The International Supply Chain Conference in Berlin ended on October 25. There were 3,207 participants this year: they experienced diversified and communicative days under the motto “Inspire – Encourage – Act”. The conference is now over – the challenges for the industry remain.
The theme was well-chosen, as some current issues are dimming the mood: sectors such as the automotive and chemical industries are not doing as well as they were last year which affects the prospects of logisticians. There are also political and economic risks that lower expectations. In addition, difficulties such as skills shortages and digital transformation continue to call a lot of attention. The 65-hour conference program including 150 speakers provided plenty of room to exchange views on the state of the economy and possible solutions – and perhaps allowed to encourage each other.
“It’s not the technologies that change the world, but the way people use them.”
Extensive discussions at the logistics congressAlso DB Schenker executives discussed possible solutions in forums and panel discussions. For example, Lisette Nap, Vice President of Ocean Solutions – Global Ocean Freight at Schenker AG, moderated a discussion on capacity management. Together with the participants, she explored the question of how smart current logistics solutions respond to current problems such as driver shortages or traffic congestion on the last mile.
The participants also dealt with the subject of the shortage of young talent. The focus was not on specialists, but on how to get young people interested in the many different jobs of the industry. “How do we train and then maintain young staff?” This questions, for instance, was investigated at the Thesis conference. There, young professionals presented tasks they had worked on in their final papers with partly impressive results. The topics ranged from low-threshold blockchain applications in logistics to complex solutions in fleet management to counteract the driver shortage.
Lively discussions in the forums
Attention was also paid to the presentation by Andreas Scheuer, Federal Minister for Transport and Digital Infrastructure. He presented future scenarios in logistics, for example the tracking of containers via sensors and RFID technology or supply chains with alternative drives. He underlined the importance of political concepts to accompany projects of the economy. From Scheuer’s point of view, the basis for the implementation of new technologies and concepts is a better and smoother implementation of ideas and a fast Internet.
In many specialist sequences, the participants and speakers dealt with the challenges of logistics such as global supply chains, transport structures in Europe and resilience. The different facets of digital change – artificial intelligence, autonomous logistics, analytical decision-making or new working environments – were also addressed. After all, digitization does not only provide great opportunities and changes for logistics, but also permeates society – especially when it comes to safety thinking.
“Digital change, digital infrastructure – and the state of the economy: At the International Supply Chain Conference in Berlin, everything revolved around uncertain forecasts. #DBSchenker # DLK2019 #BVL“Tweet WhatsApp
However, security in cyberspace cannot be solved only through technology, emphasized author and Spiegel columnist Sascha Lobo in his lecture at the end of the congress. “Shifting the responsibility for security into the EDP department is fatal – it’s about the interaction between man and machine,” says Lobo. “It’s not the technologies that change the world, but the way people use them.”
The challenges facing the industry are therefore not diminished: the encouragement at the conference was probably a great support for everybody.