Press Releases

Europe’s most important forum for automotive logistics points the way

Berlin, 24 January 2013

“The first ever Automotive Logistics Forum has got off to a flying start. By attracting over 500 participants the event has far exceeded our expectations,” said Matthias Wissmann, President of the German Association of the Automotive Industry (VDA), speaking in Munich. The Automotive Logistics Forum was organised jointly by the VDA and the German Logistics Association (BVL) for the first time. “The VDA and the BVL have thus created Europe’s most important forum for logistics in the automotive industry. The event is pointing the way forward for the continuing development of automotive production logistics. Our decision to hold a joint VDA and BVL event is clearly shown to be the right one.” Wissmann also spoke about the most important challenges for automotive production logistics: “The production networks in the German automotive industry are thus becoming ever more global and more interlinked. Last year foreign production by German passenger car makers rose to 7.7 million new cars. Then we also had 5.4 million cars built at home.” He added that parts and components for a vehicle often came from different continents, and were delivered directly to the production lines by the suppliers just-in-time and frequently also just-in-sequence. “Mastering this complex system is the task of production logistics,” Wissmann said.

The second day of the Automotive Logistics Forum was opened by BVL Chairman Prof. Raimund Klinkner. He, too, was very pleased with the course of the first joint event. “For ten years the BVL developed its Industry Forum to kick off each year for the large community of automotive logistics experts. We are delighted that we are now continuing this success history together with the VDA, and are once again expanding our horizons,” Klinkner said. In his keynote speech he talked about the initial results from the recent international BVL study entitled “Trends and strategies in logistics.” He named “increasing customer expectations, rising cost pressure and greater market volatility” as some of the major trends pinpointed during 60 interviews with executives. “There is much more focus on risk management,” Klinkner explained. “The topics of sustainability and intercultural management, on the other hand, are already almost taken for granted – and are no longer seen as key issues by the majority of respondents.” He said success depended on improving how one dealt with internal and external risks. In most cases concepts were being sought that included the whole network.

This is the first ever Automotive Logistics Forum organised jointly by the VDA and the BVL. It is being held with the slogan “Mastering complexity” on 23 and 24 January 2013 in the MAN Truck Forum in Munich. The previous events – the BVL’s Industry Forum Automotive Logistics and the VDA’s Logistics Congress – have been merged into a European summit meeting of logistics experts in the automotive industry.

VDA Logistics Award goes to BorgWarner BERU Systems GmbH

BorgWarner BERU Systems GmbH has won the VDA Logistics Award 2013. The company based in Ludwigsburg, near Stuttgart, was awarded the prize by the VDA at the Automotive Logistics Forum for a concept for “automated early recognition of suppliers’ risks.” The automotive supplier has developed a system that uses the most advanced mathematical methods to make fully automated forecasts of developments in supply performance and suppliers’ risks. The VDA’s annual Logistics Award honours innovative logistics concepts in the automotive supply chain.

BorgWarner BERU explained that the initial idea for the development was not only to respond to failed supplies, but also to be able to predict them. Evaluation of existing massed data using modern mathematical methods in artificial intelligence now enables BorgWarner BERU to control supply performance proactively and to minimise risks in advance. The company added that the new system called “Lieferantenperformancemonitor 3.0” (“Supplier Performance Monitor 3.0”) was supported by information such as deliveries and the reliability of quantities and punctuality. The “mathematical heart” of the system was the “Hidden Markov” model taken from stochastic theory. This was used to calculate a supplier’s actual situation from the large quantity of data. The firm added that the model is already being used in Internet marketing and in computer linguistics – and at BorgWarner BERU it is now being applied in micro-economics for the first time. Breakthrough success had already been achieved with the new Supplier Performance Monitor. For example, suppliers’ performance and robustness have been improved. This has increased security of supply and the stability of the supply chain.

Wissmann stressed, “With this award the jury has paid tribute to a pioneering concept. For the first time ever an industrial company is able to reliably forecast the performance of suppliers.” He continued, “The award can turn outstanding, innovative logistics concepts into role models and a stimulus for all companies that are themselves searching for creative and intelligent logistical solutions. Such concepts make an important contribution to improving the competitiveness of the German automotive industry.”

Around 50 speakers and presenters

In addition to the main lectures, the attendees at the forum can examine individual aspects of logistics in the automotive industry in ten differed themed sessions. With around 50 speakers, the event offers a high-quality programme with a comprehensive range of technical subjects. On the first day its main focuses were cloud computing, the aftermarket, standardisation of packaging, the digital factory, multimodal transport, and car ID and RFID (automatic radio-frequency identification of production parts). The second day offers not only lectures on complexity and volatility, and the challenges in supplying raw materials, but also a panel discussion tackling the question of how sustainability impacts on complexity. In the afternoon there will be two parallel sessions on reducing costs and shifts in the sales markets.

In addition to the lectures and discussions, visitors can join exciting guided tours. MAN is opening the doors of its Munich truck plant, where guests can follow the complex assembly all the way to the finished truck. Another option is the MAN Parts Distribution Center – a central warehouse holding 27,000 articles, where three million items are picked every year. Furthermore, the family business F.X. Meiller Fahrzeug- und Maschinenfabrik GmbH & Co KG is inviting visitors to its production plant in Munich.

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