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A Focus on IT in Logistics

From:Life Sciences Logistics

Automating logistics processes, the continuous logistics chain from supplier to end user, software and hardware represent important trends.

The role of IT and the growing convergence of the physical and digital worlds in the logistics sector were the focus of an April 6 CeMAT IT Roundtable discussion held at the new headquarters of intralogistics specialist “viastore.”

“The quality of the hardware and its smart integration into IT systems have a decisive impact on the success of intralogistics solutions,” explained Wolfgang Pech, Senior Vice President at Deutsche Messe. “In Hannover numerous exhibitors will demonstrate how to automate logistics processes—live and in action,” he said in reference to the May 31-June 3 CeMAT show.

German software company SAP will be staging a large-scale “partner presentation.“ The spotlight will be on our S4/HANA logistics software suite,” said Ralf Schränkler, Solution Sales Executive SCM at SAP. “We no longer distinguish between internal and external logistics—in our view it is essential to create a continuous logistics chain from the supplier to the end user.”

Supply Chain Execution (SCE) is an integral component and SAP will focus primarily on integrated approaches in order to establish a direct link with warehouse automation systems and warehousing technology in general.

“In my role as a business leader I am very pleased that CeMAT 2016 is placing a sharp focus on IT,” said Michael Baranowski, Managing Director of Team GmbH. “This corresponds to market demands.”

He sees strong potential for cloud computing and augmented reality—via head-mounted displays.

CeMAT 2016 will feature demonstrations of pick-by-vision. “At our stand in Hannover visitors will have the chance to pick items with the aid of a head-mounted display,” Baranowski said. “They will be in a position to evaluate the strengths and weaknesses of this new technology and identify potential applications in their own companies.”

According to Baranowski, the decision to concentrate on digitalization and Logistics 4.0 is the right step as these issues are in high demand among exhibitors and visitors.

More than half of the viastore’s workforce are deployed in the IT sector. “Software-related processes and logistics automation are currently the driving forces behind corporate growth,” said viastore’s CEO Philipp Hahn-Woernle. “In the software segment we are building on our strategic partnership with SAP.”

SSI Schäfer also welcomes the new CeMAT concept. “The effective integration of hardware in a warehousing or order-picking zone depends on the availability of good software,” said Johann Klug, SSI’s Global Product Manager IT at SSI Schäfer. The company reports smart networking of human resources, processes, goods and locations is one of the central functions of intralogistics.

“Digitalization begins in the mind,” noted Rainer Glatz, Director of the software section of the German Engineering Federation (VDMA). “Visitors and exhibitors have to think in terms of digital processes.” Frequently, there is still a strict separation between production and logistics, IT and logistics and between individual enterprises. Glatz sees CeMAT as a major opportunity to promote integrated logistics in Germany.

“Digitalization is here to stay,” said Glatz. “Now is the right time to place digitalization at the focal point of CeMAT.” In this context he mentioned the high-caliber opening session of the IT and Automation Forum on Tuesday, May 31, where representatives of software companies, research organizations and industrial enterprises will deliver keynotes and participate in a panel discussion on the topic of “Traceability—the basis for Industry 4.0”.

CeMAT trade fairs are operated by Deutsche Messe in the major growth markets of the world. The CeMAT show in Hannover will include products from all parts of the intralogistics spectrum, including energy-saving forklifts and industrial trucks, fully automated conveyor systems, rack and warehousing systems, and the latest in control systems logistics IT. The event will also include cranes and lifting equipment, access platforms, auto ID systems, robotic logistics and packaging technology.

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