1. What trends in digitalisation will influence intralogistics?
To be honest, I don’t want to even distinguish between the individual areas of logistics. Extensive use of IT in logistics is an important factor for success, and is already taking place very successfully within many companies in a whole variety of different ways. We have reached a point in digitalisation where IT and logistics are coming ever closer, meaning that more and more new business models will develop from this and considerable improvements in operations and at the customer interface will be able to be realised.
2. What business models could arise for logistics firms?
Many different business models. Digitalisation makes sense wherever an advancement in expertise or competitive advantages can be achieved with the help of innovations. Initial pilot projects (including in the warehouse), for example to optimise picking workflows or using robots as part of man-to-machine communication, are already ongoing – but we’re just at the very start of development.
3. What does this mean for small or medium-sized companies?
Of course digitalisation also affects small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs). Using cloud solutions, for instance, could open up interesting possible applications for SMEs that didn’t exist before. For example, you no longer need a giant ERP system to be able to manage and optimise your logistics processes. You use the tools from the cloud that you actually need – and only pay for those tools. CeMAT recently held a very interesting Round Table event in Hamburg, where even smaller companies presented very concrete examples of ways in which they are already benefitting from digitalisation. The shortening of delivery times or the provision of value added services are just two conceivable possibilities. At the end of the day, however, for companies of all sizes it’s about how quickly they can adapt in their innovation cycles and react to opportunities that arise.