21st forum

Trade and Logistics 4.0 ::: Industry and Science in Dialogue

Under the heading “Economy and Science in Dialog”, the Forum Europrofession has been providing impetus for “Human Resources” in times of digital change since 2009. Whether personnel selection, initial, further and continuing vocational training or workplace models and workplace design – interested people from all over Germany travel to the Europäische Akademie Otzenhausen in order to get new inspiration and ideas for SMEs and large enterprises, universities and research institutions, associations, chambers and social partners. They also aim to look beyond their traditional boundaries by combining science and the economy.

The 21st Forum was dedicated to ”Trade and Logistics 4.0” and took up the general thematic priority “Human Resources 4.0”. In 2018, the focus was on the effects of digitization on companies and employees in the retail and logistics sectors, whereas in 2017, it had been on qualification and work design by industry 4.0 and the internet of things, services and data.

As hardly ever before, digitalization has changed established business models, distribution channels and customer relationships in retail and logistics. Both on a national and international level, new forms of platform economy become more and more popular in wholesale and retail trade, in intra- and interlogistics. In times of digital change, the purchase, delivery, transport, stockpiling and consolidation of goods is changing at high speed, on the basis of data analysis and artificial intelligence methods. Temporary work (the gig economy) is increasingly on the advance, new online platforms act as intermediaries between customers and contractors, existing employment relationships change, in the future more and more freelancers are to be employed in trade and logistics.

Almost 80 participants had come to the Forum in Otzenhausen to discuss how digitalization will shape personnel development and personnel management. Ten speakers presented a range of different fields of action, practical models and innovative solutions during the one and a half day event.

A panel with start-up entrepreneurs offered business ideas for the future, disruptive approaches for trade and logistics in Germany, innovations from spin-offs at universities and from the field of non-university research as well as experience transfer and approaches for the digital world of the platform economy.