Joint Press Release from VDA and BVL
Boldly drive innovation processes forward
“The opportunities and challenges of digitization are real. We must grasp them and continue developing our business models. That is precisely what this Forum Automotive Logistics is about,” said Bernhard Mattes, President of the German Association of the Automotive Industry (VDA), at the Forum Automotive Logistics in Munich. The two-day event (Feb. 5 and 6, 2019) is the largest European meeting for automotive logistics. The German Logistics Association (BVL) and the VDA are organizing the forum for the seventh time. Around 530 participants and 50 exhibitors have gathered in the “BMW Welt.” Mattes pointed out, “Here modern automotive logistics is at the cutting edge: the automotive supply chain we have created is a unique, complex and optimally dovetailed network of OEMs, suppliers and service providers. Alongside the quality of our products, this network is the foundation for the success of the German automotive industry.”
Mattes also stressed, “Piece by piece we are updating and improving the processes in the supply chain with innovative solutions and projects. For example, we consistently exploit the possibilities offered by digitization. We are convinced that the future of logistics and production, and of the automobile itself, is digital. Artificial intelligence (AI) will play a decisive role on the path to automated and autonomous driving. It offers the automotive industry huge potentials: fewer accidents, smoother traffic flow, traffic management that learns, and connectivity with all modes of transport. Around half of the world's patents for connected and automated driving come from German businesses, putting them at the top of the international ranking. Digitization also means that manufacturers and suppliers are becoming mobility service providers and they are developing new mobility solutions. Car-sharing, ride-pooling, mobility platforms and mobility apps are just the beginning. The mobility of the future can only pick up speed if appropriate general conditions are in place. In the case of electric mobility, that means establishing and expanding a high-capacity charging infrastructure. For connected, automated and autonomous driving we need the relevant digital infrastructure.”
BVL Board Chairman Robert Blackburn will deliver a keynote lecture on the second day of the forum (Feb. 6) about the opportunities and prospects resulting from real-time management – a topic that is currently right at the top of the agenda in many sectors. “Real-time control is a basic prerequisite for an Industry 4.0 ‘smart factory’ even allowing economic production, for example, of individual customized products and ‘batch size 1’,” says Blackburn. But for this, all the relevant data have to be available to all parties involved immediately and at any time – a comprehensive exchange of data everywhere. Blackburn adds, “This means that real-time control is only possible between partners. It cannot be created unilaterally. It will be important for players to work together as peers in network structures if they are to maintain their success in the future.”
Key topics for this year’s forum include automation and digitization at all stages of the value chain, production planning and management – in view of ever greater customization – and the possibilities presented by intelligent connectivity and data exchange in real time, e.g. improving sustainability or optimizing the demanding aftermarket supply chain. These topics will be covered by logistics experts from the automotive manufacturers and suppliers, management consultants and scientists.
Three keynote speakers kicked off the first day of the meeting. Oliver Zipse, Member of the Board of Management at BMW, described how value flows can be designed to be intelligent, from the beginning all the way to the customer. The Deputy Chairman of Robert Bosch GmbH, Prof. Stefan Asenkerschbaumer, spoke on why supply chains should be digitized and connected. Dr. Jörg Mosolf, Chairman of the Board at the Mosolf Group, explained that despite all digitization it would still be human beings that shape value creation.
Logistics is becoming more complex especially in the automotive industry, due to the large number of variants, fluctuating quantities, and a growing number of players. In the plenary session on “Digital transport management” experts cited concrete examples illustrating how innovative technologies can be deployed to make this complexity manageable. The speakers included doctoral student Dana Clauer from the Technical University of Munich and Dr. Thomas Irrenhauser from BMW, who described the status of developments in using autonomous transport systems on factory premises.
In the afternoon the participants could choose between two blocks of lectures. One was devoted to “Automated logistics” and the way it is revolutionizing production processes. The other probed the challenging subject of the “Aftermarket” and the question of what potentials can be tapped into there using Big Data. The evening event includes the presentation of the VDA Logistics Award.
The second day of the forum (Feb. 6) will start with a keynote lecture by Dr. Robert Engelhorn, Director of BMW’s main factory in Munich. He will present the special logistics concept that is necessary for operating an automotive plant of this size in the heart of a major city. BVL Board Chairman Robert Blackburn will take a multi-sector viewpoint in describing the opportunities and prospects that result from real-time control. Then the winner of the VDA Logistic Award will present the winning project.
How will the global economy develop and what will become of Germany? This question will be the subject for Prof. Hans-Werner Sinn, former President of the Ifo Institute for Economic Research.
The two-day event will close with an opportunity to gain exclusive insights into practical logistics. In addition to the BMW facility, the participants will be able to visit the Development Center at Knorr-Bremse, the MAN Truck & Bus plant or the depot of the AmazonFresh food delivery service.
German Logistics Association (BVL)
Tel.: +49 421 1738423
German Association of the Automotive Industry (VDA)
Tel.: +49 30 897842-125