The transport- and logistics industry’s middle class should be using their data in regards to digitization more intensively and with more courage in order to remain competitive.
This is the result of the panel called “Location factor digitization: How is the logistics market changing?”, held by the German Transport Forum (DVF) at the trade fair transport logistic in Munich, moderated by Matthias Rathmann, editor in chief of trade magazine trans aktuell. Company management should make it clear again and again during the implementation that they fully support digitization.
Companies must provide money and personnel for this process, said Ulrich Wrage, executive of Hamburg-based Dakosy Datenkommunikationssysteme AG. “Logistics aren’t Whatsapp.” The message is: get started and taking risks at times, emphasized the Dakosy spokesperson. Waiting for the digital Messiah is the worst solution because he’s never going to show up. But shipping agents are setting things in motion with their demands.
Ivo Körner, IBM Germany and member of DVF-committee DVF said that many companies are much too hesitant when it comes to the use of data. This jeopardizes temporal competitive edges. But first it is necessary to figure out which data is available, Hansjörg Rodi, Chairman of the Executive Board Germany and Central- and Eastern Europe region, Kühne + Nagel (AG & Co. KG) pointed out. If a company were digitized end-to-end and internal processes used more efficiently, the customer would also profit, says the member of DVF-committee DVF. It should become much easier to do business with logistics service providers in the future.
Contrary to popular belief, there is no lack of standards to future development, Wrage stressed. There is nothing at the Hamburg harbor that prevents companies from working together. Dakosy managed to connect 2,500 companies on one platform there. “You just have to take the leap,” DB Cargo-boss Jürgen Wilder disagrees. In rail freight transport, for instance, missing standards for the use of train drivers and for signaling are significant cost drivers. Kühne + Nagel, on the other hand, have bid farewell to setting a single standard, said Rodi. “We’re flexible when it comes to connecting all kinds of standards.”
They did agree upon the fact that digitization can open up new business segments, which is also why the topic shouldn’t be postponed. Gerhard Schulz, Federal Ministry of Transport representative, emphasized the necessity of confronting the topic digitization as quickly as possible. “Technologically we’ve come incredibly far,” he said. But acceptance for the implementation must also be seen to in day-to-day life. “I get the impression that many are on the right track.”
The problem of data protection and security remains. Tough negotiations are being fought out with the Ministry of Interior, said Schulz. “We’re currently fighting to not burden traffic and logistics too much.” IBM-spokesman Körner warned of over-regulation. Too many requirements are a critical issue especially for small companies. “You can nip it all in the bud with the security topic alone,” he said. Dakosy-executive Wrage wants to see the manufacturers of IT-components made more accountable on the issue of security. He also advises companies to simulate the emergency of an attack on their digital structures. Because if IP-telephony no longer works, only radios will remain to help with communication.