Prof. Dr.-Ing. Thomas Wimmer, Chairman of the Executive Board, BVL International. Photo by BVL International.
Current developments in logistics, automation and IoT – these are questions that we have asked Prof. Dr.-Ing. Thomas Wimmer, Chairman of the Executive Board, BVL International. Let you read his interesting answers below and imagine the fascinating changes our world is currently undergoing – along with logistics.
What do you see as the main current themes and difficulties of logistics in Germany and in Europe?
The latest BVL study on trends and strategies in logistics and supply chain management sees the most important external factors acting on companies as the following:
The trends for which the companies themselves are the primary drivers are:
What role will play advancing automation and IoT in logistics?
The digital transformation has already resulted in lasting changes to communication and consumer behaviour. Correspondence is now handled online, goods ordered online and customer relationship management practised globally via the cloud as a matter of course. These changed processes have a major influence on processes in logistics. New technologies are already available as the basis for changed business processes. This means the technology is in place to meet the ever-increasing demand of customers for greater individualisation of products and services.
The precondition for this, however, is transparency in the supply chain. There are still too many customised and evolution-driven IT structures – and this will create major challenges in the transition to new processes and collaboration in value added chains. Inter-faces must be improved and front-to-end data management must become the norm. The creation of a comprehensive data basis generates a competitive edge for all actors involved in the process in the long term and is therefore a meaningful strategic investment.
Once this data basis is in place, data exchange then plays a central role. Transport data, demand forecasts, data on disruptions to material flows and cost breakdown data are good examples of this. In many cases, this data must first be standardised so that it can be shared with multiple actors along value added chains, as this is the only way that companies will be able to master complexity across different interfaces and implement new business models – involving changes to sales channels for example, or collaboration between the partners in question.
Last but not least, these new paths will only lead the way to the desired goal if the employees are also on board. The ability to think in terms of processes with a systematic focus on the customer will become ever more important. The work of humans and machines will increasingly complement each other.
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