Cemat 2016 Germany: The Century of E-Commerce

Author / Editor: Bernd Maienschein, editor-in-chief MM Logistik / Rosemarie Stahl

The intralogistics specialist fair Cemat in Hannover finds itself in the middle of a constant, trend- oriented transformation. It is showing how logistics processes can in future be planned for automation and networking. The incorporation of a representative of SAP and of Team into the Cemat board indicates the new direction taken by this world-leading fair.

Under “Logistics 4.0”, Team CEO Michael Baranowski understands the transfer of the concepts of “Industry 4.0” to logistics.
Under “Logistics 4.0”, Team CEO Michael Baranowski understands the transfer of the concepts of “Industry 4.0” to logistics.
(Photo: DMAG)

With the user forum “Logistics IT”, the “new” Cemat is taking up themes from “Smart Intralogistics”. Here the focus is on efficiency, for example how one can avoid unnecessary transport paths within the firm. Altered value-creation chains have to be managed sensibly across company borders. Hardware, such as stackers, racks and conveyor installations, continue to be in demand, but tendencies such as digitalisation and networking are clearly detectable. MM Logistik spoke to Ralf Schränkler, solution expert SCM at SAP, and with Team CEO Michael Baronowski about sector trends.

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Mr. Schränkler, in our preliminary discussion you said that you had previously only attended the Cemat as a visitor. What is the motivation for SAP to have a presence in Hannover now?

Ralf Schränkler: In previous Cemat fairs, the focus was more on the presentation of intralogistics appliances such as warehouse technology, industrial trucks and conveying technology. For the Cemat 2016, however, a second emphasis is of course been chosen: logistics software. For many years now, SAP has been expanding its portfolio in the field of logistics software massively, so this new concept for the fair was a very obvious opportunity for us to participate now as an exhibitor. For us, the biggest role is played by solutions for warehouse and transport logistics – summed up as the supplychain execution platform – as well as by the new SAP S/4HANA suite.

Mr. Baranowski, in our preliminary discussion you too expressed your satisfaction that IT is moving so strongly into the forefront at the Cemat. Yet the topic is not so entirely new ...

Michael Baranowski: With the motto “Smart Supply Chain Solutions”, combined with addressing the thematic area “Logistics IT”, the fair is sending clear signals this year. It has been recognised that IT solutions are the central element in logistics, especially considering the opportunities offered by digitalisation. Visitors to the Cemat find out which technologies and IT solutions are needed to give them the right positioning for the future.

You go one step further and top the hype theme “Industry 4.0” by introducing “Logistics 4.0”. What exactly does this mean? Perhaps a combination of Lean and Logistics?

Baranowski: Under “Logistics 4.0” we understand the transfer of concepts from “Industry 4.0” to logistics. The paradigmatic change associated with digitalisation is creating completely new chances in logistics as well. Aspects such as using Cloud solutions for the integration of cyber-physical entities open up new possibilities. With digitalisation, a range of new data elements are available, bringing additional transparency and dynamics into processes. This also offers opportunities to add new perspectives to concepts associated with Lean Management.

Mr. Schränkler, SAP has brought together several partners at its booth. So you want to present applications. Who are your joint exhibitors?

SAP is presenting itself in a large booth. Visitors can of course obtain information straight from SAP logistics experts. Six very competent partners from the fields of intralogistics and transport management are there supporting us with independent stations in our exhibition area. The following partners are involved: Abat, Itelligence, Logventus, Prismat, T-Systems and Viastore.

Your theme, Mr. Schränkler, is of course improved networking of logistics using integrated process automation. How can one picture this in concrete terms, which building blocks are being introduced to which fields?

The integration of the logistics processes into the other operative and financial paths within the firm has always been one of SAP’s strengths. But today’s approach to networking goes even further, since all actors and devices are being integrated into the logistics process. Examples of this are the linking and control of completely automatic warehousing systems, the support of pickers by smart glasses, and networking of lorry data in real-time. SAP solutions which can help firms to make progress here are SAP Extended Warehouse Management for intralogistics, SAP Event Management for Track & Trace in real-time, and SAP S/4HANA as the backbone for the digital core. In addition, diverse solutions are available to take over further tasks as required, such as SAP Global Trade Service for foreign trade flows.

To take the key-phrase “paradigm change in logistics”, Mr. Baranowski: is the Cemat successful in improving visitors’ awareness of this? What can you, as a new member of the Cemat board, contribute here?

Baranoswki: I am convinced that the Cemat has made it clear that the emphasis at the fair has shifted from a rather technology-oriented point of view to one with a strong focus on IT. Digitalisation is now right in the centre of the stage and will influence all technologies. I am quite confident that I personally can supply important impulses from the point of view of a medium-sized provider of IT, helping to raise further the visibility of IT in the Cemat board.

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For you, “warehouse management” is a misnomer. What do you mean by that?

Currently, we are discussing very ambitious and future-oriented technical solutions for optimising flows and processes in intra-logistics. The emphasis here is on integration of material and information flows along the entire process chain. It is precisely for these requirements that we offer high-performance solutions. Yet we constantly hear from the market that customers are looking for a solution for warehouse management. This term has been in use for at least 30 years in the market and is simply no longer on target for the range of tasks that have to be covered by today’s high-performance, modern solutions. The way I see it, therefore, the term “warehouse management” is antiquated and urgently requires a freshening-up in the sense of Logistics 4.0.

As far as the software is concerned, “mobile computing” involves a huge amount of work, Mr. Bara- nowski, everything has to be programmed anew. There you are certainly being forced to invest heavily in manpower ...

The challenge of users wanting to operate a wide range of devices leads to changes in the requirements made of the supporting IT systems. The user expects a suitable dialogue surface, adapted to his device, be it a tablet computer, smart phone or an industrial terminal. From the IT point of view, we therefore need applications which allow dynamic adaptation to the surface sizes. And in many cases this also simply means having to create new software systems.

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Boom-topic Augmented Reality: is it possible to look at the world through data glasses at your booth?

At the Cemat we will offer visitors the opportunity to gain their own experiences with data glasses during picking. Completely new possibilities open up for optimising processes. We observe, however, that the question of ergonomics has not yet been solved optimally for the user. That is certainly the result of a situation in which the development of data glasses has initially been a matter for the technologist, with comfortable handling only receiving attention in a second step.

Mr. Schränkler, SAP is placing particular emphasis on its fast S/4HANA platform. Isn’t that something only for large firms?

Schränkler: The new Business Suite SAP S/4HANA means massively simplified data structures which enable considerably faster access to management data, producing data analyses in a fraction of the time required by “classical” systems. In this way we enable simplified processes and services for the user and make a so-called “digital core” available for networking in the sense of “Internet of Things” (IoT). This ultimately leads to a very large gain in efficiency for the firm, as many examples already show today. In this, by the way, the size of the firm, large or small, plays no role. All participants in the market will in future be forced to adopt the digital transformation for the benefit of their own firm.

Security, of course, has become a general topic in the age of the Cloud and Big Data. What concepts is SAP pursuing in this context?

Schränkler: For SAP, the topic of security is of very great importance. Here a large number of different aspects play a role, for example software security, authorisation, operator model (Cloud, On-Premise, Hybrid) and much else besides. Because of the great responsibility that SAP has for its circle of customers, this topic receives the very highest priority in our company.

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