Europe on the Way to the Innovation Union

Dimitri CorpakisAs one of their central outcomes, the EU-funded projects LOG4GREEN, SoCool@EU, and LOG2020 celebrated the first European Forum of Logistic Clusters on October 14-15 in Brussels. About 200 participants from over 20 countries, including Brazil, USA and Australia, participated

in the forum, which was the joint final conference of the three projects at the same time. The event attracted scientists and company representatives from many relevant European logistics regions. The participants took advantage of keynotes on the role of logistics for smart regional development and of the intriguing and lively in-depth panel discussions, covering today’s most relevant logistics topics. During breaks, the networking opportunities at posters and regional booths were very well accepted.

Clusters and Smart Specialisation Strategies as vehicles for more competitiveness

The first day of the conference was focused on the role of clusters and their role in transforming Europe into an Innovation Union. Dimitri Corpakis, Head of the Unit ‘Spreading Excellence and Widening Participation’ in the DG Research and Innovation at the European Commission stressed that the innovative performance of European regions still differs at lot. To address this gap, the European Commission aims at improving the framework conditions for innovation. Both, Horizon 2020 as well as the European Structural and Investment Funds contribute to ensure smart, inclusive and sustainable growth in Europe. Clusters play a crucial role in boosting regions for more innovation: as intermediaries and important door openers, they serve at the same time as cooperation platforms especially for small and medium businesses. Keir Fitch, Head of the Unit ‘Research and Innovative Transport Systems’ in the DG Move at the European Commission, stressed that the logistics sector and its hubs and clusters have a crucial role for the entire European market. Jacob Stoumann of Oxford Research pointed out that the work of clusters is not always easy, as the results are not always directly visible. He encouraged the actors and sponsors involved in cluster initiatives to show stamina: to build trust and to explore common interests may take several years. However, both are basic for all kind of cooperation in clusters.

Claire NauwelaersFor the logistics specialists among the participants, the first day was of high interest as it gave insights into the strategies of the Commission and the benefits of working in clusters. Moreover, Claire Nauwelaers, an independent international expert in Science, Technology and Innovation Policy, explained the benefits of setting up a regional smart specialisation strategy: complementary to cluster strategies, smart specialisation is a good starting point for building upon individual characteristics of regions and strengthening their competitiveness. Richard Tuffs from the European Regions Research and Innovation Network promoted the the intelligent use of synergies between regions and between funding programmes: Horizon2020 and the structural funds (ESIF).

Collaboration is key for future logistics

The second day was devoted to six topics that had been chosen as particularly relevant for the future by the organizers of the conference, the projects LOG4GREEN, SoCool@EU and LOG2020. In six breakout sessions, stakeholders from academia, industry and the public sector exchanged intensely on main challenges, good practice examples and still existing problems to be solved in the forthcoming years.

In the session on “Green investments in supply chains: the inevitable choice towards competitiveness”, panellists agreed that measures towards more sustainability in logistics not only provide great opportunities for the environment, but also for economic efficiency and cost savings. Collaboration across the entire supply chain and global, or for a start at least European, standards are key for further success. However, the panellists discussed quite controversially on the question whether regulation or incentives would be a better trigger to boost sustainability in logistics.

MG 141015 LOGISTICS WALLONIA FORUM EU 027In another panel, the potential role of clusters as connectors and “hubs of trust” for horizontal collaboration in supply chains was a touched - surprisingly as a question, which has not yet been taken into focus. All panellists of the session “Supply Chain Network Coordination and Collaboration: What will be the success factors for supply chain collaboration in the future?” agreed that horizontal collaboration leads to immediate cost savings in double-digit range and is therefore a must for economic and environmental reasons. However, an independent trustworthy connector is needed to facilitate such efforts – a natural role for cluster organisations?

MG 141015 LOGISTICS WALLONIA FORUM EU 115In the session “Designing smart cities thanks to urban logistics: dream or reality?” panellists shared their experiences in innovative projects and solutions that are aimed at increasing the efficiency of logistics activities in cities, thereby reducing noise and air pollution and traffic congestion. Technology is not the main and key solution to urban logistics problems. Rather, integrated and innovative approaches to existing problems are needed. It is the small innovations and changes, that improve logistics performance in cities.  Close interaction among all stakeholders (citizens, public authorities, policy makers,  transport companies etc.) is key for success. To support collaboration, a positive demonstration of “benefits or profitability of innovative measures and projects” is more effective than the  “stick” -  this message was agreed by all panellists.

Eur ForOne of the most substantial topics in logistics nowadays has been discussed under the headline “e-commerce explosion – how to tackle the consequences of virtual logistics”. As the internet sets the pace and revolutionises the business world, companies consider consumer demands and shift their own mind-set from a sender-driven to a receiver-driven-business. In e-commerce, logistics is being given a special role to coordinate fulfilment, flexible solutions, service transparency and marketing aspects (e.g. omni-channel strategies) for satisfying the individual consumer demands.

European Conf AudThe session tackling the challenge of intermodality was dealt under the title “Change of mode, change of mind-set: how to give inter- and synchromodality more chances to expand?” Indeed, companies who do not make the necessary steps to decrease congestion as well as the environmental impact of the transportation of goods, put forward discontinuity and high transhipment costs. The panellists agreed on a lack of collaboration between stakeholders on that specific issue. Changing users’ as well as players’ ready-made ideas is complex in a reality where transporting goods by road is not too expensive yet for companies. It appears as an inevitable solution that public and private entities should invest jointly to support co-modality through infrastructure and data sharing tools. Such innovative business models would allow a change of mode that is not a threat for economy.

MG 141015 LOGISTICS WALLONIA FORUM EU 152In the session “Meeting the challenges of sustainability: requirements for tomorrow’s Supply Chain Executives”, the panel discussed new developments in the field of education and training of logisticians and supply chain managers. Mette Moerk Andersen, representing the Unit “Higher education: Modernisation Agenda and Erasmus+” in the DG Education and Culture at the European Commission pointed out that changing market conditions require flexibility and autonomy in education and training approaches. One of the main questions discussed was to what extent educational institutions react adequately. University representatives assured that education and training programs are well adapted: new concepts and formats are being developed continuously to meet changing demands. Executives use such trainings not only to gain new knowledge, but to exchange in order to benchmark their companies. Therefore, more and more universities establish exclusive ‘research clubs’ for companies with benefits for both sides. A Master Class, developed during the LOG2020 project, focuses on how to optimize supply chains of today and under future scenario’s.

Outlook

The organisers of the Forum are enthusiastic about the great success of this first European Forum of Logistic Clusters. Supported by positive feedback from participants, the clusters sharing the organisation of the conference can well imagine continuing the forum as a biannual event. 

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NEWS

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We are pleased to announce the first major forum dedicated to businesses, researchers and public authorities, working with the support of European Logistic Clusters to increase the competitiveness of logistics as a key economic function in the regional, national and international trade.

Save the date now and read more on the conference homepage!
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The event is organised by the European projects LOG4GREEN, LOG2020 and SoCool@eu in close cooperation with the European Technology Platform ALICE.
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April 15, 2014 - LOG4GREEN holds an invited session at the TRA Transport Research Arena in Paris  

“Managing Risk and Resilience in Sustainable Logistics and Supply Chain Management for Urban Supply”

Speakers and panelists: 
Prof. Alan McKinnon, Kühne Logistics University Hamburg, Germany; Arhur van Gerven, Menlo Worldwide, Netherlands; Dr. Pierre Laconte, Foundation for the Urban Environment, Prof. Cathy Macharis, Vrije Universiteit Brussel, Belgium

The session will be chaired by Klaus Krumme, Centre for Logistics & Traffic, University of Duisburg-Essen and Prof. Metin Türkay, Koc University, Istanbul

Recent approaches on urban supply create a vision for a future where urban environments are cleaner, safer and more responsive to fast dynamics. READ MORE

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Bridging the Gap – Logistics Theory and Practice 2015 

Springer Series - Lecture Notes in Logistics Book

International Research Cluster Call for Contributions

DEADLINE April 30, 2014

Contributions from the Dinalog cluster should be sent to Henk Zijm (w.h.m.zijm@utwente.nl), contributions from the EffizienzCluster LogistikRuhr to Matthias Klumpp (matthias.klumpp@pim.uni-due.de). Each contribution will un-dergo a thorough three-reviewer and editing process with a planned book release about mid of 2015.

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IuK-Technologien als Treiber für Kooperationen: EffizienzCluster und Fraunhofer IML richten ECITL 2014 aus

 


November 5 - 7, 2014  
EffizienzCluster & Fraunhofer IML organise ECITL 2014 

EffizienzCluster LogistikRuhr and the Fraunhofer-Institute for Material Flow and Logistics are hosts of the 7th European Conference for ICT in Logistics which will be held in Dortmund. READ MORE

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At the 14th  Management International Conference in Koper, Slovenia, organised by the University of Primorska, Faculty of Management, Michael Plasch (Logistikum Steyr) presents : 

"Trans-Regional Logistics in Carinthia– Perspectives and Visions on Transport Infrastructure Development on Businesses and Public Level"

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CALL for PAPERS for the INTERNATIONAL LOGISTICS SCIENCE CONFERENCE in Dortmund - deadline January 2013!

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The first LOG4GREEN regional Joint Action Plan Workshop was held during the 4th International Conference on Transport Logistics InterTRANSLOG 2012 from 22.09 to 30.09. in Ukraine (Odessa), Bulgaria (Varna), Rumania (Constance), Greece (Salonika).

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Metin Turkay from Koc University, Istanbul,  was invited to give a talk about LOG4GREEN from the Istanbul perspective at the WIRE 2012. The meeting  is organized by the European Union Committee on Regions.

Download presentation:  L4G button yellow smallpix