Passionate logistics people met at the Logistics & Transport fair
When May presented itself at the hottest, the annual Logistics & Transport fair was held in Gothenburg. This year´s trade fair was the most comprehensive since the start of the Logistics & Transport in 1996 and Northern LEAD was well represented during the days.
During this year's Logistics & Transport fair, Northern LEAD had two stands staffed with senior researchers, doctoral students and students from Chalmers and University of Gothenburg. The conference part had this year taken a new form where the mornings and afternoons consisted of seven seminars with different directions, everything from e-trade to city logistics was dealt with. Northern LEAD participated in six of these.
Maria Lindholm, doctoral student at Chalmers, was one of those presenting their research. At the seminar, How will we manage that “everyone” wants to live in the city, she spoke about city logistics. A subject aimed at the urban problems of congestion in the city centers and towards areas with many receivers in a small area.
Voting keypads activated the audience
Mats Johansson, professor at Logistics and Transportation, Chalmers, was discussion leader during the seminar ”Storage, material handling and internal logistics with the ambition to be world leader”. With the inspiration from three companies, Volvo, ICA and Ahlsell, who all have the ambition to be among the best, issues were discussed about how to choose technology level, how to carry out large improvement projects or how to handle rapid changes in a turbulent market. During the seminar, the audience was involved actively by answering, using voting keypads, questions based on the situation in their companies. An approach that Mats Johansson thought was interesting and worked surprisingly well.
— This gave good interactivity, but as a discussion leader one must practice a couple of times to understand how it can be best used. One must also be well prepared by having an idea of how one goes from question to question. Then, one must be prepared to receive the answers and handle them “on stage”. Not entirely easy when one does not know which answers one will get, he says.
Mats thought that the seminar clarified that experience and understanding of implementation is a very important factor when dealing with more advanced technology and complex solutions. Unexpected problems are really unexpected, that is, one cannot plan to remedy them. And they always arise, explained Mats, and he also got his fears confirmed in the discussions regarding company flexibility.
— Almost everyone thought mainly about managing more products, more sales, faster flows and higher frequencies. Almost no one had a thought or preparation at all about how to handle the opposite, that is, lower volumes, lower frequencies, etc. The problem with the first issue mainly causes some reduction in sales or suchlike, the problem with the latter makes the company bankrupt, Mats Johansson says.
Mats says that he has established some useful contacts for the future at the fair and has brought back a concrete idea for a research study together with a couple of companies.
“Geek”-seminar – a new forum for individual questions
New for the 2012 fair was the format of “geek seminars”. About 10–20 years ago, the word geek was considered negative, but today it has a positive meaning, Per Olof Arnäs explained. He means that a “Geek” is someone who is really good at a subject and has a deep interest and commitment within a narrow area. Experts met at the fair to establish and strengthen contacts with the aim of deepening themselves in individual issues and to stimulate new ideas and ways of thinking. Sönke Behrends from Logistics and Transportation organised the seminar ”Evaluation of sustainability aspects of urban transports” while Per Olof Arnäs talked on the theme “How we can/need to upgrade communication solutions in the transport business”.
— We discussed the preconditions for how the goods transportation industry can follow in the footsteps of public transport and start to share data to increase the efficiency of the system. To share means that companies publish operational data which can be used by others in their planning. The more companies that publish their data in this way, the more possibilities there are for being more efficient and optimizing. Public transport operators are already good at this and today we see hundreds of examples of innovative services where published data, for example about the traffic situation, is refined and presented to travelers as basis for decision. This is a rather hot, but also neglected, area which we, of course, are following and focusing on in our research, Per Olof Arnäs explains.
He thought the geek seminars worked well and lead to new insights and knowledge. The more informal approach created conditions for deeper discussions than the traditional conference session usually does, said Per Olof, who hopes to be involved in developing the geek seminars even more next year. Anna Dubois, responsible for the Chalmers Transport Area of Advance, participated in the seminar “Future reconnaissance for the transportation of goods and logistics”. It involved, among other things, the future supply of competence for the goods logistics business and how it can be secured. The Swedish Exhibition and Congress Centre filmed the seminar which can be seen online.
Last modified: June 29, 2012
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