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‘Food goes digital’: Manufacturers, logistics providers and retailers discuss opportunities and solutions
Schmitz Cargobull AG: More than 120 experts at the 5th Foodstuffs Symposium

Vreden, 11/12 September 2019 – All areas of life will undergo massive changes due to the transparency of digitalisation: for food manufacturers, for the retail trade, and for logistics providers as the connecting link, this has serious consequences. Under the slogan of ‘Food goes digital’, more than 120 experts from Germany and the Netherlands spend two days discussing opportunities and solutions at the fifth Schmitz Cargobull Foodstuffs Symposium in Vreden. “Our aim is to provide a neutral platform for discussing trending topics for the food and pharmaceuticals industries”, said Boris Billich, Sales Director Schmitz Cargobull AG.


In his keynote, futurologist Prof. Gunter Dueck addressed the topic of autonomously driving trucks as well as changes in consumer behaviour.  In the future, the inhabitants of large cities would buy far less food and simply have their meals delivered. Manufacturers and retailers, along with their logistics providers, must adjust to these radical trends. “We need radical changes. Adapting and upgrading existing systems will often take place only gradually, and won’t keep pace with technical developments,” said the mathematician and digital expert.

Thomas Klann, Key Account Manager European Food Logistics Dachser GmbH & Co. KG, reported from experience on “the unrealised dream of quick arrival at and departure from the ramps”. He pointed out that in the supply chain a lot of work is still being done using paper. Moreover, he sees major sticking points in the flow of information, and partly in the ambitious objectives of retailers.

A goods availability target of 98.5 percent in the retail trade is also considered inappropriate by Arno Kuhl, Head of Strategic Supply Chain Management at Schloss Wachenheim AG, particularly in the case of a strongly fluctuating demand. He pointed out that in the case of promotional products, demand can suddenly increase by more than 200 percent - and that if production and delivery maintained their capacity for the required 98.5 percent, this would not be feasible.

Peter Leegstraten, Purchasing & Innovation Manager, Albert Heijn B.V., reported on a trial with two battery-powered electric semi-trailers. He said: “If only 100 trucks are to be operated in the Amsterdam region by 2025, that corresponds to the power consumption of a city with 5,000 inhabitants. We therefore need trucks with liquid gas and fuel cells for emission-free deliveries.” However, these vehicles will not be available until well after 2025.

Telematics is a focus point for ensuring an effective and reliable cool chain. Given all the new functions and the variety of existing offers and approaches of start-ups, Marco Reichwein, Managing Director Schmitz Cargobull Telematics GmbH, said it was crucial to develop a standardised method of networking different systems.

As a solution for emission-free deliveries to city centres, Marnix Lannoije, Head of Electric & Electronic System Engineering, Schmitz Cargobull, presented the S.CUe electric cooling unit, battery packs and an E-axle with generator. “The E-axle reduces the charging times and battery sizes. The first pilot vehicles will go on the road in the fourth quarter of 2020,” he announced. The E-axle is expected to go into series production about a year later.

50th anniversary of the Vreden plant
“Today, every second strawberry and every second schnitzel is transported on a Schmitz Cargobull box semi-trailer,” said Michael Timmermann, graphically describing the success story of the reefer semi-trailer factory in Vreden. For 20 years he has been Plant Manager at Schmitz Cargobull’s Vreden factory, which is celebrating its 50th anniversary this year. Alongside high-quality products, the employees are the centre of focus.

“Almost 800 of 2,000 employees have completed their training at the site and 700 come from Vreden,” explained Timmermann. Their expertise and permanent contribution to achieving improvements ensure the quality of the refrigerated vehicles. The site’s management team thanks the customers personally for their partnership and trust.
“We launched the format of the Foodstuffs Symposium in 2005 for the open exchange of information and opinions,” said Boris Billich at the close of the panel discussion. His conclusion: “Given the complexity and uncertainty about drivers, country-specific regulations and mutually combinable vehicles, the industry needs functioning products for today. The desire for change is considerable among all participants and we at Schmitz Cargobull are happy to accompany this change.”


About Schmitz Cargobull

With an annual production of more than 63,500* trailers and with around 6,500* employees, Schmitz Cargobull AG is Europe's leading manufacturer of semi-trailers, trailers and truck bodies for temperature-controlled freight, general cargo and bulk goods. The company achieved sales of €2.2 billion* in the 2018/2019 business year. As a pioneer in the industry, the North German company developed a comprehensive brand strategy early on and consistently established quality standards spanning every level: from research and development, to production and service contracts, trailer telematics, financing, spare parts, and used vehicles.

*Provisional figures based on the 2018/2019 business year


The Schmitz Cargobull press team:

Anna Stuhlmeier     +49 2558 81-1340 I anna.stuhlmeier@cargobull.com
Andrea Beckonert   +49 2558 81-1321 I andrea.beckonert@cargobull.com
Silke Hesener:        +49 2558 81-1501 I silke.hesener@cargobull.com

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