Press Releases

Automotive Logistics enters digital dimensions

Bremen, 14 February 2017

Forum Automotive Logistics in Bremen with around 530 participants

“Digitization will significantly change the way we build cars. The automotive industry is working intensively to bring about consistent digital connectivity throughout our supply chain. Automotive logistics is a major success factor – in the future it will have to process previously unimagined quantities of information more efficiently and faster than ever before,” said Matthias Wissmann, President of the German Association of the Automotive Industry (VDA), at the Forum Automotive Logistics in Bremen. The German Logistics Association (BVL) and the VDA have now organized the forum jointly for the fifth time. Around 530 participants and 60 exhibitors have come to Bremen for expert discussions in the Mercedes-Benz Customer Centre. The event is the largest meeting of the automotive logistics sector in Europe.

Wissmann continued, “New generations of customers have wishes that are more and more individual. These customers are less often willing to wait months for a car. To continue operating in this paradigm shift the automotive logistics specialists are working on a digitally connected, highly transparent supply chain. Our industry is in the best position to tackle this task: we have already mastered the management of production networks with thousands of suppliers and complex flows of goods. This works only because manufacturers, suppliers and logistics providers have been cooperating closely as partners for years.”

Wissmann identified globally increasing protectionism as today’s greatest challenge to the German automotive industry’s worldwide production network. “We see the new situation in America, the approaching Brexit and over 1,000 protectionist measures by individual countries around the world as cause for concern. We in Germany have to rise against this, because our prosperity and employment depend heavily on open, free trade.”

“The central pillar of the automotive industry’s global success is its drive for innovation,” explained Prof. Raimund Klinkner, Chairman of the Board of BVL, at the forum. “The digital transformation of the automotive value-creation networks has picked up speed.”

The lectures at the Forum Automotive Logistics 2017 are all inspired by the slogan “Smart instead of reactive – on the way to digital dimensions” and their content reflects this trend. The speakers are representatives of the OEMs and their suppliers. Highlights of the first day were the keynote presentations by Alexander Koesling (Mercedes-Benz Cars) and Frank Dreeke (BLG Logistics). Koesling spoke on production and logistics at Mercedes-Benz Cars in the digital age. BLG Logistics Group Chairman Dreeke addressed smart applications in contract logistics.

The following panel discussion examined how data or knowledge can be obtained from information.

In the afternoon the participants could choose between two parallel sessions and hear more about either efficiency in transport management using IT-based systems, or the changes triggered by digitization and robotics at the workplace. Back in the plenary, logistics experts from various sectors provided insights into their excellently modeled processes in production and logistics. And finally, the VDA Logistics Award was presented at the evening event.

On the second day of the forum BVL Board Chairman Prof. Raimund Klinkner, who is also Managing Partner of the Institute for Manufacturing Excellence (IMX) in Munich, will deliver the day’s first keynote lecture on the subject of “Steering integrated production using visual management.” With a view to holistic visual management of fulfillment processes, he and his team have developed the Operational Excellence Application (OPX App). “We believe in the future of mobile devices in factory operations, because they decentralize intelligence,” Klinkner says and adds: “Digitization and data availability in real time can be used to make logistical and production processes more flexible and efficient, which will result in competitive advantages in the sense of customer orientation.”

Frank Wiemer, member of the Management Board at REWE, will then invite participants to look beyond their own horizons, and will divulge the ideas the industry can take home from “Trade 4.0.” Two more parallel sessions will be dedicated to the status of autonomous logistics in vehicles and processes, and to technological advances. What motivates the properties of which technology? Can innovations from other sectors be transferred to automotive logistics?

To put visitors in the mood for the site visits at the end of the forum, Dr. Joachim Damasky, VDA Managing Director Technology and Environment, and Peter Theurer, Site Manager of the Mercedes-Benz plant Bremen, will give presentations on efficiency in the supply chain. Then the participants can experience modern automotive production live during a walking tour through the production halls of the Bremen facility. The plant has the highest production quantity in the Daimler Group and is a world center of competence for the C-Class. Two other tours have also been organized – to the BLG auto terminal in Bremerhaven and the DB Cargo Logistics auto terminal in Bremen.


Eckehart Rotter, German Association of the Automotive Industry (VDA), Press Department

Tel.: +49 30 897842-120; e-mail:; Internet:

Ulrike Grünrock-Kern, German Logistics Association (BVL), Corporate Communications

Tel.: +49 421 1738421; e-mail:; Internet:

Eckehart Rotter
Eckehart Rotter Head of Department Press

Tel: +49 30 897842-120 Fax: +49 30 897842-603
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