Sector, theme and special-topic forums

Pushing ahead boldly with innovation processes

Host Oliver Zipse, CEO of BMW, during his keynote before the plenary session of the Forum Automotive Logistics

Host Oliver Zipse, CEO of BMW, during his keynote before the plenary session of the Forum Automotive Logistics

“The opportunities presented and the challenges created by digitalization are real. We need to understand them and to develop
our business models accordingly”, said Bernhard Mattes, President of the German Association of the Automotive Industry (VDA) in the opening session. “Modern automotive logistics is at the heart of this endeavour”, Mattes continued. “In the automotive  supply chain, we have created a unique, complex and perfectly interwoven network of vehicle manufacturers, component suppliers and service providers. Alongside the quality of our products, it is this network that forms the foundation of the success of the German automotive industry.”

The first day of the event kicked off with presentations by three keynote speakers: host Oliver Zipse, formerly a member of and
today Chairman of the Board of Management at BMW, outlined how value streams can be intelligently organised – from the
very beginning all the way through to the customer. Prof. Stefan Asenkerschbaumer, Deputy Chairman of the Board of Management at Robert Bosch GmbH, explained Pushing ahead boldly with innovation processes why supply chains should be digitalized and interconnected. And Dr. Jörg Mosolf, Managing Partner of the Mosolf Group, said that, for all the importance of digitalization, it will in future still be people who shape value added processes.

On the second day of the Forum, BVL President Robert Blackburn held a keynote on the outlook for and the potential of real-time control – a topic that is currently high up on the agenda in all sectors. “Real-time control is a basic precondition for the smart factory in the era of Industry 4.0 – for the kind of technology that permits cost-effective production all the way down to batch size 1 even in cases where the customer has highly specific preferences”, said Blackburn. He added that, in order to achieve this, all the relevant data must be available to all participants immediately and at all times, and that comprehensive full-scale data exchange must be reliably ensured. Blackburn: “In other words, real-time control is only possible through partnership. It is not something that can be dictated by one side only. If we are to continue to be successful in future, it is important that we cooperate on equal terms in a networked environment.”

The central topics at this year’s Forum included automation and digitalization in all stages of the value added chain, production
planning and control – also in view of ever more individual customer preferences – and the options created by intelligent interconnection and data exchange in real time, such as greater sustainability or the optimisation of the complex aftermarket supply chain. These topics were addressed by logistics experts from the automotive producers and component suppliers as well as business consultants and researchers.

The two-day event was rounded off by an opportunity to gain exclusive insights into real-world logistics. In addition to visiting the BMW factory, participants also had the chance to enjoy a tour of the development centre of Knorr-Bremse, the plant of MAN Truck & Bus or the depot of food delivery service Amazon Fresh.

Attendees listened with great interest to the presentations at the Trade Logistics Congress in Cologne in March of this year.

Attendees listened with great interest to the presentations at the Trade Logistics Congress in Cologne in March of this year.

Trade Logistics Congress

Insights into the trading world of the future

In 2019, BVL joined EHI, GS1 Germany and the German Brands Association as a further partner in the staging of the “Log” Trade Logistics Congress, ensuring that attendees can take advantage of a broader range of topics, speakers and hands-on resentations.

BVL’s first-time involvement was a complete success, with the event enjoying a record attendance of roughly 430 participants. Individualised customer preferences, shorter planning times and fluctuating demand situations are just three of many factors that create new challenges for trading companies practically on a daily basis. Companies who want to successfully manage the ever more complex and dynamic logistics structures in the trading sector must also and increasingly address topics like growing personnel shortages in logistics centres, the numerous options for cooperation along the supply chain and the logistical challenges of cross-channel trading activities.

Prof. Michael ten Hompel, Executive Director of the Fraunhofer Institute for Material Flow and Logistics IML, sees the topic of artificial intelligence as being equally significant. “It has the potential to turn logistics in the trading sector on its head.” Future scenarios in which 30 machines discuss the best way to pick products with a two-finger grabber are by no means unrealistic for the widely respected Dortmund-based logistics researcher. “Robots will be able to learn from each other in future”; said ten Hompel, with every robot that shares its knowledge moving up the machine pecking order.

Trust, technology, blockchain and last mile logistics were the most talked-about trading buzzwords at the event in Cologne. Robert Köbsch for example, Head of Supply Chain & Logistics at Edeka-owned food delivery service Bringmeister, presented an intelligent concept for the delivery of fresh products directly to the fridge, while Stephan Wohler from Edeka’s Minden-Hannover regional company outlined a logistics concept based on faster product availability and lean processes to give the consumer the best possible shopping experience.

Representatives of Hamburg-based Beiersdorf AG and drugstore giant DM also used the Trade Logistics Congress to present the initial findings of the pilot project for load carrier management using blockchain technology initiated by GS1 Germany. The key aim of the cooperation project was to replace the commonplace practice of paper-based step-by-step pallet exchange using pallet receipts with a far more efficient blockchain procedure. The initial verdict of the project participants was that this technology has a great deal of potential. The next steps in the project will involve defining further application cases.

Forum Chemical Logistics

Securing in-house know-how

The Forum Chemical Logistics of BVL took place in mid-May at the BASF location in Schwarzheide and the German Hygiene Museum in Dresden with the core topic “Using Resources Efficiently”.

Speaking to the some 140 attendees, host Dr. Colin von Ettingshausen, Commercial Managing Director & Director of Labour
Relations at BASF Schwarzheide, emphasised that “this location has the potential to be the first port of call for the new Silk
Road and to develop into a logistics hub.” When it comes to resources, the aim in Schwarzheide – as in other chemical locations – is to attract and retain qualified personnel. Thomas Schmidt (Infraserv Logistics) reported on the measures taken to this end at the Frankfurt location.

The starting point for a panel discussion chaired by Prof. Thomas Wimmer was the new chemical logistics study 2019 conducted by Miebach Consulting. The study shows that logistics really is a key factor in the success of companies, and it documents a certain amount of scepticism and reservations regarding the application of 4PL concepts. This scepticism is mainly driven by concerns about the loss of in-house knowhow due to the outsourcing of management tasks. Panel members Dr. Klaus-Peter Jung (Miebach), Constantin Reuter (Camelot), Berthold Jesse (DB Cargo BTT), Dr. Andreas Backhaus (BASF) and Albert Schönecker (Covestro) confirmed these fears.

Forum Spare Parts Logistics

Spare parts logistics: wide range of options for optimisation

It’s probably fair to say that just about every spare parts logistics manager faces stretched personnel resources, a lack of storage space and limited funds. At the Forum Spare Parts Logistics on April 4 in Nuremberg, the 200 or so attendees talked about ways to press on with innovations despite these challenges. Prof. Alexander Martin from Erlangen-Nuremberg University spoke about using data analytics to improve entry into storage, stocking levels and delivery networks. “The influence of the availability, quantity and quality of data on the success of many projects should not be underestimated”, said the logistics researcher. Other speakers called attention to the effective use of artificial intelligence and underlined the importance of improving stock management concepts. According to VW logistics expert Matthias Heppding, obsolete spare parts can be identified and discontinued with the help of KPI reviews, process audits, order measurement, scrappage budgets and other measures.

The spectrum of optimisation measures ranges from lower component prices for customers who are still buying parts on the grey market through to the complete digital transformation of logistics processes. Outsourcing to a service provider can also be a recipe for success, as outlined by Helge Ketels, Head of Material Support & Optimization at Nordex Energy. “The precondition is exact documentation of the master and motion data as well as of all work processes including emergency solutions”, said the wind turbine logistics expert.