Science and Research

Understanding the logistics of the future

Members of the Scientific Advisory Board and the Research Council during a break in the meetings of the two bodies in Magdeburg in June

Members of the Scientific Advisory Board and the Research Council during a break in the meetings of the two bodies in Magdeburg in June

Digitalization will continue to reshape the face of logistics. This opinion ran like a thread through the presentations and discussions at the International Scientific Symposium on Logistics (ISSL) in Magdeburg.

The Advisory Board of BVL staged this meeting of the logistics science community for the ninth time and welcomed just under 100 attendees to the event. The programme was drawn up by a concept group comprising Professors Kai Furmans, Michael Schenk, Bernd Hellingrath, René de Koster, Stefan Minner and Ludger Overmeyer, and the theme for the ISSL was “Understanding Future Logistics – Models, Applications, Insights”.

It is above all the demand for digital platforms and automated supply chains that will continue to grow, and several speakers predicted spectacular solutions using artificial intelligence (AI) for the latter. Using the example of the many robots developed by start-ups in Europe and the US in recent years, Torsten Kröger, Head of Institute at Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT), outlined how suitable these robots now are for logistics and other activities. “Some of them already achieve a success rate of 99 percent when gripping unwieldy objects”, said the highly qualified engineer. At the same time, he recommended that the trend topic of AI be “de-hyped”. In the assessment of the former Google executive, “many challenges can also be mastered using conventional digital technology”.

The ISSL is one of the central projects of the 24-member Scientific Advisory Board of BVL headed by Prof. Kai Furmans. The event in Magdeburg was hosted by Prof. Michael Schenk, Head of Institute at the Fraunhofer IFF and a lecturer at the city’s Otto-von-Guericke University. In his moderation, Prof. Thomas Wimmer, Chairman of the Executive Board of BVL, highlighted Schenk’s outstanding efforts and commitment: “Prof. Michael Schenk has always been a driving force behind the fostering of up-and-coming scientists, the promotion of research and the establishment of a regular and independent scientific conference of BVL.” This series of events was launched in 2002 as the Scientific Symposium and still takes place – under the new name of ISSL – every two years.

The Scientific Advisory Board held two meetings in 2018 – one in Magdeburg in June and the second in Berlin in October. As successor to Prof. Stefan Minner, Prof. Alexander Hübner was appointed Editor-in-Chief for the co-publication of the “Logistics Research” scientific journal of BVL in June. The journal continues on its uptrend with 37 contributions during 2018. Following in-depth review, ten contributions were published online.

Research Council

Dr. Christian Jacobi, Chairman of the 18-member Research Council, was additionally appointed to the BVL Board in September 2018. The body he heads is made up of scientifically interested practitioners and came together for three working meetings in 2018, reviewing 29 short applications for research projects within the context of the IGF joint industrial research programme. 27 long applications for research funding were forwarded to the German Federation of Industrial Research Associations (AiF), while 28 projects with a total volume of just under seven million euros are currently ongoing and were funded to the tune of three million euros in 2018.

The Research Council had its own session at the 35th International Supply Chain Conference in the form of a Science Pitch moderated by Vice-Chairman Dr.-Ing. Volker Jungbluth, and this session was streamed live on the Internet. The Council worked closely with the Scientific Advisory Board in the preparations for the Science Pitch.