For the first time this year, the Forum Chemical Logistics was held outside Germany and was not staged at a production location of the chemical industry. The 2018 event took place in the port of Antwerp.
120 participants attended the event entitled “Opportunities in the Digital Age” and experienced an international exchange of ideas at one of the leading hubs for multimodal shipping and the transshipment of chemicals – and a location close to major Belgian chemical companies.
It was abundantly clear that the issue of digitalization is being addressed in the field of chemical logistics, with collaboration already in place between supply chain participants in various segments. Whereas, until recently, the key actors had generally only discussed the need for digitalization in many parts of the supply chain in order to render processes more transparent and easier to control, the first concrete implementation cases are demonstrating the actual benefits of digitalization for logistics processes. Many companies have now realised that digital platforms and cloud solutions offer major potential, and in some cases applications like blockchains have already been introduced or are in the implementation phase.
The greater transparency and improved controllability resulting from all these innovations naturally also have a knock-on effect on cooperation with logistics service providers and the integration of these providers in the new concepts. It was only logical, therefore, that a recent study on the outsourcing of services to 4PLs or LLPs formed the basis for discussion. Asked about the outsourcing of logistics, Constantin Reuter, Principal at Camelot Management Consultants, replied that the first thing a company should do is identify its own core areas of competence and then outsource the tasks where it possesses little or no expertise. He said that, in cooperation with logistics partners, it is important that all the parties involved understand the relevant processes. Dr. Andreas Backhaus, Senior Vice President European Site Logistics Operations at BASF, then formulated the basic question that each shipper should ask itself – namely, “Where does outsourcing generate the most value added?”
Forum Spare Parts Logistics - Shaping foreseeable developments
Spare parts management is increasingly becoming a key topic in today’s companies. Almost all locations are revising and reorganising existing structures, because the potential for optimisation offered by digital technologies is huge. At the same time, however, the market is becoming more and more competitive – which is why the goal is to continuously optimise the relationship between costs and standard of service. The benchmarks in this segment are often same-day delivery and real-time tracking of all processes. Companies who wait too long will soon be left behind.
The Forum Spare Parts Logistics in Nuremberg in March welcomed some 230 experts and provided an overview of the digital solutions that have already been implemented in fields such as automotive or medical technology. Real-world examples were used to outline the application options of 3D printing, successful change management or the handling of big data. After-sales experts explained which digital technologies are suitable for which fields and painted a picture of competitive, forward-looking spare parts logistics.