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600Minutes Supply Chain in Munich: Just where is the supply chain headed?

Munich once again played host to a successful event that serves as a very good platform for cross-company business discussions.

The 600Minutes Supply Chain conference at The Charles Hotel in Munich brings together specialists from production companies and relevant service providers once a year. The event gives them an opportunity to hear addresses and, above all, have one-on-one discussions (similar to speed dating, naturally with a different goal in mind) about the latest logistics and supply chain developments.

The event was opened by Josip Tomasevic, Vice President & CPO, Global Purchasing and Materials Management at AGCO Corporation. In his talk, Tomasevic addressed the conference’s central theme, a topic that came up over and over again during the addresses and conversations held throughout the day: “In the future, we will see online platforms that will be used for the strategic and operative handling of product and transport streams. The question is: Will it be the Apples and Googles of this world who do this job? Or will it be us?”

In his address, my colleague Werner Busenius focused on the topic of “Supply Chain Digitalization in the Aerospace and Automotive Industry on the Basis of Case Studies.” His audience listened closely as he discussed specific use cases involving Airbus and Bosch to complement his comments about the fundamental importance of industry platforms.

Strategic importance of a structured and transparent partnership

This topic then became the focus of many conversations at the event: In the coming years, the job will be to incorporate the strategic importance of structured, comprehensively transparent collaboration that extends beyond a company’s own walls and systems into its own thinking.

Amazon and Ebay have already shown that B2B will experience such a development: The market is beginning to realize that it makes no sense from a cost-benefit perspective to develop a proprietary supplier portal or to have a service provider develop a customer-specific portal. The increasing complexity of the supply chain, with its international and multi-stage transports, customs restrictions and ever-shorter product cycles, is clearly pointing toward industry solutions that draw a clear distinction between internal processes (e.g., spend management, material group management, etc.) and processes with external partners.

No matter which strategies companies may pursue otherwise, it is agreed that this approach makes sense. This issue will indeed remain a strategic one.  

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