An exciting kick-off for the digital conference program of transport logistic (tl) Munich, the world's largest logistics trade fair, held completely online for the first time. More than 650 participants joined the Logistics Alliance Germany (LAG) forum titled “Transformation in logistics – the success factor for international markets,” held on May 4, 2021.
Steffen Bilger, MdB, Parliamentary State Secretary at the Federal Ministry of Transport and Digital Infrastructure and Government Coordinator for Freight Transport and Logistics, gave an introduction into the topic at hand.
A highlight was the keynote from Prof. Michael ten Hompel, managing director of the Fraunhofer Institute for Material Flow and Logistics (#IML). Prof. ten Hompel shared his outlook on the future with the digital possibilities for logistics in the Silicon Economy, sharpened with the thesis, “Digitization and logistics – the world is too complex to leave thinking to people alone!” According to him, revolutionary developmental leaps in the field of Artificial Intelligence (AI) mean that the world is now no longer divided into east and west, but rather into digital and analog, especially in the B2B sector. Self-driving vehicles and image recognition are established technologies already being used in logistics. Developments are leading in the direction of a value-oriented internet.
These thoughts were gratefully taken up by the entrepreneur panel, who reported on practical digitization progress in their companies. Speakers included Axel Plaß, managing director of Hamburg’s Konrad Zippel GmbH & Co. KG. As the president of the German Association of Freight Forwarding and Logistics e.V. (DSLV), Plaß also emphasized the economic significance of new opportunities for the entire industry, though with the option for each company, depending on its size and area of activity, to select the most suitable applications from amongst the growing range of tools.
This impression was roundly supported by Philipp Ortwein, managing director of Berlin’s Instafreight GmbH, a completely digital freight forwarder that optimizes road and rail transport routes for its customers and looks after transport management. A major future topic for him is closer partnership models. For industry giants such as Deutsche Post DHL, digitalization has long been a reality. The concern not only monitors and analyzes global developments, but also develops a number of innovative applications itself, reported Ole Vollertsen, vice president Data Lake and Data Analytics. “AI is not a business model in itself, but it can make business models better,” he emphasized. “At the same time, we must never forget the people in all of our projects.”