Speakers share their thoughts on Artificial Intelligence, Robotics, Last Mile and the use of smart glasses in logistics
Neuss, 1 July 2019. How do we best use Artificial Intelligence in logistics? Do robots offer a solution for the challenges resulting from the dearth of skilled personnel? Which opportunities do marketplaces like Amazon hold in store for small and medium-sized enterprises? Multiple start-ups presented their viewpoints and solutions on these topics during the Fiege Innovation Day. The event held in Neuss on Tuesday, 25 June 2019 drew an audience of more than 60 enthusiastic listeners.
“Here at Fiege we deal extensively with new ideas and approaches, for which we frequently collaborate with young businesses and start-ups”, explained Hannes Streeck, Managing Director Consumer Goods at Fiege, during his welcome address. “We are thrilled to see that our selection of topics has been met with such high interest and appreciation.” Five speakers shared their thematic input while some start-ups showcased their concepts during the breaks.
Andreas Pott, Director Corporate Development at Fiege, detailed the approach pursued by pro-active Innovation Management. “We intend to remain an innovation pioneer in logistics and for that reason strongly count on becoming an active part of the innovation eco-system”, commented Andreas Pott. “We see one of our biggest strengths, for example, in swiftly initiating and accompanying pilot projects by collaborating with start-ups, in order to trial fresh ideas live under real-life conditions.” Next to outside influences, Fiege strongly relies on ideas from within: the company’s own start-ups Angel, Speedy4you, Palettenheld and Opticert introduced their concepts at the start-up fair in Neuss.
Big Data and automated data analysis
Professor Reiner Kurzhals of Westphalia DataLab from Münster made it clear in his presentation titled How Artificial Intelligence and Big Data Revolutionise Logistics just how important it is for all businesses to become involved in tapping into their inherent data. “We can significantly enhance data that we receive from these companies – such as weather data, information on what is trending on social media or on marketing campaigns – with external information, which in turn impacts product sales and produces forecasts that are much better than all previously known strategies”, detailed Professor Kurzhals.
Fiege Logistik and a team of scientists from Münster’s University of Applied Sciences formed Westphalia DataLab a good year and half ago. The goal is to provide automated data analyses as an on-demand service for companies. In the meantime, more than 60 data analysts work for the young enterprise.
Pick-by-Vision and robots in intra-logistics
Christian Zillner of the robotics start-up Magazino in München spoke about the flexible automation solution provided by the order-picking robot, Toru. At the Fiege location in Ibbenbüren, Magazino and Fiege joined forces to ready the perception-controlled order picking robot for the market. The robots work alongside humans and handle footwear.
Tobias Bröhl gave a talk on Picavi‘s Pick-by-Vision solution. The start-up based in Herzogenrath initiated a pilot with Fiege at its Worms industrial logistics facility and recently also rolled out the optical head-mounted display for new clients and other Fiege sites. “Feedback from staff was consistently positive which we explain by the fact that the display weighs a mere 46 grams, making it significantly lighter than some previous models”, so Bröhl. The use of smart glasses for certain processes has resulted in an economy of time of up to 10 to 30 per cent at the logistics centres. The display of the smart glasses takes the order picker step-by-step through the order at the warehouse, with Picavi modelling the information and transmitting it in real time. Visitors in Neuss had the opportunity to put on the smart glasses and test their use for themselves.
Following the presentations, the guests enjoyed a tour of the Neuss logistics facility where Fiege handles logistical processes for Vorwerk. Hannes Streeck’s conclusion of the Innovation Day is indeed positive: “There was a vivid exchange amongst all and some of our guests went away with thought-provoking impulses from our speakers – and so did I, which is why I’m highly satisfied.”