I am happy to be invited to share my impressions of the 29th International Supply Chain Conference in this guest post. The conference is organized by the German Logistics Association (BVL) and annually held in Berlin, Germany. I believe that this conference offers a quite good mix of networking opportunities, stimulating presentations, interesting exhibition booths, and of course, as mentioned in Robert Handfield’s earlier post, food. In the past, the conference used to mainly address the German audience, yet this has changed, as it attracts a growing number of international practitioners. The number of international SCM researchers has increased as well; nevertheless it is still lower than at the CSCMP Conference in the U.S. with its similar concept.
What were my three conference highlights?
First of all, I have to mention that the author of this blog, Robert Handfield, participated in this year’s conference to give an outlook on our joint research project about trends and strategies in logistics and supply chain management. Based on over 60 globally conducted interviews, Robert highlighted in his presentation that increased complexity triggered by the globalization, increased customer expectations, and unreliable infrastructure are among the key trends, and that end-to-end supply chain integration, network adaptability, and process standardization are among the key strategies . Robert’s presentation was certainly a highlight of the conference, as it enabled logistics and supply chain managers to take a close look in the mirror.
Second, the announcement of the winners of the BVL’s German Award for SCM is eagerly awaited every year. It is granted to companies “who have successfully implemented an integrated logistical concept.” This year, Merck KGaA won the race for a packaging logistics project in Germany. Merck is not just a global pharmaceutical, chemical, and life science company; it is also the oldest pharmaceutical-chemical company in the world. According to BVL, two steps were important to be successful in this project: “Firstly, the sustainable analysis and modification of internal routines and, secondly, the systematic incorporation of packaging suppliers in the reorganisation of the processes in question.” Past awardees can be found on the BVL website .
Finally, I am particularly pleased that Martin Kessler and Jennifer Schwarz from the Kühne Foundation have been awarded the Science Award for Supply Chain Management for their application-oriented dissertations about coping with famines in Africa by transferring technology and knowledge in humanitarian logistics. Kessler is now responsible for a humanitarian logistics project in Ethiopia. Schwarz works in Tanzania. When I was invited to hold some lectures at the National Institute of Transport in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, several weeks ago, I observed her dedication to support Africa with logistics knowledge, which is urgently needed in parts of this mostly neglected continent. This year’s award highlights that logisticians in academia and practice should not only help solving commercial problems, but play an important role in coping with humanitarian catastrophes.
Dr.Andreas Wieland is a researcher in the field of supply chain management. He heads the Kühne Foundation Center for International Logistics Networks at the Department of Technology and Management, Technische Universität Berlin, Germany. He is also the editor of the blog scmresearch.org.