LEAD Network Germany Chapter Event – 22nd March 2017

Hosted by Schenker AG, Essen, Germany

Logistics and Innovation

On 22nd March, around 35 women and men from the CPG & Retail industry in Germany gathered at the Schenker AG offices in Essen for the first LEAD Germany Chapter Event of the year.

Tom Schmitt, Member of the Board, Contract Logistics & Chief Commercial Officer, Schenker AG spoke about excellence from both a company and a personal perspective. From a business perspective, he spoke about how as a company in a fast moving environment, you cannot afford to rest on your laurels. Schenker AG are constantly looking around the corner both from a geographical perspective to see where new opportunities lie, and in the way they do business. To stretch yourself to be the best you can be, you need to leverage your talent, work with a diverse group of great people who stretch you and seek out customers who will test your limits.

From a personal perspective of achieving excellence, he spoke about the left and right side of the brain. Being typically left brained and processing information in an analytical way, he actively sought out more right-brained and creative people to access more of that side of his brain. Tom discovered that by being able to tap into both sides of his brain, he became more effective. Julia Edler, Sr. Manager Consumer Retail, Schenker AG gave an overview of Schenker’s Consumer Retail business, which represents more than 25% of their total revenue of EUR 15.5 Bn. Within their business development and sales teams, 49% are females, among which many in senior and leadership positions.

Dennis Farwick, Product Development and Sales Support, Schenker AG provided an overview of some of the challenges of Innovation within contract logistics. What worked twenty years ago will no longer work today, and at Schenker, innovation is about being quickly responsive. They are constantly monitoring new technologies that vendors are bringing into warehousing, and filtering these dialogues into an innovation pool. Sometimes they co-develop solutions with vendors and work together on logistics related applications. When they go into existing warehouses, they look at the opportunities from a perspective of whether technology could deliver additional value that would eventually be earned back via savings. He pointed to two trends that he sees as being relevant for the future of the logistics industry. Firstly, automation such as automatic vehicles, remote controlled forklifts and ‘smart floors’ and secondly, the internet of things becoming a reality whereby we have real time visibility on energy consumptions in warehouses and transparency on real time costs, for example.

Christian Crews, Global Foresight Practice Lead, Kalypso LP presented ten core elements towards sustainable breakthrough innovation. Many companies, when asked where they want to be in 5 years’ time, have growth targets from innovation but do not know how they want to get there.

These ten elements are:


Christiane Piontek, Customer Relations Manager at Mars GmbH, brought her personal experience of working collaboratively to make logistics at Mars greener. Mars knew that if as a company they wanted to contribute to a more sustainable supply chain, they would need to work with their partners at the transport and warehousing level. Mars joined the initiative Lean & Green and convened their partners to openly discuss how they could work together to create a greener supply chain. Many of the solutions were easily implemented, such as changing all warehousing lighting to LED lights, installing solar panels on the warehouse roofs, checking air pressure on truck tyres, training drivers to drive in more environmentally ways, and ensuring that products are more efficiently distributed to the correct warehouse.

Gabriele Riedmann de Trinidad, Group Director Business Innovation, METRO AG closed the meeting by inviting everyone to join the next meeting on 9th May in Frankfurt hosted by Procter & Gamble, and a meeting date will soon be confirmed for a meeting hosted by GS1 in the Cologne area in June.

The LEAD Network would like to extend a big thank you to Julia Edler of Schenker AG for hosting and organising such a fantastic event.