Prof. Dr.-Ing. Thomas Wimmer

Chairman of the Board