DB Schenker guest lectures: Innovation and climate protection in logistics

All Categories, Faculty, Inside CBS   -  4. January 2019

The logistics sector is the third largest economic sector in Germany. More than 3 million German employees work in the control of goods and information flows, goods transport and storage, which makes logistics one of the most attractive for business economists. The Cologne Business School focuses on logistics topics in numerous courses of study, such as the specialisation “Logistics and Supply Chain Management” in the German Bachelor’s programme”General Management”.

The high practical relevance of the teaching content is firmly anchored in the curricula in the form of business projects, networking events, internships and guest lectures. This gives students a deep insight into various fields of activity and contacts to industry representatives during their studies. As part of the lectures given by Dr Nils Finger, Professorship of Supply Chain Management, the logistics experts from DB Schenker Erik Wirsing, Vice President Global Innovation, and Andrea Dorothea Schoen, Senior Manager Carbon Controlling & Consulting, gave two guest lectures to the students.

Erik Wirsing: “Today’s motto is ‚Innovate or die‘“

Erik Wirsing’s presentation focused on innovations and trends in logistics. At the beginning, the Thuringian-born manager talked about the new company type as online platforms, which generate high profits without having its own stocks or the goods. Representatives of this type are, for example, the Chinese online retailer Alibaba and the online marketplace and hospitality service Airbnb. Seven of the ten most valuable companies in the world already rely on platform-based business models.

In logistics, too, digitalization opens up new market opportunities. The industry is traditionally characterized by high material assets such as warehouses and means of transport. Autonomous freight transport could lead to high cost savings and create new business models. According to the expert, 45 percent of the new business models in 2030 could be based on digital technologies. The high pressure to innovate would also encourage traditional companies such as DB Schenker to break new ground. Together with the Fraunhofer Institute for Material Flow and Logistics IML, BMW, Würth and Sick, DB Schenker has established the Entreprise Lab Center as a place for interdisciplinary research and development.

Andrea Dorothea Schoen: “Corporate growth must be CO2-neutral”

As part of the lecture „Sustainable Supply Chain Management”, Andrea Dorothea Schoen presented current challenges and goals in climate protection using DB Schenker as an example. The Group has been involved in global climate protection management for ten years and, as one of the members of the Stiftung 2 Grad (2 degrees foundation), has committed itself to the goal of limiting global warming to 2 degrees by 2020.

The company’s CO2-neutral growth is therefore one of its most important corporate objectives, even though its implementation is difficult: DB Schenker’s CO2 footprint currently comprises around 22 million tonnes. In order to meet the climate targets, however, the company is expected to produce only nine tonnes per year. However, the logistics sector is not only a factor for the increase in CO2, but also for its reduction: Logistics companies could save up to 32 percent CO2 by taking measures such as avoiding empty kilometers, shortening distances and adhering to the 80 km/h speed limit.

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