Logistics 4.0 Germany: Blind Spots in the Supply Chain

| Editor: Rosemarie Stahl

According to a recent survey 46 per cent of German companies are already feeling the impact of digitalization. At the same time, 42 per cent of large companies say that they are still blind in some areas of the supply chain.

Logistics 4.0 describes a fully-integrated, interconnected and automated supply chain with decentralized decision-making structures.
Logistics 4.0 describes a fully-integrated, interconnected and automated supply chain with decentralized decision-making structures.
(Photo: Pixabay)

The survey, conducted by Hermes Germany, was taken among 200 logistic decicion-makers in German companies. The results show that skepticism with respect to the possible risks of digitalization still prevails in some places, despite the many obvious opportunities.

Logistics 4.0 describes a fully-integrated, interconnected and automated supply chain with decentralized decision-making structures. While all larger companies are playing a pioneering role when it comes to implementing such digitalization projects, the German economy as a whole is not there yet. Among all those surveyed, so far only one in four companies benefits from Logistics 4.0. The majority either already have introduced initial applications or are still in the implementation or planning phase.

Logistics 4.0 and security worries

The biggest obstacle: almost every second decision-maker is worried about becoming dependent on IT. There are a number of reasons why many German companies are still reluctant to implement Logistics 4.0. As many as 48 per cent are concerned about what they see as the danger of becoming too dependent on technology providers. Reduced data security and a higher risk of industrial espionage were cited by 47 per cent. Fears that network-based communication may not be stable enough make 36 per cent hesitant. Overall, however, the survey shows that a narrow or a clear majority in each case attach little or no significance to the various risks.

The majority of logistics decision-makers also believe that digitalisation offers great potential. 61 per cent of those surveyed agree that it will change transport and logistics processes fundamentally. Among larger companies, 74 per cent shared this view. 76 per cent of these were also of the opinion that the greatest opportunities here lie in increased transparency. In light of the above, it comes as no surprise that some companies complain about the blind spots that still exist in the supply chain where no digital data exchange is possible.

“Even though we shouldn’t lose sight of the risks, Logistics 4.0 nevertheless creates competitive advantages,” Jan Bierewirtz says. “The Hermes Barometer also shows that every second decision-maker already anticipates that in the medium-term market participants who fail to embrace the integration of IT and logistics will drop out of the race.”

Logistics companies like Hermes Germany aim to support companies in identifying potential for optimisation along the supply chain. They also establish where introducing modern technologies for automated data exchange is worthwhile. The first step is an in-depth analysis of the supply chain, for example with Hermes’ SCAN analysis tool. Based on the results of the analysis, recommendations are made and measures taken that help to make logistics processes more transparent.

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