Major personnel changes and digital logistics development at Volkswagen

Major personnel changes and digital logistics development at Volkswagen

Dr. Andreas Tostmann (pictured) has been appointed Member of the Board of Management of the Volkswagen Brand responsible for Production and Logistics, and the OEM has created two new departments supporting digital applications in the inbound and outbound logistics parts of its business, and appointing managers.

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Born in Peine (Germany) in 1962, Dr. Tostmann holds a degree in Mechanical Engineering and a degree in Economics from the University Braunschweig.

In 1990 he joined the Volkswagen Group in the Group product planning area. From 1994 Dr. Tostmann was then responsible for product planning powertrain at Volkswagen de México. He assumed responsibility for technical project planning and project management powertrain for the Volkswagen Group in 1995, before becoming manager of Volkswagen's Salzgitter (Germany) plant in 2001. Three years later, Dr. Tostmann became Managing Director of Volkswagen South Africa. He was appointed Chairman of the Board of Volkswagen Slovakia in 2007. In this function, Dr. Tostmann also assumed responsibility for production until November 2011. Following this, he became SEAT Executive Vice President for Production, a post he held until he assumed his current position at the Volkswagen brand.

Developing digital logistics

Volkswagen Group Logistics has stated that Matthias Braun is now heading the Digitalization and Concept Development department, associated with the Material Logistics business unit headed by Astrid Lühring. Braun has worked with Volkswagen Group since 1997. Following various positions in logistics, he was responsible for the planning of inbound transport networks and location projects at Volkswagen Group Logistics from 2015 to 2017.

At the same time, Matthias Schicke has been made responsible for Digitalization and Process Optimization on the outbound side of Volkswagen Group Logistics. He reports to Markus Lange, head of vehicle logistics at the division. Matthias Schicke joined Volkswagen in 2002. Most recently, he was the project manager responsible for optimising business processes in the field of vehicle logistics within the group.

"Digitalisation, alternative powertrains and new business areas are opening up entirely new business possibilities for us," said Thomas Zernechel, head of Volkswagen Group Logistics. "With projects such as the new networking platform Discovery, the use of LNG trucks in our road haulage operations and LNG vessels for overseas transportation, we are already very well positioned. The newly created departments for digitalisation at Material Logistics and Vehicle Logistics will intensify our efforts in connection with these and other innovation topics. This way, we intend to keep abreast of the rapid pace of change and to continue the development of Group Logistics in a consistent and targeted way."

DSV reports a record year with performance beyond expectation

DSV reports a record year with performance beyond expectation

After a strong Q4 2017, the logistics provider has reported full-year earnings for 2017 at the high end of its latest outlook and a very strong cash flow.

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With the UTi integration well behind it, it has said that it is now focusing on developing DSV, and for 2018 it expects up to 11% growth in earnings. "M&A remains on our agenda, and we will continue to look for relevant opportunities," said Jens Bjørn Andersen, CEO.

For Q4 2017, net revenue increased by 8.0% and amounted to DKK 19,019 million (Q4 2016: DKK 17,617 million) ($2.9 billion) Adjusted for currency translation effects, growth came to 11.6%, driven by increasing freight volumes in all DSV's business areas. In addition, average freight rates and fuel prices were higher than in Q4 2016.
Freight volume growth for the quarter was 10% for air freight, 4% for sea freight and 5% for road transport.

For Q4 2017, gross profit came to DKK 4,054 million (Q4 2016: DKK 3,998 million). Adjusted for currency translation effects, growth came to 4.8%.

Operating profit before special items was up by 28.7% to DKK 1,196 million for Q4 2017 (Q4 2016: DKK 929 million). Adjusted for currency translation effects, growth came to 33.6%, mainly driven by the Air & Sea and Solutions divisions.

Dividend

Based on the financial results for the year, the Board of Directors proposes ordinary dividends of DKK 2.00 per share for 2017 (2016: DKK 1.80 per share).

Outlook for 2018

  • Operating profit before special items is expected to be in the range of DKK 5,000-5,400 million
  • The effective tax rate of the Group is expected to be approximately 23%
  • Adjusted free cash flow is expected to be approximately DKK 4,000 million
  • The expected cash flow for 2018 is lower than in 2017 in spite of the expected increase in operating profit
  • This is mainly due to the improvement in net working capital which had a positive cash flow impact in 2017.
Daimler Trucks North America goes digital on its spot freight deliveries

Daimler Trucks North America goes digital on its spot freight deliveries

Daimler Trucks North America (DTNA) is launching a new digital platform for its contracted freight carriers in the United States to match them with the company's spot loads using a customised version of an app developed by Loadsmart.

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"To manufacture trucks, we need carriers to deliver components and parts to our plants," said Lori Heino-Royer, director of business innovation at Daimler Trucks North America. "Offering a customised app to our contracted carriers gives them first access to our spot business and improves critical points in our supply chain."

Loadsmart, a technology company that specialises in full truckload shipping, offers a platform that helps both carriers and shippers. The Loadsmart platform, available online and through mobile devices, is helping to update the logistics process for spot loads which are freight shipments that are outside of regularly scheduled shipments. Loadsmart is helping to take the process from pen and paper and phone calls to a highly efficient digital platform that leverages data and machine-learning technology.

DTNA teamed up with Loadsmart to develop a customised version of the platform which was piloted with a small subset of DTNA's carriers in the autumn of 2017. It demonstrated dramatic improvements in the time to process a spot shipment – going from five hours to just 18 minutes on average. In addition, carriers received payments in two days instead of 30 days.

Loadsmart CEO Ricardo Salgado summarised the project results, "We saw Daimler Trucks North America's participating fleet customers increase their average number of spot loads moved by more than 50 percent and improve their average time to accept, process, and deliver a spot shipment by over 90 percent. Working with the largest truck OEM is core to Loadsmart's vision to build the future of logistics by interconnecting all players in a powerful platform."

Bosch and MAN win German auto industry association 2018 logistics award

Bosch and MAN win German auto industry association 2018 logistics award

For the first time, the VDA Logistics Award has gone to two companies this year: Robert Bosch GmbH received a prize for a networked intralogistics solution for manufacturing plants and MAN Truck & Bus AG took the prize for its innovative and transport-cost-optimising software "ConMa", for empties disposition.

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Matthias Wissmann, President of the German Association of the Automotive Industry (VDA) (pictured), said at the award ceremony of the Automotive Logistics Forum in Frankfurt: "The concepts awarded today show the enormous innovative power of our industry. Networking and digitisation will not only make tomorrow's traffic smoother and safer, they will also enable intelligent logistics solutions and new factory concepts. German companies are also pacesetters in this future field."

Bosch successfully combines self-developed solutions such as "ProCon" for production control and in-house transport. This includes logistics processes from customer requirements through scheduling on machines and plants to the control of classic and autonomous means of transport.

In more than 50 plants, synchronous data exchange and the networking of digital process steps can be used to automatically automate bookings, reordering and, for example, adjustments of Kanbank cycles in real time. Inventories and manual activities are reduced. As a result, employees have more time for value-adding activities, which in turn increases productivity.

"Bosch expects great potential from digital networking. This makes logistics chains more efficient, safer and more flexible – both in intralogistics and in our global value creation networks," said Andreas Reutter, Member of the Executive Board of the Central Purchasing and Logistics Department of Robert Bosch GmbH.

The "ConMa" software, which was developed in just eight months to optimise empties dispatching, has been in use since October 2016 in the MAN Truck & Bus AG plant network. In total, more than 6 million containers have already been planned and sent via the software.

"ConMa" also has a very positive effect on all supply chain partners. The software maps the complete disposition process in one application and thus ensures cross-plant standardisation of the processes. Intelligent algorithms ensure better transport utilisation and a high degree of automation. This has helped to increase delivery reliability and productivity, reduce transport costs and minimise CO 2 emissions.

"With ConMa, the container management at MAN was rethought," said the two project managers. Matthias Conze and Fabian Maier. "We are proud to have introduced the software in all our locations in such a short time and to have gained such wide acceptance. This was only possible by integrating users into an agile development process right from the start."

Georgia Ports Authority looks forward to 10-million TEU capacity in 10 years

Georgia Ports Authority looks forward to 10-million TEU capacity in 10 years

At the 50th annual Georgia Foreign Trade Conference on February 5, Georgia Ports Authority (GPA) Executive Director Griff Lynch reviewed the strategic plan for Georgia's ports that will allow for 10 million twenty-foot equivalent container units, 1 million rail lifts, and more than 1 million auto and machinery units per year.

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"Georgia is home to both the single largest container and roll-on/roll-off facilities in North America," Lynch said. "Our goal is to maximise capacity, create jobs and reduce impact on our local communities."

Lynch provided an overview of GPA's 2028 Plan that calls for 42 ship-to-shore cranes, 200 yard cranes, new RTG lanes and significant intermodal expansion in Savannah. The GPA will soon open its second inland terminal in Northwest Georgia and break ground on the Mason Mega Rail project at Garden City Terminal. Combined, both intermodal projects will open new markets while significantly reducing rail crossings and over the road freight through Savannah, Atlanta and beyond.

"We have come to an exciting turning point," said Georgia Ports Authority Board Chairman Jimmy Allgood. "Georgia's business-friendly environment, led by Gov. Nathan Deal, coupled with statewide infrastructure investments, have set the stage for new business, new jobs and additional trade through the ports of Savannah and Brunswick."

Since Gov. Deal was first elected in 2010, trade through Georgia's ports has grown from 2.8 million TEUs to more than 4 million TEUs in 2017. Ro/Ro cargo has expanded from 411,000 units per year to more than 640,000 units, and cargo crossing all docks has grown from 25 million tons in 2010 to 35 million tons in 2017.

"Under the governor's leadership, Georgia and the GPA have made incredible strides to prepare for the evolving demands of global trade," Allgood said.

Lynch announced that Savannah's outer harbour dredging will be finished in March, bringing the Savannah Harbor Expansion Project to 50% completion. Deepening the inner harbour should be complete by late 2021, allowing Neo-Panamax vessels to take on more cargo and transit the river with greater scheduling flexibility.

"With the project moving forward, the fiscal argument for the Savannah Harbour deepening grows stronger and stronger as more customers choose Georgia as a gateway to serve the Southeast," Lynch said. "The ability for these ships to take on heavier export loads will mean greater efficiency and lower costs for American producers."

At the Port of Brunswick, the GPA is well on its way to developing an annual capacity of 1.4 million vehicles. In just the past year, the GPA has spent $25 million to increase roll on/roll off space, and plans to spend another $20 million in the next 18 months to grow and attract additional auto business to Georgia.

The GPA plan includes three elements for success – space, infrastructure and connectivity. To accommodate additional warehousing, the Authority has opened five parcels of land at its Savannah International Trade Park for private development. Only five miles from Garden City Terminal, the site is quickly expanding to add up to 5 million additional square feet of distribution space on five 100-acre parcels.

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