Commentary by Prof. Dr.-Ing. Raimund Klinkner, Chairman of the Board, BVL International
The world is in motion, this is a time of different thinking and digital action – which makes it all the more important to possess a reliable compass. Since 2008, the Logistics Indicator of BVL has served as a valuable tool for strategists and planners in logistics. It helps them to find their bearings and acts as a seismograph for a highly internationally interlinked sector of the economy that employs more than three million people in Germany.
After nine years of successful cooperation with the German Institute for Economic Research (DIW) and the Kiel Institute for the World Economy (IfW), the BVL is now developing the Logistics Indicator further together with the ifo Institute – Leibniz Institute for Economic Research at Munich University – using a considerably expanded data basis that will further enhance the robustness and validity of the Indicator. The Scientific Director is Prof. Dr. Timo Wollmershäuser, and this collaboration with the ifo Institute permits us to integrate the BVL Logistics Indicator with the ifo Business Climate Index, thereby ensuring improved comparability and allowing us to more effectively determine the position and status of logistics relative to other sectors of the economy.
The first evaluation using the new data basis is available in good time for the 34th International Supply Chain Conference. Following the slight slowdown in the summer of 2017, the business climate in the logistics sector has now climbed to its highest level in six years.
The big optimists in the September 2017 survey for the Logistics Indicator are the logistics service providers, with both current situation scores and expectations on an uptrend. The relevant scores for industry and trade are on a par with the summer, albeit down slightly month on month. On the whole, this means that the business climate is favourable, the demand for personnel is increasing, and prices are likely to rise. The logistics sector is on a steady course.
Assessments of the current business situation are better than at any time since the beginning of 2008, and it is three and a half years since business expectations have been this positive. Then as now, events were predominantly shaped by volatility, customer expectations and the pressure of costs driven by global competition – as well as serious political crises. These are the challenges that the economy must master today and probably also tomorrow. Digitisation calls for flexibility and the willingness to accept change. The preconditions for this are excellent.
The overall economic outlook is outstanding. At the end of September, five economic research institutes, among them the ifo Institute, published their joint autumn 2017 forecast. They found that the uptrend in the Germany economy has become stronger and more broadly based. This finding was confirmed by the autumn projection published by the German Economics Ministry.
The logistics sector makes a solid contribution to this dynamic trend. As the organiser of the 34th International Supply Chain Conference, we are looking forward to showcasing success stories in presentations, discussions and workshops – and providing ideas and inspiration for future development.