Research - 10.10.2018 - 00:00 

Digitalization ensures increased efficiency in logistics

The paradigm shift in logistics is gaining speed: Digitalization is expected to primarily increase efficiency and, secondarily, to reduce costs. An analysis of 22 digitalization tools illustrates the possibilities in logistics and demonstrates the innovative strength of established companies.
Business Logistics concept, Global network coverage world map,Truck with Industrial Container Cargo for Logistic Import Export at yard

10 October 2018. Researchers from the University of St.Gallen, the Dresden University of Technology, and the University of Applied Sciences Würzburg-Schweinfurt have extensively analysed and evaluated digitalization tools for the study "Digitalization tools in logistics: Application potential, maturity, and value contribution". In addition, they developed detailed profiles for 22 digitalization tools. With the help of these profiles, companies can invest specifically in digitalization. Because there are digitalization tools for every area of logistics, companies can implement them according to their field of activity and their unique selling points. Here, particular attention should be paid to interaction, as digitalization cannot happen on its own.

Digitalization increases productivity

Introducing digitalization tools primarily enables increases in performance and quality. Of the tools examined, 19 increase efficiency and productivity. Quality and the service level are also improved by 19 tools. Cost savings should only be a subordinate goal, because the integration into the existing IT landscape involves significant costs.

Courage to invest

A high degree of innovation and the courage to invest are required. Thus, only six digitalization tools have a high level of maturity, seven medium, nine low. Not only the technological perspective was examined (what the development level of the necessary components looks like and to what extent the tool is available at all). The market view of how many companies the tool is being offered to and how many installations already exist was also included.

Courage is rewarded

Courage tends to be rewarded with quantitative savings. While the primary motivation is improved performance, the expected value contributions include qualitative value contributions in 17 tools, reduced costs and, in 14 tools, accelerated processes. This doesn’t imply that only start-ups address the topic of these highly innovative tools. Of the 78 logistics start-ups from Germany, Austria and Switzerland, 37 use or develop tools within the meaning of the study. Of these 37, 21 involve tools that have either already reached the "broad establishment phase" or at least the "realisation phase". Only five involve tools that are considered innovation triggers. The analyses and 27 in-depth interviews have shown that, in contrast, many well-established logistics companies are already testing digitalization tools in the "innovation triggering phase".

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