What will the future hold for the logistics industry?

On October 18th, 2018, we welcomed over 200 guests from leading logistics startups, executives from Mittelstand corporations and logistics-focused investors to this year’s “Re-Imagining Logistics.”

Re-imagining the future of intralogistics

For the first panel of the evening, Dr. Christoph Beumer (BEUMER Group) and Fabian Rusitschka (arculus) took the stage to discuss the different philosophies on how they are re-imagining the future of intralogistics.

Fabian elaborated that he firmly believes that it is time to transform the assembly line that Henry Ford invented over 100 years ago, to meet today’s production demands. Back then, one product was like the other, something that the assembly line was designed for. Today’s increased level of customization requires a more modular and flexible production setup. In the case of arculus, automated guided vehicles (AGVs) guide the products to their next station during the manufacturing process.

Will the future only see AGVs roaming through warehouses and production halls?

Christoph made a strong case for rather continuous sorting systems that are better suited to capitalize on limited warehouse spaces that require high throughput volumes. For a setting with larger available areas, AGVs promise a more scalable and modular solution. Also, both panelists agreed that a highly homogenous load might well be better transported with a continuous sorter.

Startup Pitches

To get a glimpse of all the innovation that is currently disrupting the logistics space, we welcomed Alexander Leichter (byrd), Jens Harig (Picavi), Stev Heinert ( / COBILITY) and Yaro Tenzer (RightHand Robotics) on stage. They pitched their startups and showed how they are using data-driven technology to innovate the legacy capabilities of the logistics industry.

Why invest in logistics?

The evening was capped off by an exciting VC panel with Tian Tian Feng (Cherry Ventures) and Christopher Steinau (Northzone).

During their conversation, Tian Tian and Christopher explained why they both deem the logistics industry particularly attractive to invest in. The high complexity of the sector offers vast capabilities for startups to unbundle the space by capitalizing on data and using innovative technology effectively. It still poses a challenge, for example, for logistics companies to offer complete visibility through the entire supply chain to their customers to accurately locate their assets.

Today, the digitization of the industry is still in its very early stages as its fragmented market makes it challenging to scale up operations for startups compared to other industries. But companies like Flexport are leading the charge and gearing up for large exits in the near future.

“Re-Imagining Logistics” will be back on October 24th, 2019.