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The more than 250 visitors who attended the 14th Logistics Information Days at the Ehrhardt + Partner Group (EPG) are in no doubt that the cognitive era of logistics is now in full swing. Owing to such great interest, the logistics experts even added an extra day to their acclaimed industry event this year, extending it over a total of three days. Logistics experts shed light on digitization of the supply chain from a wide variety of different perspectives at EPG's Logistics Solutions Center (LSC) in Boppard-Buchholz.
Manufacturers and logistics service providers are driving forward digitization within the supply chain – and from two angles in particular. First, logistics processes and information flows are being mapped digitally and continuously. Second, further development is being done to network processes with the implemented technologies. What IT solutions meet these requirements and are fit for the future? What results can be achieved by using smart software solutions? And what are the possibilities offered by analytics and predictive approaches in warehouse management? More than 250 visitors got the answers at EPG's Logistics Information Days, which were extended by an additional day this year due to the large number of registrations.
Cognitive systems and their potential
Keynote speaker, Dr. Wolfang Hildesheim from IBM, illustrated the changes that the use of artificial intelligence is bringing in and the potential in this area for logistics. He also explained the core task of smart software systems, which is to intelligently evaluate unstructured data – i.e. to convert big data into smart data. Cognitive systems thereby develop the ability to learn, as they recognize patterns and independently make recommendations for action from those patterns, such as to help employees in the warehouse make decisions. As a result, new occupational fields will also be in demand in logistics of the future, such as deep learning specialists, data scientists, machine learning experts and AI trainers, who work for and with cognitive software systems. Smart algorithms were also the focus of the presentation by Jens Heinrich, Chief Technology Officer of EPG, and Dennis Kunz, Director Marketing of EPG. The two logistics experts presented the digitalization of the supply chain and megatrends from the field of "smart logistics". A key focus of the presentation was how predictive analytics solutions can be used to make accurate predictions about future developments in the material flow.
Reports straight from practice
Reports straight from practice in the field were an important part of the 14th edition of our Logistics Information Days. This year, Volker Wieters of Dirk Rossmann GmbH gave a presentation on how the drugstore chain is strategically digitizing its logistics, showing just how important modern IT architectures now are. Stefan Meuche's presentation was in the same vein. EPG's Chief Sales Officer presented important factors and functionalities for sustainable warehouse management. Optimizing the entire supply chain requires smart solutions across the entire business for all logistics processes – from the first mile to the last. Prof. Dr. Boris Zimmermann (University of Fulda) illustrated this with his remarks on transport and delivery in logistics, presenting practical solutions and technologies for the last mile that will truly stand the test of time. Andreas Blümel from topsystem also discussed how voice-guided processes will change logistics and industry. He explained that, particularly in times of e-commerce with the increasing flexibility of intralogistic processes, voice systems are becoming an indispensable part of the warehouse. Given the high degree of automation anticipated in logistics and industry in the future, voice-controlled systems provide an interface between people (with their cognitive abilities) and the automated systems in warehouses and production.
Visit to the holodeck
The digital future of professional warehouse planning is one of the core areas for the logistics consultancy, Ehrhardt + Partner Consulting (EPC). This was underlined by logistics consultant Marcel Mands (EPC) in his presentation, before the final highlight of the event in the form of a visit to the new EPG HOLODECK. The first Virtual Reality (VR) Cave for logistics gave visitors to the Information Days a computer-simulated 360° tour of a dynamic and true-to-life warehouse – all without using VR headsets.