Effectiveness and Ecology Fit Together Perfectly; LOGISTIC NEWS interview with ELA vicepresident Thomas Wimmer
Prof. Dr.-Ing. Thomas Wimmer came to SpeedCHAIN 2019 as a representative of the German logistics association Bundesvereinigung Logistik (BVL) and vice-president of the European Logistics Association (ELA). His presentation focused on Urban Logistics and a Modern Society. He answered our questions not only about the next important step for the European logistics.
In your presentation given at SpeedCHAIN 2019 conference, you stressed the necessity of cooperation between individual professions, politicians and logisticians and other groups. Do you think it is already happening now or is it just the “music of the future”?
No, it is not music of the future, it is just happening. It is the work of BVL in Germany to support this kind of partnerships: we have dedicated focus groups where people from all parties meet and try to connect themselves and to exchange information. But it does not mean only listening to each other, it is more about the effort to really understand each other and once you have understood, to develop ideas together with your discussion partners.
In what direction should the discussions go?
I think that entities such as the Czech or German logistics organizations are on the same level. They might be bigger or smaller in terms of membership, but their experts are on the same level. That is why they should talk to each other on platforms such as the European Logistics Associations (ELA) where they can discuss, take part in board meetings and special events where they can exchange information. They can naturally also visit each other, just like I am visiting our Czech colleagues here at the SpeedCHAIN conference in Prague. I am deeply impressed how seriously and intelligently logistics is developed here.
What should be the next important step for logistics on the European level?
I think that many people do not understand what is happening in Brussels. It would be very helpful to establish a kind of networking between Brussels politicians and representatives of economies from the individual European countries. As I have already mentioned, to help them really understand each other and develop common ideas together.
Do you think that common people understand what logistics is about?
I think this is a major problem. Once I gave an interview to a German newspaper and I tried to speak real basic German with no logistic terms and expressions. After the article was published, a friend of mine called me: “Thomas, it was a wonderful interview, but I read only the first part and then I understood nothing more.” We logisticians should try to find a new language that can be understood by everybody and we should talk very positively about what is happening in logistics. If people don’t understand that ordering a parcel and delivering a parcel includes multiple logistic tasks, it is critical for our passion. That is why we try to communicate so much. In Germany we started an online initiative called “Die Wirtschaftsmacher” (www.die-wirtschaftsmacher.de) where we try to spread positive information about what is happening in logistics.
There is a big contradiction between what people expect from future city centres (green city, no cars) and their wish to get their online orders delivered almost immediately? Do people realize that?
The situation is similar to a situation of a breakfast cereal producer. In surveys, people say they want the healthiest breakfast possible, BIO and sugar-free. And what do they go for in the supermarket? The chocolate cereal! The same is happening in logistics. People want to have the goods they ordered in 2-3 hours, maximally on the next day but they cannot imagine what needs to be done to meet this kind of expectations.
“We logisticians should try to find a new language that can be understood by everybody and we should talk very positively about what is happening in logistics. If people don’t understand that ordering a parcel and delivering a parcel includes multiple logistic tasks, it is critical for our passion. That is why we try to communicate so much.”Thomas Wimmer, vice-president of the European Logistics Association
“We logisticians should try to find a new language that can be understood by everybody and we should talk very positively about what is happening in logistics. If people don’t understand that ordering a parcel and delivering a parcel includes multiple logistic tasks, it is critical for our passion. That is why we try to communicate so much.”
Can logistics go hand in hand with the current environmental efforts and the fight against climate change?
It must go hand in hand! Logisticians always try to be effective. They never go around with their trucks just for fun. It’s always on customer order. Fulfilling customer orders is our task. And another one is to protect the environment, use resources optimally. If you use less resources, also your business results are better. Effectiveness and ecology fit together perfectly.
You are the vice-president of ELA. What are your responsibilities in the organization?
ELA associates 30 national logistics associations in Europe. The main purpose is to connect members and exchange knowledge. I am one of the three vice-presidents and my task is to help ELA in bringing useful information to ELA members from Brussels and information from the field of logistics to the politicians. I contribute to organize the exchange of information – what else can you expect from a German person than to try to organizing things all the time?
Are there any training and education activities of ELA that might be interesting to members?
There are many initiatives under the umbrella of ECBL, the European Certification Board on Logistics. The European certification makes complete sense – if you e.g. hire a Ukrainian logistician in the Czech Republic, you want his level of knowledge to meet the European standard.
What would you say to young people who would be interested in logistics? What is the best thing about logistics?
I would say: “Do it!” It is not easy to say what the best part of logistics is. It very much depends on your interests: if you like math, you can work in IT, if you studied engineering, you can design systems, etc. The horizon of logistics is so wide. One thing is sure: everybody can find dedicated places in logistics.
Any recommendation for women who would be interested in logistics?
In Germany we try to promote the work of women in logistics. When I started to work for BVL 20 years ago, we had about 7- 8 percent of women, now we are very proud to say we have more than 20 %. But it is still not 50%. We are intensively working on it. BVL has a group called “Ladies in Logistics” and they meet regularly during our events or organize their own events. As digitalization progresses, women have more opportunities to combine work in logistics with their lives and their personal development. My message tos women is: You are more than welcome!
Source: Logistic News
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