Year in review: creative logistics finds solutions

Stefan Seufert, CTO/Vorstand EIKONA AG
Pocket watch lies on a historical book

Logistics service providers faced – and overcame – many new challenges in 2020: hoarding purchases, business shutdowns and border closures. The business sector has impressed many with its core competence: agility. The year also highlighted the importance of fast and precise information.

Between border closures in Europe and unstaffed receiving docks, the pandemic has posed daunting challenges for logistics service providers in Germany and Europe. Companies that had already largely digitalised their processes came up with particularly good solutions. They benefited from:

  • Fast information
  • Flexible processes
  • Structured alternatives for action

Logistics companies that are more digitalised are also more resilient overall, according to an analysis conducted by BVL, a German logistics association. This is largely because they can respond better to non-standard situations. This past year confirms that conclusion.


Agility crucial in retrospect

Logistics professionals devised new solutions in record time this year, finding the best alternative approaches that served their customers' interests. It was worth noting that particularly well-informed companies adapted quickly to the changes in circumstances. They had the foundation needed to test other transport chains and establish an efficient new process in little time. They were thus able to guarantee their customers' ability to deliver despite border closures and keep their truck drivers out of quarantine. They found this particularly easy to do if they were able to run through various scenarios in advance, examine alternative routes and the associated costs and then make a switch. This allowed them to quickly institute new solutions based on their findings.


Courage to act

In addition to precise information and rapid, well-founded analyses, another factor has proven to be particularly effective: the courage to act. Providers who tackled their challenges head-on were rewarded with quick results. One example is, an internet platform operated by EIKONA Logistics where users can indicate when a plant or receiving department is closed. This gives logistics service providers fair warning that deliveries cannot be made. It saves them unnecessary trips and frees up space on their vehicles for orders that can still be fulfilled. The web portal was created and went online within just 48 hours as a contribution to the German government's #WirVsVirus hackathon.


Think about your neighborhood

When most stores across Germany were forced to close, regional initiatives stepped up. Traditional brick-and-mortar stores quickly started selling by phone, email, and the internet. To deliver these items, companies such as Schäflein AG got creative. It developed City Logistik to make same-day deliveries in the city and greater area of Schweinfurt by e-bike, car or van. This nimble service was made possible by the vigorous efforts of Schäflein's management and assistance from WINORA STEIGER, EIKONA and Fleetboard Logistics, who provided the e-bikes and software at short notice.


Risen to the task

In 2020, German logistics providers proved their ability to rise to an unforeseen challenge. Indeed, the past few months could justifiably be called the Year of the Pareto Principle, given all the bold decisions and quick projects. Many companies created new digital solutions quickly and inexpensively, enabling them to replace paper processes and work more effectively. It became clear that well-connected companies with dynamic IT solutions stand to gain from being nimble and creative. They demonstrated the value of digitalisation in a crisis.

Stefan Seufert
Stefan Seufert

As a design guru, the software developer delves into logistics service providers' requirements like no other. He is passionate about exchanging information securely and efficiently and thus speeding up the physical logistics process.

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