Even in times of crisis, the exhibition industry remains fit for the future. Having been a flourishing trade fair location for 15 years before the pandemic hit, Germany provides a stable foundation for this.
Trade fairs are and remain fascinating. AUMA MesseTrend 2020 clearly shows that physical events and virtual reality will merge even more in the future. This trend is expected to intensify considerably during the COVID pandemic and beyond, boosting demand for future-proof services. Service providers in exhibition logistics are now developing services the like of which have never been seen before in the history of the trade fair industry. This trend is expected to surge by 2030. Digitisation is not just an option but a necessary change with no alternative: According to current traffic forecasts of the German Ministry of Transport and Digital Infrastructure, there will be 38 per cent more freight traffic in 2030 than in 2010. Roads and motorways will be unable to handle this on their own.
The growing volume of traffic and a persistent shortage of resources on the part of providers will favour fully networked transport solutions. Only the efficient use of data can create a real added value. For example, this means sharing information such as shipment data in real time. Under these conditions, transport logistics 4.0 will therefore be established on a large scale by the year 2030. Transport logistics 4.0 involves data and network-based, efficient, decentralised, flexible and agile transport planning and control. To enable all players in the transport process to really benefit from this, it is necessary not only to digitise but also to truly network transport processes in future.
Logistics providers take digitisation very seriously. They discuss supply chain issues with the industry. Blockchain, green energy, drones and low-cost sensor solutions in the warehouse, big data analytics in risk assessment and inspiration from logistics start-ups are just a few of the topics in their dialogue. The use of artificial intelligence, platform economics, drones and driverless vehicles will enable entirely new business models and innovative strategies in trade logistics. There is a huge potential for this. According to the experts, logistics will be the first industry to see the mass adoption of AI processes. The future of logistics belongs to intelligent machines, be it algorithms, classic robots or driverless transport systems.
Digitisation means, above all, that processes increasingly run simultaneously. Aspects such as just-in-time, fully automated transport scheduling, transport management software systems, slot systems or intelligent traffic management will be created by the interaction of different systems. Suppliers, say, can book time slots for loading and unloading their vehicles at the venue. On slot allocation, the vehicle will be assigned a loading box there, to which it will then navigate. At the same time, staff required for loading and unloading, as well as forklifts, are already booked. This eliminates unnecessary waiting times as deliveries can overlap. And typical planning bottlenecks are systematically kept to a minimum in this way, ensuring greater efficiency and greater satisfaction for customers and providers. Only this interlocking of systems enables true networking and automatic AI-supported planning.
Europfast is aiming for a global networking of its systems by 2030. Customers will be able to commission Europfast with logistics services anywhere. In future, these services are to be linked even more precisely with the customers' procurement systems. Huge investments in a global full service will be accompanied by ISO 27001 certification until 2025. This will guarantee information security and data protection for customers. Plus: In 2030 placing an order for a logistics service will be just as simple as ordering a pizza or a taxi online. The time, scope, transport, set-up and dismantling of a trade fair stand can be planned by mobile phone and progress monitored in real time on a dashboard. Individual requirements and demands such as customs clearance, climate-neutral service, route planning and special freight conditions can be booked with one click. This user-friendliness will save customers time and money.
At Europfast, we are currently in the process of digitising route planning for our customers. With our planning tool, users will in future be able to plan and track their routes themselves. By 2030, all successful trade fair logistics companies will offer their customers a digitally controlled full service from transport to dismantling and disposal of the trade fair stand. Exhibitors, stand builders, caterers and riggers will coordinate their needs with the exhibition logistics provider online. Orders will no longer be split but realised as an agile project with a uniform service. Europfast is also following this approach, aiming to establish a collaboration platform by 2025. As a first step, we will open up our automatic scheduling system for bookings by customers, partners and service providers. Our aim is to create a communication network in this way (www.europfast.com).
Author: Güray Saritas
Güray Saritas is managing director of Europfast Internationale Spedition, Neuhausen near Stuttgart. A long version of this article was published in the book “The Future of Trade Fairs, Congresses and Events” by TFI-Verlagsgesellschaft in March 2021 (www.tfi-publications.com).
This article was published in TFI issue 1/2021
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