Automotive Logistics Forum

    VDA-President Hildegard Müller: "Successful change requires competitiveness through location policy, strategy and openness to technology"



    Herzogenaurach, June 20, 2023

    Automotive logistics event opened in Herzogenaurach - logistics as a mainstay for successful change and progress - location increasingly lagging behind requirements - lack of competitiveness impedes transformation - lack of staff becoming a central challenge

    The 11th Automotive Logistics Forum was opened in Herzogenaurach under the motto "Logistics is changing - ready to transform!?". Over the next two days, the German Association of the Automotive Industry (VDA) and the German Logistics Association (BVL) will bring the pacesetters from logistics, supply chain management and automobile production to the stage at the largest event of its kind in Europe. Speakers from OEMs, suppliers, logistics service providers, consulting firms and research will share experiences, information and backdrops, assessments and forecasts.

    VDA President Hildegard Müller: "The situation is challenging for the industry. In addition to overcoming acute crises, we are increasingly confronted with fundamental, sometimes drastic changes: The triad of technological change, demographic change and the drastic geopolitical upheavals is challenging the industry enormously in the midst of its greatest transformation. It is not to be taken for granted, but rather admirable how our companies, especially logistics, continuously master this change with ingenuity, flexibility and determination."

    To illustrate the extent of the challenge: In a few years, the industry will have to change its grown, successful business model. Companies do this with maximum determination. But that alone is not enough: While international location competition is becoming increasingly fierce, Berlin and Brussels often lack speed and practical concepts. "Politics is getting lost in more and more rules, more requirements - and when there is help, it is often with maximum bureaucracy," says Müller.

    "Successful change requires maximum competitiveness through location policy, overarching strategies and openness to technology. Instead, Berlin and Brussels too often rely on regulation and are increasingly restricting the economy," explains Müller and demands: "Less red tape, simpler and faster planning and approval procedures, a secure supply of energy and raw materials are needed now. The same goes for a regulatory policy open to technology companies and unleashing their innovations instead of slowing them down with regulations. We must remain attractive as an investment, innovation and production location."

    It also became clear that the shortage of personnel is currently one of the greatest challenges in automotive logistics: "We are an impressive and innovative industry that thinks sustainability and digitization together, develops future technologies and promotes the change to climate neutrality. With this self-confidence, we want to resolutely acquire the creative minds of the future," says Müller.

    Re-globalization instead of de-globalization
    In view of the acute challenges, the BVL CEO Prof. Dr.-Ing. Thomas Wimmer calls for a clear commitment to globalization and free world trade: "In order to master the sobering reality of crises as the 'new normal' with all their challenges and to seize the opportunities, we must also commit to a clear re-globalization agenda. The guiding principle here: as autonomous as necessary and as open, global and market-oriented as possible".

    In this context, Müller demanded: "Berlin and Brussels must now invest in an industrial ecosystem for electromobility in order to maintain our competitive advantage. This ecosystem must include mining companies, manufacturers of battery cells, battery systems, semiconductors and equipment for the aforementioned industries. We will not and cannot be fully self-sufficient, but we will need to create a significant European market share."

    In his keynote speech, Andreas Schick, Member of the Board of Management responsible for Production, Supply Chain Management and Purchasing at Schaeffler AG, emphasized that a strategic approach to the current challenges is crucial: "The global logistics sector, which has been under pressure for a long time, needs a holistic view of the entire value chain and needs courage and innovative strength for transformation to build new delivery structures and resilient supply chains. The automotive logistics forum offers space for conferencing about approaches to action and discussing current developments and trends relating to automotive supply chains."

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