“In the end, it is all about communication”: In his opening speech, Prof. Andreas Zaby, President of the Berlin School of Economics and Law (HWR), welcomed the more than 750 participants from 51 countries worldwide to the MIM 2019 conference. Likewise, Prof. Dmity Ivanov and Prof. Susanne Meyer, Vice President of the HWR Berlin, who were both the driving forces behind this conference, also emphasized this unique opportunity to learn from each other in the context of modelling, management and control of manufacturing processes.
Indeed, this three-yearly conference covered a wide range of topics: From operations research, production planning, optimization and control to Industry 4.0 and smart manufacturing systems to inventory control and supply chain management (SCM). The scientific quality of the conference was high. But its particular appeal lay in the close connection between science and practice. In addition to SupplyOn, various other industrial companies such as Airbus, Siemens and Festo presented.
Production processes and supply chain collaboration at Stadler Rail
From SupplyOn’s perspective, one highlight was the tour of the Stadler Rail plant. This, like the factory tours at BMW or the Fraunhofer Institute, preceded the conference. At the beginning of the tour, Stadler and SupplyOn held a joint presentation, which provided an impressive overview of Stadler and explained how the SCM collaboration platform SupplyOn is used at Stadler.
The tour of the plant then provided amazing insights into the complex production processes, with more than 1,000 kilometers of cable located inside one rail car body. In addition, the participants in the factory tour were unexpectedly confronted with German history: The site of the Stadler plant in Pankow had once been divided by the Berlin Wall, with a small part of the original wall remaining as a memory of the past.
Big data analytics in the aerospace industry
Another highlight was the SupplyOn workshop on big data analytics and how this is being applied in Aerospace, to the benefit of the collaborating parties. Not only does SupplyOn have the valuable transaction data from the collaboration, it now also has the analytical capabilities to connect it to other data sources in the cloud, apply artificial intelligence and thereby create addtional value: It combines heterogeneous, meaningful data linked by common denominators with the specific contexts of the affected use case.
Bridging science and practice
An overview or summary of all lectures is almost impossible: During the event, a three-digit number of scientific presentations were held – sometimes in ten tracks at the same time.
However, one thing can be said for certain: In many cases, the discussions were tied to real-life challenges, such as how to efficiently plan the installation of offshore wind farms, how convenient, automated food delivery supply chains (e.g. pizza delivery by drone in Shanghai) impact social contacts and vanishing job profiles, or how the lack of oxygen resulting from the fires in the Amazonas affects the supply chain.
The conference offered numerous fascinating insights into Manufacturing 4.0 from a wide variety of perspectives. An attractive program with factory tours, a Spree river boat cruise at night and last but not least the gala dinner, at which the authors of the best submitted scientific papers were honored, complemented the event and ensured interesting discussions and a stimulating transfer of knowledge.
Last but not least the next conference venue MIM2022 was announced: It will take place in 2022 in Nantes, France, headed by Prof. Alexandre Dolgui from IMT Atlantique.