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Digitization of logistics

Bitkom association points the way

Foto: Otto

At trade fair transport logistic, digital association Bitkom explains how digitization is revolutionizing the delivery chain.

12.05.2017 Carsten Nallinger

"From A to B – how digitization is revolutionizing the delivery chain" is the title of digital association Bitkom's forum at the trade fair transport logistic. To this purpose, they also offered a glimpse of things to come off the beaten path in Munich.

Marco Schmitt, Co-founder and Managing Director of Evertracker, is developing an IoT-Platform (Internet of Things) for logistics. Focal point hereby is the identification of movement patterns. In his opinion, logistics providers at the moment still focus far too much on their direct customers – meaning the shipping agents. When actually, they should be looking to the end customer's needs. "That's exactly the reason why Amazon is so successful," he explained.

Bundling shipments

Furthermore, Schmitt advocates the bundling of shipments instead of carrying one-time shipments from A to B – but bundling can only work with the help of software. In addition, the approach to the delivery chain is still too one-sided. For example, it's conceivable that a customer orders several products at the Edeka store while simultaneously ordering a pizza at the Italian restaurant. So the food is ordered at Edeka, and the pizza at the delivery service.

How then does both get to me? Delivery robots and drones aren't really the future for Schmitt. In his opinion, these will only partially be used. Rather, it involves the bundling of wares. They might even be delivered by taxi. But while the pizza is delivered to your home, the new Squash racket is delivered straight to the club, where it is needed.

Autonomously driving shuttles

Anne-Laure de Noblet, Head of Marketing at door2door, gave a glimpse into the future of passenger transport. Especially important hereby is the linking of autonomously driving shuttles with public transport. That would also manage the problem of the last mile. Cars already driving in that direction could be given matching shipments. "That is a real challenge," de Noblet explained. And yet it is feasible. The destination of the trip just has to be known before the start. A corresponding algorithm then figures out the rest.

A transport management system (TMS) from the cloud – that is concealed behind inet logistics. Oswald Werle, CEO of inet logistics, presented the advantages of such a solution. A lot of potential lies in the data analysis. "How else do I know in time that a Spanish supplier can’t deliver?" he asked the crowd. But also paperless processing isn't just a dream of the future anymore, thanks to tablet computers and smart-phones that have the proper app. Inet logistics, in turn, is betting on so-called social widgets to place their own solutions. In that case, track & trace would for example be possible via a messenger app.

The fusing of transports must also become possible company-wide, though. "All that is left today is a psychological obstacle," he stated. But Werle is sure that soon there will be no way around it, simply because of the overloaded infrastructure. "We're at approximately 60 percent capacity with our customers, and aiming at 80 percent," the inet logistics-boss reported. Roland Werner, Head of Government & Policy DACH at online placement service Uber, also looks beyond passenger cars. "We see ourselves as the advancement of mobility." Uber is thereby part of the mobility mix and closes the gap to public transport.

Uber app users drive from and to stations. Where possible, Uber hereby even partially combines trip requests of different users with minimal detours. "Everybody can get on or off wherever he wants to. But the combining of trips entails tremendous economical advantages."

In New York, Chicago and San Francisco, Uber brought together restaurants and delivery services with their own service Uber Eats. The placement service is testing a similar model with the service Uber Rush, which involves different goods. But this isn't Uber's only advance in the direction of logistics. Uber for example bought start-up Otto last year, which wants to equip conventional trucks with the technology for autonomous driving. "That's where the future is heading," Werner is sure.

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